No Action On IDOC Meritorious Good Time, (MGT) Expected in 2011!

Posted: September 12, 2011 by parchangelo in IDOC, IL in Fiscal Ruins
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May 31, 2012, State Legislature passes new law paving way for Early Release programs! Read latest at


Forget about the IL Fall Veto Session beginning October 25, 2011. The veto session is going to be consumed by budget issues. No decisions made will resolve the horrible prison over-crowding in Illinois. If Meritorious Good Time (MGT) is even mentioned by legislators, it will not be in the context of them having the power to resurrect it.

Governor Pat Quinn is the person with the ability to act to reduce the present prison population in some manner; and he has chosen not to act until possibly 2012. Sharon Ellman, a spokesperson for the IL Department of Corrections has stated multiple times that there is presently no plan for MGT to return. Well, we are getting the idea that she is correct.

Governor Pat Quinn has had plenty on his plate this year with the budget occupying his attention. He apparently does not regard the denial of MGT or any supplemental credit for inmates (even minor offenders) to be a hardship on inmates or MGT something they are deserving of. So, he is not now considering any action to reduce the prison population.  Truth is, with his proposed cuts and closures, he may feel there is room to squeeze in more bodies into some state facilities.

The only action on the IL Department of Corrections agenda is the combination of all their 49 or so separate computer and data sources into one database in conjunction with the Microsoft Offender 360 software program it is adapting. This process of computer changeover has been going on for awhile now, and lots of inmates report that facility computers are mostly crashing down for extended periods of time because of problems in the changeover. Since the computers are relied upon by CO’s for just about everything, inmates are going weeks and some times multiple months without access to commissary, and movement and supply restrictions are being arbitrarily applied when the computers cannot be accessed.

The database integration to Offender 360 is not scheduled to be completed until sometime in 2012. Who knows when, since it is likely to be delayed as more problems will arise.

Don’t expect Quinn to plan or authorize any meaningful early release of inmates until the computer switchover is completed. Quinn’s indifference to the prison over-crowding issues won’t end until he is either sure all Corrections procedures and technology is in place to handle releasing anyone without mistakes being made, or else he is publicly pressured to act.

Quinn has put himself out there to battle with the legislature to get more money for this year’s budget. We encourage readers to contact legislators and give them your perspective as to why he should be criticized and held accountable for numerous mistakes including inaction on prison overcrowding issues.

The next step on the state improvement agenda, after fixing Offender 360, is devising a new audit and accounting system to implement across the board for all state agencies (which now each maintain their own antiquated and costly systems). We certainly don’t want to wait for that computer change…

  1. Lisa says:

    Well, it is nearly mid 2012, is there any movement on this yet?


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