Quinn Unlocking Doors for 1,000 Prisoners

Early release could save $5 million

By Lora LeSage
|  Saturday, Sep 19, 2009  |  Updated 8:15 AM CDT
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Bad Economy Good for Cons

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It's early release for 1,000 Illinois prisoners.

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You can blame this on the economy too.

Gov. Pat Quinn will release 1,000 nonviolent offenders this fall in an effort save the state $5 million a year.

"We're doing this because of the budget crisis," Januari Smith, an Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman, told the Sun-Times.  "We believe these low-level, nonviolent offenders...can be better served in the community where there are more resources and services available than at IDOC."

Prisoners who are eligible for early release include those convicted of drug offenses or property crimes with less than a year left on their sentences.

Smith said the inmates will have to wear electronic-monitoring bracelets and will be assigned a parole agent, who they will have to report to once a month.

IDOC still hasn't determined who will be released out of the nearly 32,000 eligible inmates in the prison system.

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