By: Katie Jones
Governor Pat Quinn is giving some Illinois inmates a get out of jail early card. It's part of an effort to cut down on crowding. Earlier this month Governor Quinn re–instated an inmate early release program and local prison workers we talked to said it's a great plan if it's done right.
"In the past, they would give good time to these inmates coming in the door before they even earned it," said AFSCME local 46 president Gregg Johnson.
The program was suspended after 1700 inmates had been freed within weeks, even days of arriving. Which some Quad Citians said is a big concern.
"Those people would come back to society and might not be able to find a job then the state would have to support them," said Keith Weitzel of Reynolds, IL.
The Governor's office assures that won't happen. In a statement a spokesperson told us, in the new sentence credit law, inmate files will go through multiple levels of review, like evaluating current offenses as well as previous criminal records before they're released. The DOC will also look into educational and rehab programs to help inmate progress. If done properly, local prison workers and community members said they're on board.
"The taxpayer itself would receive a benefit by having prisoners out of that area where we wouldn't have to pay for their up–keep," said Weitzel.
"If we responsibly administer this, anything that reduces the inmate population and makes our staff and the surrounding community safer, I think that's always a good thing," said Johnson.
The Illinois DOC has started reviewing inmates records, the new plan would shave up to 6 months off an inmates sentence.