Dual reports may guide DOC’s future

Posted: February 22, 2011 by scaryhouse in Uncategorized

By Edith Brady-Lunny

SPRINGFIELD — Depending on what media reports you followed, the state’s early release program was either a secret and ill-advised plan or a necessary tool to control prison costs and population.

Two state-issued reports on MGT and MGT-PUSH, both issued Aug. 13, 2010, recommended policy changes that are likely to be incorporated into any new version of the so-called “early release” programs.

One report came from a committee appointed by Gov. Pat Quinn, trying to keep the controversy from eroding his credibility during a hotly contested election. That report found that the entire MGT program was a mistake.

The Quinn panel, led by former criminal and appellate judge David Erickson, concluded MGT was “a dismal failure, totally dysfunctional.”

It would be acceptable only with an overhaul that included individual inmate assessments, a mandatory 60 days behind bars, exclusion of certain offenses, good-time awards based on participation in programs, and notice to prosecutors and victims with an opportunity to object to a release, said the panel.

The Erickson report, as it is known, also recommended increased spending for rehabilitation, educational and counseling programs.

A second report, simultaneously released by the Department of Corrections, laid out several challenges that contributed to the program’s shortcomings and steps to correct those issues.

The IDOC report cited a time-consuming and inefficient process that relied heavily on manual calculations of MGT credits, further hindered by an outdated computer system.

Fourteen steps should be completed before a new version of MGT is rolled out, according to DOC. Some of the proposed changes mirror the Erickson recommendations, but others — including an opportunity for victim objection — do not.

via Dual reports may guide DOC’s future.

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