Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has reversed what the Associated Press calls a secret policy that allowed more than 1,700 inmates to be released from state prison early, some of whom have already been sent back for new offenses. The inmates were freed after an unannounced change in practice reported by AP that Quinn now calls a “big mistake.” He blamed his corrections director, Michael Randle, but did not fire him.
AP said about 850 nmates were let out weeks early beginning in September when the state stopped requiring them to serve at least 61 days and gave them up to six months’ good-conduct credit, or “meritorious good time,” immediately upon entering the lockup, before they had a chance to display any kind of behavior. That meant they spent as little as three weeks behind bars – including county jail – and averaged 16 days in the state pen. “This was a big mistake, and I am very disappointed that this occurred,” Quinn said. “I think it was an error in judgment.”