Mt. Vernon Register-News

State News

January 13, 2010

Dozens back in prison after state parole crackdown

By JOHN O’CONNOR

AP Political Writer

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — More than 100 parolees released from prison early are back behind bars because of an extraordinary crackdown by a Quinn administration stung by denunciations of a secret program that freed 1,700 inmates weeks ahead of time.

The Corrections Department confirmed it has begun “intensive compliance checks” on parolees released under the program known as “MGT Push,” beginning with those who committed violent crimes.

State records reviewed by The Associated Press show that the department has picked up 110 of the parolees in the last ten days, most of them serving sentences for unlawful weapons charges or battery.

They’ve likely gone back to lockup for violating terms of their discharge, but officials will not comment on the reasons or say how many have been apprehended.

The recent spate compares with 57 MGT Push parolees put back in lockup from the time the MGT Push release started, in September, through the end of the year.

All parolees still on the street are being required to follow strict new regulations — far stricter than anything seen before by law enforcement officials familiar with the Illinois’ parole system. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to discuss the regulations publicly.

The new rules require parolees to verify where they are and what they’re doing through daily phone calls to an automated statewide parole system, according to a copy of the form parolees must sign. The form says they must visit a parole office — in some cases, hundreds of miles away — twice a week, and refrain from drinking liquor or having any alcohol at their homes.

One of the law enforcement officials said the rules were unprecedented, adding that routinely, parolees who have committed more heinous crimes have fewer requirements to follow.

Corrections spokeswoman Januari Smith said Wednesday she isn’t certain that all of the MGT Push parolees have to adhere to the strictest of the guidelines, but all face more severe rules than typical.

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