Illinois taxpayers sink $1.3 billion into prisons every single year, but in an hour-long interview on WBEZ’s Afternoon Shift last week, Gov. Pat Quinn said he did not have a five-year plan of any sort for the prison system.
“No, I think we probably have to have a one-year plan,” said Quinn. “That’s what the budget is every year, and the state of the state address.”
Several of the candidates looking to replace Quinn also seem to lack plans for the Department of Corrections. For weeks WBEZ has been asking the campaigns of Bill Daley, Bruce Rauner and Sen. Bill Brady for their ideas on prisons. Daley, Rauner and Brady failed to provide any information.
Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford has previously talked about the state needing a five-year plan for corrections just like the state has for roads or infrastructure. Sen. Kirk Dillard says Quinn has exacerbated overcrowding in Illinois prisons by closing facilities while the number of people locked up is at record highs.
On the Afternoon Shift, Quinn said he couldn’t remember the last time he was in an Illinois prison but nonetheless insisted the facilities are not overcrowded despite complaints of overcrowding from inmates, correctional officers and the non-partisan prison watchdog John Howard Association.