Getting Worse: Released Prisoners Among Most Violent

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images / Graeme Robertson
    A prisoner sits handcuffed and watched by U.S. soldiers as he waits to be sent to trial by the judge at the Albeiya court house August 23, 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq.

    When Gov. Pat Quinn halted a secret early prison release program last week, he acknowledged that 56 of the freed inmates were already back behind bars -- 48 of them for violating rules of their parole.

    What he didn't say was that those broken rules included at least 17 allegations of violent crimes, including attempted murder, armed robbery and aggravated assault of a police officer, according to Associated Press interviews and reviews of both public and internal Corrections Department documents.

    One offender who's back after he was released under the program known as "MGT Push" allegedly shot his victim in the leg. Victims of nine others who earned return trips to the penitentiary contend they were battered.

    Seven parolees are back in lockup for crimes involving guns or other weapons.

    Two who returned after arrests on domestic battery allegations could have been picked up by the Corrections Department earlier, following busts for less serious crimes, but were not.

    Thirteen offenders went back to prison after going AWOL from parole or failing to comply with regulations, testing positive for drug use or moving to another location without permission. Fourteen spent little if any time on the street because they failed to find or keep an approved place to live.

    A full list of the released inmates is available on the Illinois  Department of Corrections' Web site (.pdf).

    The cases represent new problems for Quinn, who already is facing intense criticism over MGT Push -- so-named because it refers to giving prisoners "meritorious good time" credit.

    Quinn formally ended the program on Dec. 30, calling it a "very big mistake."