*** UPDATE 4 - 1:43 pm *** Judge Erickson’s report has now been released. Click here to read it. Other info from the press conference follows below…
* Judge Erickson at the press conference: “MGT Push was a total failure… dysfunctional.” “It failed in its basic purpose, which was to help rehabilitate, to protect the public, to deter crime.” MGT Push object was to “save more money.” “No benefit… No deterrent benefit. No benefit to the inmate whatsoever.”
* Erickson: “What push did was it took a broken system and it made it worse.”
* John Bambenek says this in comments and he’s absolutely right…
I just read the entire report… no mention of WHO came up with this idea, WHO authorized it, WHO reviewed it, WHO approved it.
It’s a process-oritented review. It’s needed, sure. But this is not the report we’ve been looking for.
* Erickson: MGT Push “presented dangers to the public safety”
* Quinn has announced a 3:30 press conference in Chicago.
* Erickson claims it wasn’t a “secret” program because a bunch of insiders knew about it. He didn’t say, however, if Gov. Quinn knew about it. Quinn has said he didn’t know.
A report released by Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration today says an accelerated early release program for prisoners was “a mistake” that failed to protect public safety. […]
In a news release, the administration acknowledged the early release program had “serious flaws.”
“The MGT Push program was a mistake. Although focused on reducing costs during a fiscal crisis, it failed to accomplish the overriding goals of the State’s Code of Corrections: protecting the public’s safety and restoring inmates to useful citizenship,” the report states.
Later, the panel concludes the program “was ill-conceived.
* Reporter questions are beginning…
* Director Randle: “The pressure to save money on DoC wasn’t any different from any other state agency… We were asked to look for opportunities to cut costs…”
* Randle said “No” when asked if the governor was aware that violent offenders were being released early. He sid “the governor was clear” that he didn’t want violent offenders released.
* Judge Erickson: “I’ve recommended no one’s dismissal… Personnel matters were not part of my charge…” He said he didn’t know who was responsible for the program.
*** UPDATE 3 - 1:34 pm *** The report is still not online. Help live-blog in comments if you can. The governor is coincidentally at the State Fair today, so he’s not at the press conference.
*** UPDATE 2 - 1:33 pm *** Sounds like it’s starting. Go here to listen and find the report. That’s the third link I’ve received, by the way.
*** UPDATE 1 - 1:15 pm *** The press conference will start at 1:30 and live audio and the full report will be available at that time at Illinois.gov. [UPDATED LINK] We do have an advance press release. The headline reads: “Erickson Report Finds Serious Flaws in MGT Push Program, Offers Guidelines for Improved Corrections Procedures.” Click here for the full release…
The review panel’s report sets out four core objectives for any good conduct credit program:
1) Protect public safety by deterring crime, including re-offending by former inmates;
2) Recognize and respect the interests of victims;
3) Offer appropriate incentives and rewards for inmates’ positive behavior while incarcerated, and,
4) Provide inmates with access to relevant rehabilitative programs.
Judge Erickson and the review panel found that MGT Push failed to achieve these objectives. The review recommends three major areas of reform, and further advises that all meritorious credit programs remain suspended until crucial reforms are in place.
Earned and Individualized Awards. The Department of Corrections’ accelerated meritorious credit program discarded an unwritten previous policy requiring inmates to spend at least 60 days in state custody before receiving any awards for meritorious conduct. The MGT Push program also continued the Department’s longstanding practice of routinely awarding MGT credit to inmates who had done little, if anything, to demonstrate good conduct.
Accountability and Transparency. The report found that the Department of Corrections relied on unwritten rules and outdated technology and procedures in its inmate release programs, and further found that the record-keeping and policies related to release decisions varied widely throughout the system.
[ *** End Of Updates *** ]
The report recommends a number of measures to enhance the accountability and transparency of both the program and individual meritorious credit awards. The committee calls on the Director to formally delegate authority over earned “good time” programs to the Department’s Chief Public Safety Officer. Program policies and procedures instituted under the Chief Public Safety Officer’s direction should be set forth in formal, written rules, directives, and manuals and should be developed with both notice to and input from community stakeholders.
Communication. The report found that the Department failed to notify local authorities of pending prisoner releases in a uniform and timely manner. In December 2009, Governor Quinn ordered the Department of Corrections to provide local prosecutors with at least 14 days’ advance notice before releasing an inmate with meritorious credit into mandatory supervision. Governor Quinn sought legislation to make this change permanent; this policy was made law when Governor Quinn signed Senate Bill 1013 in January 2010.
In addition to these reforms, the committee recommends that the Department institute a fully electronic advance notification process with appropriate procedural safeguards, to give local authorities time to respond to or prepare for a prisoner’s release. Additionally, updated electronic information-sharing between local authorities, the Illinois State Police, and the Department of Corrections would improve internal decisions on awarding good-conduct credit, expand communication with victims, and alert jail and prison authorities to potential inmate risks.
* 11:01 am - From a press release…
**Friday, August 13, 2010**
CHICAGO - Judge David Erickson and members of Governor Quinn’s administration will release
the Report on the Meritorious Good Time and MGT Push programs.
WHO: Retired Appellate Court Justice and Criminal Trial Judge David Erickson
Jerome Stermer, Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor
John Schomberg, Acting General Counsel, Office of the Governor
Michael Randle, Director, Illinois Department of Corrections
Gladyse Taylor, Acting Assistant Director, Illinois Department of Corrections
Mark S. Prosperi, Public Safety Liaison Officer, Office of the Governor;
Michael J. McCotter, Chief Public Safety Officer, Illinois Department of Corrections
WHEN: 1:30 p.m.
WHERE: James R. Thompson Center
Hearing Room 16-503
100 West Randolph Street
Chicago, Illinois 60601
This will be broadcast live on the Internet. Come back at 1:30 for the link.
I sure hope this isn’t gonna be a whitewash.
* December 13, 2009: Illinois prisons shave terms, secretly release inmates: Repeat drunk drivers, drug users and even people convicted of battery and weapons violations are serving less than three weeks’ total time behind bars under a secret change in policy by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s prison system, The Associated Press has learned.
* December 14, 2009: Critics bash Quinn on early release of inmates
* December 14, 2009: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn puts prison early release program on hold - Opponents claim some inmates spent only weeks behind bars before being set free
* December 21, 2009: Gov. Quinn Appoints Former Judge To Head Meritorious Good Time Review
* December 30, 2009: Gov. Quinn Overhauls Controversial Prison Release Program, Will Bolster Law and Agency Operations
* January 04, 2010: Ill. governor says early secret prison release was a mistake - Gov. Pat Quinn reversed a secret policy that allowed more than 1,700 inmates to be released early
* January 5, 2010: Illinois Governor Pat Quinn suspends another early release program
* January 13, 2010: House OKs minimum prison term, release notice
* January 13, 2010: 130 back in prison after state’s parole crackdown
* Jan 14, 2010: Quinn stands behind corrections director
* January 22, 2010: Corrections: Wrong early release prisoners listed
* March 12, 2010: DoC cleans house of director’s foes
* May 18, 2010: Governor blames prison board for early release
* June 23, 2010: Dozens of prisoners released early in Ill. have disappeared, some are violent
* June 28, 2010: Judge still reviewing prison-release policy: But the report has languished as Erickson, a senior law lecturer, took teaching assignments in Texas and Florida last spring. And he said officials decided to include a review of the agency’s computer system. “I’m shooting for just after the 4th of July to be done with my report,” Erickson told The Associated Press.
* July 20, 2010: Quinn Signs Brady’s Prisons Bill, Ending Secret Prisoner Release