Quinn Criticized for Halfway House Closures

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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