The issue that won’t ever go away
Thursday, Aug 12, 2010
* A group of Republican legislators held an informal hearing yesterday in Peoria to take testimony about the Quinn administration’s botched early release program. The reason they say they had to hold the hearing was that the administration wasn’t providing information and they were being blocked from pressing the matter further in Springfield…
Quinn asked retired judge David Erickson back in December to do a thorough review of what went wrong. As subscribers know, Erickson has only been heard from intermittently since then…
You could easily pass last night’s Peoria hearing off as a Republican political stunt, and it probably was. But the local Democrats aren’t fools. They showed up, too…
Everybody knows the volatility of this issue to the locals, because a prisoner released under the botched MGT Push program was reincarcerated, released again and allegedly committed a murder there. That second release also created a huge local controversy because Gov. Pat Quinn tried to place the blame for that second release on the Prisoner Review Board, but the PRB had documentation showing that a Quinn administration employee had recommended a relatively short incarceration period.
* Every time I write about this issue, some people come to the blog and complain that the director of the Department of Corrections was just doing his job. The real issue, they say, is the state needed to save money and Director Michael Randle did that when he released those prisoners early.
Their arguments are bogus. First, Randle allegedly defied a direct order from Gov. Quinn not to use his office’s discretion to release violent prisoners early without cause, and then allegedly covered it up. Second, the move probably cost a lot more than it saved because Corrections scrambled for weeks to round up all those violent parolees before they hurt an innocent citizen and cost Quinn the primary election.
Judge Erickson needs to release that report, which was due in January. Let’s find out what “really” happened.