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*** UPDATED x1 - IDOC responds *** Godinez approved by exec appointments committee day before primary

Tuesday, Mar 18, 2014

* AP

An Illinois Senate panel has approved Gov. Pat Quinn’s choice to oversee the state Department of Corrections despite objections from Republicans.

Monday’s 7-2 vote on Corrections Director S.A. “Tony” Godinez (goh-DEEN’-ez) came during a hearing in Chicago. […]

The Senate Executive Appointments Committee meeting was held a day before Tuesday’s election.

State Sen. Tim Bivins from Dixon is the panel’s ranking Republican. He says Monday’s vote creates an unusual appearance.

* More

Godinez also defended the agency against the perception that the facilities are overcrowded. Currently, there are nearly 50,000 inmates in a system built to house about 32,000 prisoners.

Godinez said there are enough beds for inmates, if you count putting bunks in gymnasiums, but the high numbers of inmates mean prisoners don’t receive the kinds of educational and vocational classes they should be receiving.

“We’re overcrowded because we don’t have enough programs for everybody,” Godinez said.

He won praise from Democrats for implementing an early prisoner release program that has resulted in just 3.9 percent of those inmates returning to prison.

“We’re jumping on these guys if they aren’t adhering to the basic parole rules,” Godinez said. “Our efforts so far have been miraculous.”

Discuss.

*** UPDATE *** From the Department of Corrections…

During yesterday’s confirmation hearing, Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) Director Salvador “Tony” Godinez never said there are enough beds for inmates—if you count putting bunks in gymnasiums. That would be wildly inaccurate since only 24 of 48,400 inmates in our system are housed in one former gym space. 24.

IDOC no longer needs gyms for housing,and last summer we eliminated gym use; these 24 inmates stayed while permanent conversation was planned. In fact, the Director actually said this insignificant number of 24 will be out of gyms in two weeks.

Further, we do not have nearly 50,000 inmates in this system. It is currently 48,400. That’s closer to 48K than 50K. The difference is almost what would be in one prison.

Finally, this important fact. Director Godinez never said it is “98% true” that he spends more time visiting with inmates than staff. Mr. Godinez three times described how he had made an average of more than 50 visits to Illinois prisons each year during his three years as Director and that he “visits every area, every employee, from officers to health care workers to the records office.”

His actual quote referenced that 98% of the time he “bypasses the Warden’s office and goes directly into the prison,” whereas his predecessors’ typical prison tours amounted to “staying in the Warden’s office, drinking coffee.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


41 Comments
  1. - OneMan - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 10:27 am:

    So as long as there is place for them to sleep then you are not overcrowded?


  2. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 10:29 am:

    the usa is 5% of the world ,but has 25% of the world`s prisoner`s.


  3. - Dan Bureaucrat - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    “We’re overcrowded because we don’t have enough programs for everybody,” Godinez said.

    This is an apt and critical point. They have enough space to house people, but not to serve them with programs.

    I think the IDOC wants more programming, because they seek outside grants, seek volunteers, and try to nickel and dime more programs. But they don’t have the funding. The vast majority of the budget goes to operations and salaries.


  4. - LincolnLounger - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 10:51 am:

    “Miraculous”?!? Hyperbole, thy name is Godinez.


  5. - Timmeh - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 10:52 am:

    Why does it matter that he was approved the day before the primary?


  6. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 10:57 am:

    ==They have enough space to house people, but not to serve them with programs. ==

    Seriously? If you are putting prisoners in gymnasiums, you don’t have enough space. Where would they have these programs? The programming space is filled with beds.

    The director of the Dept of Corrections should just say what everyone knows: We have too many prisoners and not enough space AND much of the space we do have is old and in terrible condition.


  7. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 11:03 am:

    After the meeting, the Committee Chair, Sen. H. Ed Inthesand said, “We were impressed with Director Godinez because he tells us the lies we want to hear. It was great to learn that our prisons are not overcrowded and that if we just add a couple of programs everything will be great.”


  8. - unspun - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 11:03 am:

    Goofy comments by the Director aside, the Monday meeting is a non-issue. First, it was only a committee “recommendation”; his appointment still requires full Senate approval. Second, there are plenty of senators that have four year terms (and are not campaigning) that could have been at the hearing if they had strong feelings one way or another. The hearing was scheduled and posted with plenty of notice.


  9. - in absentia - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 11:12 am:

    So true Kettle. Adding programs will reduce overcrowding; um, how exactly? IL sold a max prison to the feds which would have helped overcrowding, but IL likes to keep up appearances (of what I don’t know). Glad Godinez gets another term there, he’s a smart fella. If IDOC had program/contractual money to dish out to vendors then his job would be even more fun.


  10. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 11:16 am:

    no schooling,there`s gym&lunch?


