Cost-cutting to free 1,000 Ill. inmates

Sept. 19, 2009 at 2:43 PM
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Sept. 19 (UPI) -- An Illinois penal system spokeswoman says 1,000 non-violent inmates will be released from state prisons to help save money.

Corrections Department spokeswoman Januari Smith said Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is planning to free the low-level inmates from prisons statewide during the next few months in an effort to save nearly $5 million annually, the Chicago Tribune reported Saturday.

Those inmates due for release under the state's plan will face supervised parole and be fitted with electronic monitoring devices. Only inmates in the last year of their sentences will be considered.

Drug and property crime offenders will constitute the bulk of those freed, Smith said.

The Tribune said $2 million will be used to monitor the released prisoners, while the state has tabbed an additional $2 million for community-based efforts aimed at keeping offenders out of state prisons.

Quinn said in a statement the funding efforts focus on "protecting the public while also modernizing and improving the state's correctional system."

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