A long-standing practice in Illinois requires all prisoners serve at least 61 days of their sentence, but it has been reported by the media that some inmates spent as little as 11 days behind bars before being released.
“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,” Senator Brady said. “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.”
(Senator's Brady to Governor Quinn is seen below)
January 4, 2010
The Honorable Pat Quinn
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706
Dear Governor Quinn:
As a member of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (CoGFA), I have a number of questions that I would like you to answer regarding the Thomson Correctional Center and the Illinois Department of Corrections:
1.) In light of the threat of Yemeni terrorists, their propensity to attack American properties and their threat to renew their attacks against American interests, are you still prepared to accept federal detainees now held at Guantanamo Bay? If so, are you confident that Illinois interests will be secure against terrorist actions here in Illinois? Have there been any further discussions with federal officials regarding enhanced security at Thomson since the December 22 CoGFA hearing?
2.) I believe we all would like more complete details on the Illinois inmates who have been granted early release, either through your program to release 1,000 “non-violent” inmates to save $5 million and the Meritorious Good Time release program which you halted on December 30. In the December 30 press release, you state that 1,718 inmates were released. Can you confirm this number? Of those inmates released, how many were classified as violent, and how many non-violent? What areas of Illinois were they released in, and what restrictions were put on their release? How many have been rearrested or reincarcerated since their release?
3.) Information about the scope of inmates released under both early release programs was withheld from the public until the media disclosed at an initial 850 inmates had been released, some who had served as little as 11 days of their sentences. Describe what the policy will be for informing the legislature and the public regarding early release programs in the future. Doesn’t the administration have an obligation to notify the public, and certainly the victims of crimes committed by those inmates? What safeguards in tracking those inmates does the administration have in place?
4.) Given the acknowledged overcrowding concerns in the Illinois corrections system, what contracts does the Illinois Department of Corrections have with other correctional agencies or counties to house state inmates? What is the cost of those contractual agreements?
5.) Should the sale of Thomson Correctional Center occur, what is the administration’s plan for alleviating overcrowding in state prisons?
I look forward to your response. Should you have further questions, please contact my office at (309) 664-4440.
WILLIAM E. BRADY
State Senator – 44th District