New Illinois Gov. Rauner To Name Criminal Justice Reform Panel


Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner formed a commission to study and recommend changes to the state's criminal justice system, saying more must be done to keep people out of prison and stop those who served time from going back, the Chicago Tribune reports. The Republican used his executive powers to create the group, which will include lawmakers, victim rights advocates, law enforcement officials and others. They'll examine sentencing laws, diversion efforts and early release programs in an attempt to reduce the number of adults and juveniles sent to correctional facilities by 25 percent over 10 years.

Now, 48,227 adults are imprisoned in facilities designed to hold 33,000. The state says the prison population is still below its “operational capacity” of 49,000. Members of the panel have yet to be named, though a report is due by July 1. Rauner has long called for an overhaul to the criminal justice system as a way to cut spending as the state faces billions of dollars in red ink. The time frame means major savings are unlikely to be realized until next year at the earliest. The governor estimated the state spends $1.3 billion a year on the prison system, including another $131 million on juvenile offenders. Of those released from state custody, 48 percent of adults and 53 percent of juveniles return within three years.

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