Corrections: Wrong Early Release Prisoners Listed

Friday, Jan 22, 2010  |  Updated 7:30 PM CDT
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Nearly six weeks after Gov. Pat Quinn halted an early prisoner release program that set free hundreds of potentially violent inmates, his administration is still struggling to identify which criminals -- or even how many -- got out.

The Corrections Department acknowledged it has added convicts and removed others after inquiries from The Associated Press.
Corrections released a corrected index Thursday night of 1,745 offenders. That's an increase of 27 offenders from the 1,718 Quinn initially said were sent home when he announced prison reforms Dec. 30 in response to reports about what had been a secret program.

An AP review of the two lists shows 256 offenders were added and 229 removed -- a net increase of 27.

Corrections spokeswoman Januari Smith could not immediately identify the added inmates but acknowledged that there were more newly found inmates than the 27. Most had replaced other criminals who shouldn't have been part of the group in the first place.

They were misidentified by a faulty search of an archaic computer system, she said.

The error represents a blunder in a continuing problem for Quinn. The addition of 256 names would mean 15 percent of the first list he released was incorrect.

MGT Push, which got its name from accelerating inmate awards of good-conduct credit, or "meritorious good time," continues to cause major campaign problems for Quinn, who is up against state Comptroller Dan Hynes in the Feb. 2 Democratic primary for governor.

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