Gov. Pat Quinn says he is still awaiting the arrival of a bill that would reinstate an early release policy for non-violent criminals. The updated bill allows the Department of Corrections to consider an inmate’s history when determining early release eligibility. That was not allowed under the previous program. Quinn suspended the program in 2009 when it was discovered that some prisoners under the Meritorious Good Time program were released after serving just a few weeks.
Since that time, Illinois’ prison population has been on the rise and today is overcrowded by 14,000 inmates. That prompted lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to act to alleviate the overcrowded conditions and push the overhauled program through.
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Quinn says he’s happy with the collaboration between lawmakers on the measure. “I was impressed by the bi-partisan majority in both houses for this legislation,” Quinn says. He says he is “anxious” to see the proposal but adds that he will carefully look it over. “Sometimes when they pass bills in those last few days of the legislature, things happen and you have to examine each and every sentence and that’s what we do on every bill,” Quinn said.
The proposed legislation would allow non-violent inmates out early, but would require them to spend at least 60 days in prison. Quinn expects the legislation to land on his desk soon.