In order to save an estimated $5 million a year, Illinois is releasing about 1,000 non-violent offenders (with less than a year to serve on their sentence) early. The first wave of early releases started on Tuesday and the state's Department of Corrections plans to release a total of 62 inmates by Friday.
Once released, the parolees will be monitored by electronic ankle bracelets and parole agents.
Who Will Go Home Early?
While you can check to see if an inmate is still incarcerated easily by searching his or her name on-line www.idoc.state.il.us/subsections/search/default.asp, the Department of Corrections is not releasing a list of inmates that are scheduled to be released as a result of the budget crisis (or where the inmates will be heading).
Individual law enforcement agencies do receive notice when a parolee plans to reside in their city or county, but law enforcement agencies I checked with also do not have a list of inmates scheduled to be released as a result of the budget crisis.
When Will More Inmates Be Released?
It will take several months to release all 1,000 inmates according to a Department of Corrections spokesperson who added that the state is still screening potential parolees. Not all of the 1,000 inmates set for early release have been identified.
The state is trying to assure citizens that the inmates are carefully screened and that the screeners are looking 10 years back to make sure the offender has not been convicted of a violent crime (like rape, robbery, or murder).
State Workers Union Against the Move
The Council 31 Regional Director for The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees says parole officers are already stretched thin. He questions the state's insistance that the new parolees will be closely supervised when parole officers are juggling what he says are heaving workloads.
According to AFSCME, there are more than 35,000 parolees in Illinois and around 400 parole agents.