  11. - Rob Roy - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 11:17 am:

    If they would close down the Corrections industries and buy form bidding venders they could save millions. Corrections industries is about money laundering. The same products can be purchased from private companies for less than half the price that industries charges. I do think there is a need for industries but it should not be run like a business/ i.e. for profit. It could save money and give inmates skills and keep idol hands busy. The law requires that if a state institution uses a product that industries makes they are required to buy from industries, no matter what the cost is. So they set there own price competitive or not. Industries makes bread with inmate labor and yet charges almost 3 times what bread from wonder could be bought for and delivered to the institutions. They also do meat, toilet paper, soap, uniforms, milk and juice. Lets see have I missed anything. Also Mr. Godinez takes his orders from the Gov. he does not act on his own. So the real complaint should rest with Quinn. The prisons are dangerously over crowded, people that are inexperienced and under qualified are placed/promoted into positions that they have no business being in but a given because of gender, race, or political ties with no regards for safety of the prisons or staff. They are placing inmates into lower security classifications to facilitate bed space not the security of facilities. Good luck to all the staff in these places.


  12. - Dan Bureaucrat - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 11:30 am:

    I think the IDOC does say: We have too many prisoners AND much of the space we do have is old and in terrible condition. They ask for more money to repair prisons all the time. Like millions of dollars.

    And just to be clear: the prisons are overcrowded because we can’t take care the people there by any measure. But the main concern should be serving the people there with programming, mental health treatment, vocational training or even enough basic schooling.

    We are not doing that, and if you cut the population by one-third, we probably still would not be doing that.


  13. - Richard Speck - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 11:43 am:

    Godinez never bought in to the reforms of the mid 90’s. The miracle was that the bi partisan reforms eradicated most drugs and gang problems out of the prison system. Godinez is now taking us backwards… And the shame is , as “Rome burns “. AFSCME is playing the fiddle.


  14. - tobor - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 11:49 am:

    Anonymous- the gym is full of beds.


  15. - Barney Fife - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 12:07 pm:

    Well shame on you! A hearing in Chicago instead of Springfield when in Session? Replacements in attendance ready to cast a “Yes” vote? This will haunt the Dems until November & all this heat for a Director from the opposite party in an election year? Not very well thought out by the Chairman, PQ is this really wise? If his own party realizes his incompetence, what could possibky be the rationalization for such an unethical manuver?


  16. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    Prisons are an extremely expensive and backward form of correctional policy and they should only be used in extreme circumstances. Future generations will look back on Illinois’ overuse of prisons with amazement and disgust. In particular, the extreme racial disproportionality of the prison population will probably be the topic of various movies and tv shows about the bad old days.

    If Godinez is successfully implementing early release and is not advocating for more, bigger, newer jails, then I’m for Godinez. Government, even Quinn admits, is not supposed to be a jobs program. But given the screams from downstate pols and public employee unions whenever these medieval institutions try to responsibly downsize, you’d think government existed primarily to provide lifetime employment to a fortunate and politically connected segment of the Illinois population. And contracts to connected private vendors of course.


  17. - transplant - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    But the population isn’t downsizing. The facility square footage and the rehabilitation programs are downsizing. Nearly 50,000 people are currently housed in a system built for right around 32,000.


  18. - Aldo - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 12:48 pm:

    Typical Lee News sensationalism.


  19. - Knome Sane - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 12:56 pm:

    =Further, we do not have nearly 50,000 inmates in this system. It is currently 48,400.=

    Um, how in the world is 48,400 NOT characterized as “nearly 50,000″? That’s like saying 97 is not “nearly 100″.


  20. - Knome Sane - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    =This will haunt the Dems until November=

    Please. This will haunt no one in November.


  21. - Rob Roy - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    To Cassandra, The population of prisons is related to crime not color. Don’t do the crime if you don’t want to go to prison. It’s as easy as that. Reform works for a small, small percentage of inmates. Most look at prison as just part of the life style that they chose to live. Not saying that they like it but consider it just part of it. Very few are reformed. And most were not raised like you or I was. so they don’t think the way that “for this I will call normal people do”


  22. - cover - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    = A hearing in Chicago instead of Springfield when in Session? =

    The General Assembly was not in session yesterday, nor is it in session today. Both chambers return tomorrow. I’m somewhat surprised that any hearing was scheduled the day before the primary, whether in Chicago or Springfield.


  23. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    ==The population of prisons is related to crime not color.==

    LOL That is so far from the truth as to be laughable. The judicial system incarcerates far more minorities than would be proportionally expected and for several reasons among which are prosecutorial decisions, sentencing guidelines, and poverty (which results in a limited ability to obtain adequate legal defense). All of this has been thoroughly researched and published and is beyond the scope of this thread, but you can find much of it on-line.


  24. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 1:51 pm:

    ==we do not have nearly 50,000 inmates in this system. It is currently 48,400==

    They kind of missed the point. If the system is designed to hold 32,000, it’s still more than 50% over capacity.


  25. - Bulldog58 - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 1:53 pm:

    So what if they’re moving the inmates out of the gyms, the overcrowding still exists. Instead of housing the inmates in gyms they are now placing 4 prisoners in a space designed for 2, 8 in a space for 6 and so on. There are buildings where they have doubled the inmate population from 92 to 184 with only two correctional officers to control them, and for several hours a day there is just a single officer in these buildings.
    Oh no, the system isn’t overcrowded at all…yeah right. Don’t believe a word IDOC says.


