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Quinn Criticized for Halfway House Closures

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Quinn Criticized for Halfway House Closures

AP

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn delivers the State of the Budget Address to a join session of the General Assembly in the House chambers Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Illinois prison experts who want to see the inmate population decrease are questioning Gov. Pat Quinn's cost-saving plan to close six adult transition centers.

Prison officials estimate about 1,000 residents would be paroled and monitored electronically.

The work-release facilities house low-level criminals nearing release and help them prepare to re-enter the community.

John Maki of the prison watchdog John Howard Association calls the decision to close the centers "short-sighted."

Maki says the state should expand transitional settings to ease prison crowding.

But Nancy LaVigne of the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., says halfway houses sometimes hinder an ex-convict's progress.

LaVigne says the centers typically cater to minor criminals who have family support and would do well at home on parole. She says electronic monitoring for them makes sense.

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