For Non-Violent Offenders
Fri June 22, 2012
Early Release Program Signed Into Law
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn waited until late Friday afternoon to sign Senate Bill 2621, which is intended to relieve massive overcrowding in the state's prisons.
The measure allows the Department of Corrections to create a new early release program for certain non-violent offenders.
The watchdog group John Howard Association said Illinois' prisons are 14,000 people above capacity. In May, the association's John Maki said the problem is worst at medium and minimum security prisons, such as Vienna in southern Illinois.
"We found inmates huddled in a kind-of barn-like setting, with broken windows, mice, cockroaches, bird's nest above, with nothing to do," Maki said.
"These were low, low-level offenders. People on things for like driving on a revoked license."
Quinn suspended prior early-release programs in 2009 amid reports some inmates -- even violent offenders -- were spending hardly any time in prison.
Thanks to Illinois Public Radio