As his primary election rival poured on criticism over the state’s early release of prison inmates, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn tried to dampen the issue by appointing a longtime Chicago police officer to oversee release programs. reports the Chicago Tribune. Quinn named Michael McCotter chief public safety officer at the Illinois Department of Corrections, a position he created after halting a program that let convicts out of prison extra early by awarding them good-time credit at an accelerated pace.
McCotter, who recently retired from the Chicago Police Department, held several top posts over a nearly 40-year career. Part of his job will be to “bird-dog each and every one of these inmates with respect to early release,” Quinn said. Quinn also suspended a separate program to release 1,000 nonviolent offenders who are within the last year of their sentence. About 170 prisoners have been released to electronic monitoring under the program Quinn announced in September.