Wednesday, December 30, 2009

At least 18 of Quinn's early-release jailbirds accused of new crimes

Earlier this month AP discovered that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn approved the release of 850 prisoners, secretly, in a cost-cutting move.

The other shoes--at least 18 of them--are dropping, as AP digs deeper.

At least 18 men released early from prison under a secret program in Illinois are back behind bars, most of them accused of committing new, violent crimes, The Associated Press has learned.

Some were arrested just one day after they were freed. The new allegations against them include domestic battery, unlawful weapons use, aggravated battery and assault, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the records. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of restrictions on talking to the press.

The men were among 850 who were released in the fall after as little as three weeks behind bars after Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's administration's secret policy change that was reported by the AP earlier this month. The men's average time in state prison was just 16 days and their convictions included drunk driving, using drugs and battery and weapons violations.

In an effort to save money, the Corrections department changed a practice that required all inmates to stay at least 61 days. The inmates were awarded up to 180 days of good-conduct credit as soon as they entered prison, allowing them to leave almost immediately.

Quinn, who served as Rod Blagojevich's running mate--twice--is dropping the get-out-of-jail-early program.

Related post:

Ill. early release inmates not exactly 'low-level offenders'

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