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Daley Backs Opportunities For Inmates

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Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says the criminal justice system must be more responsive to the needs of ex-offenders. Chicago Public Radio’s Gabriel Spitzer reports.

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Daley argued that people getting out of prison need better treatment for substance abuse and mental illness.

And he says the system must prepare offenders for their eventual release. He says judges, for instance, should be able to order criminals to work toward a high school diploma while in prison.

He also took a shot at organized labor for opposing inmate work programs.

DALEY: For many years, the unions complained that you can’t work because you’re taking jobs away from Americans. Well, if you purchase anything, just turn it over and it says made in China. What jobs are you going to be taking away from anyone who can be basically build work habits in an American prison.

The Chicago Federation of Labor declined to respond.

Daley spoke today (Tuesday) at a meeting of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Effective Criminal Sanctions.

The Commission has recommended developing alternatives to prison for some offenders, and restricting public access to criminal records.

I’m Gabriel Spitzer, Chicago Public Radio.

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