  26. - Barney Fife - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 2:24 pm:

    Cover.
    That’s exactly what I meant. Not in Session while in Springfield. The ultimate unethical tactical manuver. But Godinez was found guilty of Ethics Violations by the OEIG. Why would any less be expected. Of course his Senate vote is another bogus strategical manuver, scheduled for tomorrow when most members are still tied up from primary commitments or scheduled unity meetings. Ethics? Not!


  27. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    ===The ultimate unethical tactical manuver===

    Did you just move to Illinois?


  28. - Barney Fife - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    No Rich. Been following the Federal Prison sentences for years. Plus living downstate, thank you sir, may WE have another!


  29. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    @Barney:

    I don’t find it unethical to have a committee hearing. It doesn’t matter when they had it. The outcome would have been the same.

    Your comment reminds me a little of that Andy Griffith episode where Gomer is running around yelling Citizens Arrest! Citizens Arrest!


  30. - .In the Know - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 3:05 pm:

    ROB ROY
    I agree 200%. Prison industries is a scam. Years ago they produced marketable items. They had farms raised and processed the meat. We produced grain milk clothing and other items consumed in prisons. They made products that could be used by the state and municipalities! All we have now is a department that make purchases from the private sector and sell to other department at a higher price. Industries then can show a profit of how much money they made for the year selling to other state departments. Its all a scam. But I guess the State of Illions is a SCAM!


  31. - Rob Roy - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 3:13 pm:

    Pot Calling: have you interacted with inmates? Have you talked to them daily? I have for 28 years. Tell Rod and George that its all about color. I will say it again if you don’t want to go to prison don’t commit crimes. Stop using race as an excuse. Don’t break the law and you don’t go to jail.


  32. - Big Rob - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 3:22 pm:

    This is going to hurt Quinn in the election. I’m a life long dem but I don’t know anymore. I worked for DOC and all my family does still and this is the worst Director we have ever had. We need to watch what Senators vote him through and vote them out.


  33. - ISP Retired - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 3:52 pm:

    Maybe only 3.9 % have returned to IDOC , but the real question should be , how many have been arrested since being released, we in law enforcement know what a farce parole is , they have a list of what charges will get a client (as they call them)revoked , would it surprise you that a person could be arrested for a class 1 felony and not get sent back. It is a joke and all smoke and mirrors.


  34. - down south - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 4:00 pm:

    Committe was moved. Anyone not there is a no vote. The stinking deal was made to move to Chicago to replace the no votes that were there initially on that committe with yes votes. PERIOD. Old but effective trick


  35. - Irish - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 4:00 pm:

    This is what baffles me about Quinn. Heading into a hard campaign with all the other baggage he has, budget, jobs, the Urban Violence Grant, etc.. He has several high position people in another agency who are under the gun and he adds more fodder for the opposition with this.

    Is it because patronage so important, does he really think he is untouchable, is it arrogance or stupidity? This reminds me of someone else who was in complete denial until his undoing.


  36. - Retired IDOC Captain - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 4:26 pm:

    Nothing has or will ever change in Illinois. Director Godinez was under scrutiny and controversy when he was let go before. Also when he was employed in Louisiana the Federal Government had to take over the Prison system. Long resume full of numerous, “Hey I didn’t stay long” leap frog employment. Figure it out, what Vote does Godinez and Munoz help carry? Not about safety of staff working in IDOC it’s about Status Quo Illinois Politics!! Come on Afscme stand up for your frontline staff, they are endangered under this Director!!


  37. - Soccermom - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 5:40 pm:

    Gosh, I love DOC statements.

    IDOC no longer needs gyms for housing,and last summer we eliminated gym use; these 24 inmates stayed while *permanent conversation* was planned.

    Never thought I’d be quoting Rod, but — A little less conversation, a little more action…


  38. - Barney Fife - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 6:17 pm:

    http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2000/March/155cr.htm
    RETIRED IDOC CAPTAIN;
    You were right on the money, this is what occured in the Louisiana tenure. Senators with age should come wisdom.


  39. - Calling u out - Tuesday, Mar 18, 14 @ 6:32 pm:

    In the know… U r wrong and know it ICI does teach marketable skills producing products! Stop spreading and feeding rumors! Rob Roy give me some examples of your cost comparisons you know so much about!


  40. - knowsbetter - Wednesday, Mar 19, 14 @ 9:20 am:

    Very disturbing, but at the very least, Godinez as well as PQ, own all of the failed policies. There is going to come a time where neither will be able to lie and spin what’s really going on within IDOC. It shouldn’t be any surprise that AFSCME is doing nothing to address this. One of Godinez’s top supporters is non other than Henry Bayer himself.


  41. - knowsbetter - Wednesday, Mar 19, 14 @ 9:32 am:

    @Calling u out…quick question. If you owned a company that made, say, floor cleaning products, would you ship your product to a warehouse across the state and then re-purchase it and have it shipped back for your use? Just curious.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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