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Author Topic: Early prisoner release saved Illinois $11 million since 2013  (Read 2175 times)

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Offline Gizgirl2

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Early prisoner release saved Illinois $11 million since 2013
« on: September 10, 2015, 01:40:34 PM »

Release rate appears to slow

By Patrick Yeagle

Illinois’ early prisoner release program saved the state more than $11 million in the past two years, according to data from the Illinois Department of Corrections.

These savings come as a state panel works to reduce Illinois’ prison costs by reforming the correctional system.

During the state’s 2015 fiscal year, which ended on June 30, 2,303 inmates convicted of nonviolent crimes received credit for a total of 314,634 days off of their prison sentences through the Supplemental Sentence Credit program. An IDOC spokeswoman says that amounts to more than $5 million in savings versus continuing to house the inmates. For the 2014 fiscal year, 2,844 inmates were awarded 372,251 days of credit, saving an estimated $6 million.

Illinois has long offered early release to inmates who consistently follow the rules, complete rehabilitation courses or earn a degree. However, the parameters of early release have changed over time. An Associated Press report in 2009 revealed that, in order to accelerate releases, IDOC had done away with an informal tradition of waiting until an inmate had served 60 days in prison before awarding “supplemental” sentence credits. While some inmates were released from prison after only serving a few days or weeks, IDOC’s policy change took into account that many inmates had spent months or even years in county jails awaiting trial. Additionally, IDOC had no legal authority to revoke sentence credits once they were awarded.

The resulting flap saw former Gov. Pat Quinn suspend supplemental sentence credits in late 2009 until the legislature authorized the Supplemental Sentence Credit program in June 2012. IDOC began awarding sentence credits under the new program in Feb. 2013.

From March 2013 to September 2013, IDOC released 1,974 inmates through the program. That brings the total number of inmates released to 7,121 from March 2013 until the start of July 2015.

It appears that the rate of release has slowed since the program began, with an average of 282 inmates released each month from March to Sept. 2013. On average, 204 inmates were released each month during Fiscal Year 2014, and that number sank to an average of 152 per month during Fiscal Year 2015.

Under the program, the director of IDOC has sole discretion in awarding or revoking sentence credits, and inmates are not entitled to receive credits. Inmates convicted of a violent crime like murder or rape are not eligible, and they can be disqualified for other reasons, such as having criminal charges pending against them or committing further crimes while incarcerated. Many of the people released were originally incarcerated for nonviolent drug charges or property offenses like credit card fraud.

Inmates in Illinois prisons can also work off part of their sentences through Illinois Correctional Industries, a work program that teaches inmates job skills. IDOC says 1,351 inmates cut a total of 24,597 days from their sentences by working at ICI shops, where they make everything from furniture to clothing to cleaning supplies.

During the past 12 months spanning Sept. 2014 to Sept. 2015, IDOC released 1,836 inmates, an average of five per day and about 150 per month. On some days, such as Christmas Day 2014, no inmates were released, but other days saw as many as 24 inmates freed. With almost 47,000 people in Illinois prisons, the 1,836 inmates released over the past 12 months represents about 4 percent of the state’s prison population.

Fifteen of the inmates released in the past 12 months committed their crimes in Sangamon County, but 24 people were released to Sangamon County.

Although the rate of inmates being released early seems to be slowing year over year, the state is looking for ways to reduce the prison population and save more money on corrections. In February, Gov. Bruce Rauner created the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform, a bipartisan panel of lawmakers and experts tasked with reducing Illinois’ prison population 25 percent by 2025 without negatively affecting public safety. The panel is due to issue its final report before January 1. For more information, visit www.icjia.org/cjreform2015.


Offline smme7

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Re: Early prisoner release saved Illinois $11 million since 2013
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2015, 10:07:41 AM »
They forgot to add that there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to who they give SSC to either. My boyfriend is in on a non-violent low level marijuana charge...no SSC was and I'm pretty sure will not be given to him.
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Offline ghostlyy

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Re: Early prisoner release saved Illinois $11 million since 2013
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2015, 02:20:30 PM »
I have to agree -- Driving on revoked and no good time either. But others that, even by their own rules, shouldn't be eligible sometimes seem to get it.
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Offline kasa

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Re: Early prisoner release saved Illinois $11 million since 2013
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2015, 07:22:29 PM »
Seems so unfair.... Prisons are over crowded, well I would believe it would help to give the good time out....