Sunday, January 24, 2010


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Nearly six weeks after Gov. Patrick J. Quinn halted an early release program that freed hundreds of potentially violent inmates, his administration is still struggling to identify which criminals — and even how many — were released.
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I have one word for this situation - incompetence. But the condition of Illinois prison system goes beyond this incident to suggest how out of control things are. And it goes without saying that things are bad all over. It is difficult to imagine the magnitude of management problems faced by departments of correction given the explosive population growth and the reluctance to invest in the personnel and infrastructure to keep pace with the growth.

While there are both short and long-term consequences to this nation-wide situation, the immediate ramifications of the Illinois debacle include placing dangerous offenders back on the street (without proper treatment and supervision) and generating resistance to the need to reduce the prison population and the underlying sentencing reform that must take place.

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