PUBLIC AND LEGISLATIVE CONCERNS
Recent national stories have sparked new concerns about moving these federal prisoners to Thomson, after media reports revealed that one out of every five former Guantanamo Bay detainees has returned to terrorism.
Also, nearly half of the detainees still at Guantanamo Bay and likely to be shipped to Illinois are from Yemen, where former detainees help lead Al Qaida in the Arab Peninsula, the group claiming responsibility for the attempted Christmas Day airline bomber.
In Illinois, Quinn recently halted his Meritorious Good Time (MGT Push) program to release non-violent inmates as a way to cut costs, in the face of overwhelming criticism sparked by evidence that violent offenders and inmates had been set free just weeks after being incarcerated.
MGT Push is now on hold until Quinn names a public safety officer to review and oversee the program. Many question why violent offenders and recently incarcerated inmates were released before they even had an opportunity to display the good behavior that was expected prior to release, or why violent offenders were included in program, but many of those inquiries have gone unanswered.
GOVERNOR NOT ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Equally as concerning is the fact that many questions about the sale of Thomson Prison are simply not being addressed.
After his initial enthusiasm about selling Thomson, we have not heard much from the Governor despite repeated requests for information. Last month, I asked that he attend a Dec. 22 meeting of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability held in Sterling to discuss the matter. No response.
Two weeks later, I asked for a second Commission meeting, so we could get this information from the Governor. Again, no response.
On January 4, I sent him a letter with questions that must be answered before any vote is taken – especially in light of the controversial standards by which Corrections released more than 1,700 inmates back onto the streets of Illinois.
The Governor needs to tell us who made the decision to release these inmates and just how many were released.
We need to know how he can justify selling a state-of-the-art prison when his own Director of Corrections testified before the commission that prison overcrowding is a problem in Illinois.
He also needs to explain what types of prisoners are expected to be housed at Thomson if the facility is sold to the federal government.
These are decisions made by his Administration so the answers should be easy.
BRADY’S OFFICE ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR SCHOLARSHIPS
Students who will be attending state universities in Illinois and are interested in applying for the General Assembly Scholarship program must submit their applications to my office by March 1.
Students whose permanent addresses are located within the 44th District are eligible. Eight one-year tuition waivers – for fall 2010, spring and summer 2011 – are available to undergraduate or graduate students who will be attending state universities, with scholarships specifically designated for nursing, agriculture, and a veteran or the child of a veteran.
A panel of community and education leaders will evaluate applications and select scholarship recipients. I will not be involved in the decision-making process.
Information about the program and applications is available on my legislative Web site at http://brady.senategop.net/scholarship-program. All materials should be mailed to my office, 2203 Eastland Drive, Suite 3, Bloomington, IL 61704 (309/664-4440).
Notification of scholarship awards will be made in the summer of 2010.
General Assembly Scholarships are presented by all Illinois lawmakers to college students across the state. Selection is based upon merit of the applicants.
CHILDREN OF VETS CAN APPLY FOR TUITION WAIVERS
Students who are the natural or adopted children of veterans can apply for a four-year tuition waiver at the University of Illinois.
This program awards up to six waivers per Illinois county each year, one for each of the following conflicts: World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam Conflict, Southeast Asia Conflict, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Eligibility is limited to permanent residents from any of Illinois’ 102 counties. Awards are limited to one per county and per conflict. The tuition waiver is good for any University of Illinois system school or degree program.
Students must apply before March 1, 2010. For more information, check out the University of Illinois Web site at http://www.osfa.uiuc.edu/contacts.html or call the University’s Office of Student Financial Aid at 1-217-333-0100.