Gov. Quinn Rethinks Early-Release Program Again

Gov. Pat Quinn is doing an about-face again regarding his previous early-release policies. From NBC Chicago:

Gov. Pat Quinn is suspending a second early release program for Illinois prison inmates until he names a safety officer to review it.

This release program was announced in September and was billed as a way to cut costs. Officials said it would include about 1,000 nonviolent offenders.

I covered this in September, and agreed, at the time, with the early release. Here’s part of the story that was on the Sun-Times in November (since archived):

Gov. Quinn Tuesday defended his plan to release up to 1,000 inmates, a step that begins this week and eventually could save the cash-strapped state $5 million a year.

By the end of this week, 62 non-violent offenders who are within a year of their scheduled release dates will be freed in the first wave of Quinn’s early-release initiative.

"We’re going to do this because we do have financial challenges. But at the same time, we’re going to do it in a way that always protects the public," Quinn said during an appearance in Chicago to announce the opening of a new veterans home.

Quinn said those released will be under "constant electronic monitoring" while on parole, and the governor expressed optimism that none of those being set free early will be a threat to society.

"Hopefully they learned their lessons in jail and won’t repeat their crimes," Quinn told reporters.

His administration refused to divulge the names of those in the first wave of early releases.

Give Quinn credit for trying something different.

I don’t know what the solution is. I do know that our prison system is over-crowded with non-violent offenders.