SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- An Illinois House committee has approved early release for prison inmates. They say it will help the state avoid legal trouble over a severely crowded system.
Members of the criminal law Judiciary Committee voted 7-1 Monday to send the good-conduct legislation to the House floor.
Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie is sponsoring the measure. The Chicago Democrat says if lawmakers do nothing they could face a court order to start "churning" inmates out of prison.
Officials used early release for decades but Gov. Pat Quinn shut it down in 2009 after The Associated Press reported his Corrections Department was releasing inmates just weeks or even days after arrival at state prison.
Now prisons house14,000 more inmates than they were designed to hold.
Online: The bill is SB2621.
Gov. Pat Quinn ended early release in 2009 after The Associated Press reported some inmates were being freed just weeks or even days after they entered prison.
The end of the program contributed to serious crowding. Illinois prisons house 48,000 inmates in space designed for 34,000. And Quinn's budget plan would close two prisons and other correctional facilities.
Sen. Kwame Raoul (KWAH'-may rah-OOL') is sponsoring the bill to spell out conditions for early release. The Chicago Democrat says strong legislative support would give Quinn political cover to resume a release program.
The Senate approved the measure 55-1. A House committee may vote on it today.