Who says inmates aren’t worth listening to?

Posted: January 15, 2012 by tennesseetree in IDOC, IL in Fiscal Ruins, Meritorious Good Time
Tags: , ,

The problems in IL prisons are prompting a number of inmates to submit “letters to the editor” in order to let the public know what the situation is inside the Illinois Department of Corrections and to suggest ways for the State of IL to solve a few problems. We ran across two inmate letters written from inmates serving time at the Logan Correctional Center (which Governor Pat Quinn proposed closing) which we found noteworthy:

Jason Alan Spyres, at the Logan Correctional Center had this to say in the Chicago Sun-Times:

Illinois is broke and has proposed 1900-plus layoffs, claiming we have no other choice. Of those layoffs, 356 involve the Logan Correctional Center — a prison I’m in, serving a 30-year sentence for cannabis convictions.

In no way do I approve of my prior mistakes; however, being in prison doesn’t strip me of the ability to see specific policy changes we could make that would reduce the budgetary needs of the Department of Corrections — and lower future crime rates. Changes that wouldn’t involve state layoffs, or controversial inmate release programs.

Example: The Earned Good Conduct Credit is good time offenders can earn by participating in drug treatment, or earning their GED — two activities that are statistically tied to significantly lower recidivism rates. However, IDOC excludes anyone convicted of a Class X felony from EGC eligibility.

So, what is the Class X conviction? It was introduced in 1978 for the most serious, heinous and violent crimes, such as murder, aggravated kidnapping and child molestation/rape. But flash forward to 2011, and selling cannabis can earn you a Class X. First offense, with no guns and no violence. You still couldn’t earn the same good time carjackers, burglars, and murderers do. Yes, I said murderers. In Illinois, second-degree murder is not Class X and is eligible for the same good time we deny to thousands of nonviolent offenders.

When IDOC admits 89 percent of those who parole without a GED will return to prison in three years, why wouldn’t we incentivise all offenders to make positive choices — especially nonviolent ones?

Critics might argue this idea would result in some earning their GED only for the good-time. And they’re right, but would that be such a horrible thing? They would still have to demonstrate improved reading and writing abilities, and statistically, their recidivism rates would drop nearly in half.

For every 3.5 offenders added to the EGC program we’d save as much in current expenditures as a layoff. So, 1,900-plus layoffs, or more nonviolent offenders earning the same good-time we already give to second-degree murderers? Please, call your state legislators and tell them which you prefer.

Jason Alan Spyres,

Logan

and, Grant Larson, wrote to the following to the Decatur Tribune:

POLITICIANS ARE SELLING OUT PRISON INDUSTRIES

Dear Editor:

In 2009, Representative Bill Mitchell (R) Forsyth, proposed that inmates sleep in tents and work road crews. Bill’s ideas seem humorous. In my opinion, Bill and other politicians have been selling out the prison industries since the 1960’s.

The soy “magic” meal that was intended to feed those in a disaster is being force fed to us. The health issues are endless. The lucrative soy contract, no doubt, benefitted a politician. In fact, beef can be purchased cheaper than soy. Mary Ann Bohlen, assistant deputy director of fiscal accounting compliance for IDOC was put on paid administrative leave pending an investigation by state police. We can only wonder what the results of that investigation will cost.

If we show initiative or a willingness to work, the motive is questioned. With no good conduct incentive, no work ethic is being promoted. Drug treatment and vocational programs should be a priority. There are a lot of wasted acres within IDOC. They no longer raise any livestock or produce that could be used to feed inmates and lessen the cost to taxpayers. Every Illinois prisoner has a release date. Drug treatment and work release with restitution should be mandatory for drug related crimes. Work release needs to be required for reentry to society.

Road crews and tent living would put spoiled AFSCME officers on foot patrol and horseback. They would want more than a 2% raise. Some watchdog group would protect the inmates from work too. Who is robbing who?

Grant Larson,

Inmate at Logan Correctional Center

Lincoln

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s