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Illinois prison population drops 8.7 percent in two years

Monday, Aug 29, 2016

* From the Illinois Policy Institute’s radio network

New numbers released by the Illinois Department of Corrections show that Illinois’ prison population dropped by 2,485 in the past year and by more than 4,200 since fiscal 2014.

The total prison population was 44,680 as of July 1, down from 47,165 in June 2015 and 48,921 in June 2014.

Gov. Bruce Rauner resolved to reduce the prison population by 25 percent over the next decade. He devised the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform to come up with recommendations to reach the goal. While the downward trend started before the commission released its recommendations and passed subsequent legislation, recommendations from the commission have been taken up by judges and law enforcement. […]

[The head of the John Howard Association, Jennifer Vollen-Katz] said that, even with the new lower number, Illinois’ prison system is still over capacity by nearly 12,000. According to the Vera Institute of Justice, taxpayers pay approximately $40,000 every year to incarcerate someone in Illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

12 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 12:04 pm:

    So he’s taking credit for reductions unrelated to anything he’s done? Guess that’s the way of things. Plus I guess that means his reforms only need to remove another 16%


  2. - Payback - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 12:32 pm:

    “…recommendations from the commission have been taken up by judges and law enforcement.” When has law enforcement ever championed reducing the prison population by rolling back the myriad of criminal laws in Illinois?

    Here’s a suggestion: legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for personal possession. Not “decriminalization” where you are still put on the court docket and the county clerk “expunges” your “record” every six months.

    Cut off the “gateway” that puts so many teenagers into the criminal justice system which ultimately ends up in prison. Then watch the police unions whine about real marijuana legalization. The current laws are good for their “business.”


  3. - Federalist - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 12:52 pm:

    Here’s a suggestion: legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for personal possession. Not “decriminalization” where you are still put on the court docket and the county clerk “expunges” your “record” every six months.

    1 oz of pot equals about 2 packs of cigarettes. Is this a good number or should it be cut to 1/2 oz of pot?

    In any case it needs to be legalized as Payback suggests so as to not clog up the court system.

    Meanwhile anyone caught selling gets hit big time and if they sell to those underage it should mean major prison time.

    My only concern with legalization or decriminalization is that there is an effective measure for impairment as there is for alcohol. That has to be implemented. Don’t care about personal use in one’s own home but driving is a whole different matter.


  4. - Hal - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 1:01 pm:

    Don’t get me wrong, I support criminal justice reform, particularly when it comes to drug possession. But is there any chance that the increase crime in Chicago this year is being fueled in some small measure by incarceration rates decreasing? (More gang members back home and on the streets?)

    The violent crime rate in Chicago had been on a steady decline for years (in fact, Chicago’s murder rate in 2014 was about half of what it was in the early 90’s.) The drop in crime throughout those years was mirrored by an increase in incarceration rates.

    I don’t think there is any one cause for crime spiking in Chicago this year, just as there wasn’t one cause for its decades long decline. But maybe incarceration rates should be part of the conversation.


  5. - Just Observing - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 1:04 pm:

    === Meanwhile anyone caught selling gets hit big time ===

    So you want to fully legalize possession (not even decriminalize) but you want anyone selling pot to get “hit big time?”


  6. - Anonymous - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 1:07 pm:

    Illinois needs to keep violent criminals in prison longer. Some of the prisoners being released on parole are returning to commit more crimes such as the two career criminals who were arrested for the murder of a woman pushing a baby stroller.


  7. - crazybleedingheart - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 1:32 pm:

    With a safety net that resembles a raging dumpster fire, anyone suggesting spending a solitary dime on more prison should volunteer to be the first severe threat to public safety to go away for a very, very long time.


  8. - Federalist - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 2:08 pm:

    @Just Observing

    YES!

    Make it legal and sold and taxed through a legal process.


  9. - Jerry - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 2:52 pm:

    Here’s a radical idea in the Land of the Free and the Home and the brave:

    Only lock up the violent criminals, just like we did for 3000 or so years. It’s easy, if it was a crime 100 years ago, it’s still a crime. If it’s a new “crime” (like poisoning oneself), then it should be taxed to death.

    Now, back to enjoying life….


  10. - Jerry - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 2:52 pm:

    *home of the brave*


  11. - Amalia - Monday, Aug 29, 16 @ 2:52 pm:

    Prison population should be dependent on one thing….need to incarcerate. Not money. Not love of community justice (whatever that is). but need to keep people away from others. Once upon a time, Minnesota had a prison matrix that required sentencing to depend upon space available. That meant that a sexual assault convict could get a different sentence if he (most always he) got lucky and got a sentence when the prisons were almost full. that kind of nonsense gets other people victimized. cost should not be the question. the purpose of prison is to keep people out of society. many, many of those convicted should never ever even get a chance to get out. violence is real.


  12. - georgeatt - Thursday, Sep 1, 16 @ 3:19 pm:

    Just as the Vehicle Insurance Industry are not concerned by marijuana impaired driving (they know the facts because facts equate with money), I see no reason to not legalize based on impaired driving fears. Some studies have shown the amount of THc is not indicative of impairment even at high levels.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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