Your NPR news source

When Did Quinn Learn About Prison Release Policy?

SHARE When Did Quinn Learn About Prison Release Policy?
When Did Quinn Learn About Prison Release Policy?

Gov. Pat Quinn took questions from reporters Monday after speaking to the City Club of Chicago. (WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is refusing to say if he knew about a controversial program to release some prisoners early. Quinn halted the program after the Associated Press found some prisoners convicted of violent crimes served less than three weeks in prison.

Quinn has ordered his staff to conduct a “top to bottom” review of the program. It allowed the state corrections department to award prisoners time off for good conduct, even though they’d just started serving their sentences. Asked repeatedly by reporters Monday if he knew the program existed before seeing the AP report, the governor would not offer a direct answer.

QUINN: Here’s what I told the director of corrections: I told him public safety comes first at all times. He has a lot of discretion under the law to run the corrections system. If there are any questions at any time about public safety, what we do is we stop, we review it, we make sure it’s a comprehensive review.

Quinn defended his director of corrections, Michael Randle, who he says has a very difficult job of getting “budget savings while at the same time...protect[ing] the public safety.”

The Latest