Nearly 130 parolees freed from Illinois prison before their expected release dates early are back behind bars because of a crackdown by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration, which has been stung by denunciations of a secret program that freed 1,700 inmates weeks ahead of time, reports the Associated Press. Most of the returned parolees had been serving sentences for unlawful weapons charges or battery. They’ve likely gone back to lockup for violating terms of their discharge. The rules they’re forced to follow are unprecedented in terms of severity, according to law enforcement officials. The recent spate of prison returns compares with 57 parolees in the program put back in cells from September through the end of the year.
Quinn is fending off vicious attacks from political opponents over the program, particularly from state Comptroller Dan Hynes, his challenger in the Feb. 2 Democratic gubernatorial primary. All parolees still on the street are being required to follow stringent new regulations — far stricter than anything seen before by law enforcement officials familiar with the Illinois’ parole system. The new rules require parolees to verify where they are and what they’re doing through daily phone calls to an automated statewide parole system. They must visit a parole office — in some cases, hundreds of miles away — twice a week, and refrain from drinking liquor or having alcohol at their homes.