Posted by Barton Lorimor
***UPDATE 1x (1:15 p.m.) ***
That didn’t take long…
Quinn named Gladyse Taylor, a ranking official in the Department of Corrections, as acting director of the agency. She had been named acting assistant director in May and previously served as deputy director of the governor’s budget office. […]
A Chicago native, Taylor said in a statement she hoped to implement programs that would reduce the cycle of inmates who repeatedly bounce in and out of prisons.
*** End update ***
You probably remember from yesterday that Gov. Pat Quinn accepted a letter of resignation from state Corrections chief Michael Randle effective Sept. 17.
It was also revealed yesterday that Randle has been offered a position in Ohio…
Randle will head a community corrections facility for the not-for-profit group Oriana House in Cleveland. […]
Oriana executive vice president Bernie Rochford says he’s unconcerned about Randle’s Illinois experience.
He says Randle maintains a good reputation in Ohio. Randle was assistant director of the state prison system there.
The SJ-R editorial board was skeptical in its editorial about Randle’s resignation. They want to know more about what happened to MGT…
There is no disputing that, while Randle was at the helm of IDOC, the early release program known as MGT-Push (named for “Meritorious Good Time”) became a confusing administrative tangle that greatly embarrassed the administration. It’s still not clear what Randle knew or didn’t know about prisoners released under the program and where exactly in the IDOC bureaucracy things went wrong. Some, most notably Quinn’s Republican opponent, have said that alone should have led to Randle’s immediate firing.
But the problems faced by Illinois’ corrections system neither started nor ended with the now-suspended MGT-Push program.
Because of the politics surrounding Randle and how the early-release program has been used against Quinn’s campaign, you had to figure this would come up…
Gov. Pat Quinn said Thursday that he did not force his embattled corrections chief to resign over a botched prisoner early release program and defended Michael Randle’s job performance during his short time in Illinois. […]
“I think highly of Mike Randle,” said Quinn, who addressed the departure at a Forest Park event welcoming troops home from Iraq.
The governor cited Randle’s major changes to the state’s troubled supermax prison and focus on ways to cut recidivism as plusses of his tenure.
“He admitted he made a mistake, he took responsibility for that mistake and I took accountability,” Quinn said of the early release program. “But you don’t just dwell on mistakes. You correct mistakes and you move forward.”
Naturally, the Brady Camp was there to attack…
Brady spokesman Patty Schuh said Randle should have been fired “long ago.” She said letting Randle leave without any discipline shows the Quinn administration is a “revolving door of reckless ineptitude.”
But both the Tribune and Sun-Times editorial boards flipped the issue and blamed Randle’s departure on Brady.
As of Thursday, we really do have an early release scandal in Illinois’ prison system.
The scandal is the early departure of state Corrections Director Michael Randle.
Randle, a forward-thinking administrator, had good ideas about improving the state’s dismal prison system, but became a victim this week of election-year critics who sought to portray him as inept.
Gov. Quinn announced Thursday that Randle is resigning as of Sept. 17. The Republican candidate for governor, state Sen. Bill Brady, had criticized Randle for an essentially manufactured scandal over a “meritorious good time” program that moved up release dates for some prisoners, including some with violent histories, by up to 61 days.
And the Tribune challenged Brady to come up with a better way to save money…
Acting on Quinn’s directive to cut costs, Randle created MGT Push, an extension of the state’s existing early release program called Meritorious Good Time. Inmates were given credit for good behavior, which translates into shortened sentences, before they even arrived in prison. This made some of them eligible for release after as little as 11 days. On average, they got out 36 days earlier, not because they’d earned a break but because Illinois is broke. Of roughly 1,750 who benefited from the program, more than 400 already are back in prison.
We’re all lucky it didn’t play out much, much worse. But we take no joy in Randle’s departure. This isn’t a good time to be chief of anything in Illinois. He arrived a little over a year ago with a big reputation and some good ideas, and he deserves credit for quickly addressing questions about the warehousing of mentally ill inmates at the state’s only supermax prison. But he’ll be remembered for MGT Push.[…]
Quinn’s Republican rival, Bill Brady, has had a lot to say about MGT Push. What he hasn’t done is tell us what a Gov. Brady would do instead. He’s promised not to raise taxes and vowed to cut state spending by 10 percent, but so far the only expendable item he’s identified in the prison budget is cable television. That’s not going to get the job done.
* Nice guys finish last; Pat Quinn tries to win votes by being honest about bad news
* Quinn: Prisons chief Michael Randle wasn’t forced out
* State Head of Corrections Takes Job in Ohio
* Quinn Says He Didn’t Force D.O.C. Director Out
* Randle Resignation Points To Political Problems For Quinn
* Illinois: Corrections Chief Leaving
* Gov. Quinn’s embattled prisons chief resigns
* Quinn on Corrections: ‘We will march on’
* Rich Whitney: The Best Choice for True Conservatives?
* Underdogs or Not, Write-In Candidates Press On
* Lots of Lawmakers on the Ballot, Few Races Close
* Candidates discuss state’s disabled
* Candidates talk about solutions to state deficit
* New Cook County ethics proposal aimed at Berrios