Gov. Pat Quinn has suspended a program that allowed hundreds of inmates to be released early by earning credit for good behavior.
Quinn said Sunday that his office will review the Illinois Department of Corrections' "meritorious good time" release program, which came under fire after an analysis showed some inmates with past convictions for drunken driving, battery and weapons violations spent mere weeks behind bars before release.
Under the program, corrections chief Michael P. Randle may grant any inmate 90 days' worth of credit based on their behavior while behind bars.he good-credit program is separate from a policy previously announced by Quinn to release 1,000 nonviolent offenders early if they are within the last year of their sentence.
That move was aimed at saving hundreds of millions of dollars as the state faces a massive budget deficit. With a prison population of about 45,545, Illinois taxpayers spend more than $1 billion a year on corrections.
The biggest critics of the release program were state prosecutors, who worried that it threatened public safety and put residents at risk.
Seriously, we are in an economic recession of historic proportions. It's time taxpayers knew exactly how expensive it is to lock someone up, particularly if it is for a nonviolent offense.