Dozens of Illinois parolees, including one imprisoned for his part in a 2008 murder, have disappeared after they were set free as part of a secret early release program, reports the Associated Press. The parolees were let go as part of the “MGT Push” plan that Gov. Pat Quinn shut down in December after the AP reported on it. MGT Push has embarrassed Quinn as he runs for re-election, although the governor has said he didn’t know Corrections Director Michael Randle planned to release violent offenders. The administration ordered parole agents in January to begin “intensive compliance” checks on the released prisoners.
More than 50 MGT Push parolees are currently on the lam, say documents obtained under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. While many who go astray are picked up within days, some absconders have been gone for months. Those currently on the list have been missing an average 136 days, or 4.5 months. “Our teams are working full-time to apprehend these offenders,” Corrections Department spokeswoman Sharyn Elman said. “It’s dangerous. People could be hurt,” said Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, a crime victims’ advocate with IllinoisVictims.org. Elman initially said the list changes too rapidly for the agency to report accurately names of parolees who are on the run. Then Wednesday, she said the agency was developing a way to update parolees’ status.