CHICAGO - While Governor Pat Quinn forces the closing of Illinois correctional youth centers and prisons, the state's prison system, created for 33,000 is now holding nearly 49,000 inmates. Quinn is now reviewing a revised early release program to relieve overcrowding. Fox News reports:
But unlike in the old program, inmates must serve at least 60 days of their sentence before being released. The new law also allows the prison director to decide early release eligibility on a range of factors, including a past record of violence, something the department had said court rulings previously prohibited.
And while early release incentives can help control the prison population, the union that represents prison guards and employees, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees says serious problems are not being addressed:
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[AFSCME spokesman Anders Lindall] noted that even as the inmate population grows, Quinn is closing two prisons the governor says are too costly to operate. The high-security "supermax" prison in Tamms closed on Jan. 4, and officials are planning to soon close the Dwight women's facility and shift inmates among three existing prisons.
AFSCME has opposed Quinn on closures, as well as reducing employee headcount and penitentiary crowding.
"Given the Quinn administration's record of reckless closures, employee layoffs, inattention to overcrowding and its previous early release fiasco, we are extremely cautious about the prospect of a good-time program implemented by this administration," Lindall said.