By Jamey Dunn
Gov. Pat Quinn appointed Michael McCotter, a veteran of the Chicago Police Department, to investigate two prisoner early release programs initiated by his administration.
Quinn made the announcement a day after he suspended a plan to let nearly 1,000 nonviolent offenders out of Illinois prisons early to save the state money. Quinn also ended an early release program last week known as “Meritorious Good Time Push,” which he characterized as “a big mistake.” Both programs started in September.
The Associated Press reported in December the Illinois Department of Corrections was awarding prisoners months of early release time for good behavior in the first few days of their sentences under the “MGT Push” program, thus returning some violent offenders to the streets after they spent just a few weeks behind bars.
Quinn said the Department of Corrections has gone back to using a policy that requires inmates to serve at least 61 days before becoming eligible for good behavior credit.
McCotter will be evaluating both the nonviolent offender early release plan and the state’s meritorious credit program.
Quinn spokesmen Bob Reed said the decision whether to reinstate the early release program will be based on McCotter’s recommendations.
The announcements come after a prisoner who was released early allegedly murdered a teenager in Chicago. The Chicago Tribune reported that Randall White, who served 2 1/2 years of a six-year sentence, is accused of killing Fred Couch Jr. in December.
According to the Department of Corrections, White was not released through either program.