LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT, OTHER GROUPS TESTIFY
Among those testifying at the hearing August 11 were local police and sheriffs, along with several crime victims and crime victim advocacy groups. All participants expressed concern about the implementation of the early-release program, and urged officials to be more discriminatory when deciding which prisoners will receive early release.
“In Peoria County, we right now have over 500 paroled people in our area,” said Peoria County Sheriff Michael McCoy. “We don’t know how many of them have been on the MGT records, we don’t know who they are, we don’t know where they live, or where they came from….When people are released early from prison and we don’t know they’re out, that greatly hinders our investigations.”
“When a victim hears a sentence, they assume a certain piece of mind for that period of time. And a lot of victims lost that earlier this year,” said Terry Mayborne, President of IllinoisVictims.org, a victims’ rights organization.
ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS DO NOT ATTEND
Though invited to attend, no representatives from the Quinn Administration or the Department of Corrections were present. However, several local Democrat lawmakers did attend the hearing, which Republican panel members said shows that questions and concerns relating to the MGT Push program cross party lines.
The MGT Push program was an initiative of the Quinn Administration. Initially, the Administration announced plans to release 1,000 non-violent inmates who had less than a year left of their sentences. The first program was anticipated to save the state $5 million. It was later revealed in media reports that the Administration had actually implemented two early-release programs: one publicized program, and a secret MGT Push program, which granted good-time credit to almost 2,000 inmates, including violent offenders.
Once the MGT Push program was made public, the secret program was suspended. However, many questions still surround the implementation of the MGT Push program and who is responsible for the misguided policy.
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