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State Hopes To Move More Non-Violent Offenders From Prison

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CHICAGO (AP) — State officials on Sunday announced $7 million more toward efforts to move non-violent incarcerated offenders into community-based programs.

The 18 grants are going to 34 counties through Adult Redeploy Illinois, a program run by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, according to a news release on Sunday.

“Community-based programs are more cost-effective and produce better results in rehabilitating non-violent offenders,” Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement. “Everyone benefits when we can help offenders turn their lives around and become productive members of society without filling up our prisons.”

Quinn’s office says that since 2011, the program has diverted more than 1,000 non-violent offenders. State officials estimate in 2012 that the sites spent $4,400 per person versus approximately $21,500 per capita in incarceration costs.

Among those getting the most money are $1.5 million for the Cook County Justice Advisory Council, more than $640,000 for Winnebago County Circuit Court and more than $380,000 for the St. Clair County Probation Department.

A Quinn spokesman said Sunday that the money comes from the state’s general revenue fund.

A version of the program targeting juveniles was started in 2004. The idea was to help inmates turn away from crime while saving money.

Earlier this year, Quinn closed two major prisons to save money, something that an employees union tried to oppose with a lawsuit. Unions and prison employees fear unsafe working conditions. They claim the prisons are overcrowded, something state officials dispute.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

 

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