Ill. plans early release of 1,000 inmates -

Ill. plans early release of 1,000 inmates

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- About 1,000 non-violent offenders will be released early from Illinois prisons under a program Gov. Pat Quinn says will ease the strain of overcrowding.

Quinn said Friday he is giving the Corrections Department $4 million to enact reforms in a budget crisis. It includes $2 million for the early release. Inmates released would be assigned a parole agent and have to be electronically monitored.

Another $2 million will go toward a program to encourage counties to use community rehabilitation programs for low-level criminals instead of sending them to prison.

Corrections department officials did not immediately say when the inmates would be released or how much the department would save. A spokeswoman says they would come from minimum security prisons and "transition" centers that prepare released inmates for life on the street.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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