St. Louis Public Radio News
11:40 am
Mon September 21, 2009

Illinois to release non-violent offenders in effort to cut costs

Springfield, Ill. – Over the next few months, the state of Illinois will release about a thousand non-violent offenders from prison before their sentences are up. The move is meant to save money in a tough budget year.

Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Januari Smith said inmates will not apply for early release; the department will screen non-violent offenders and determine who's eligible.

Once the selected 1,000 are out from behind bars, they'll be placed on parole and will have to wear ankle bracelets.

Smith said Illinois' 400 parole officers will not be overworked.

"Some people have figured that [parole officers] may have an additional two or three cases," Smith said.

According to the corrections department, nearly seventy percent of Illinois' inmates are in prison for non-violent crimes.

The department says releasing some of these offenders early will not only save money, it will reduce crowding in the system.