More Illinois Parolees, Less Resources Available

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Illinois parolees, Chicago Criminal Defense AttorneyThis past February, the state of Illinois joined a nationwide movement aimed at reducing prison populations, saving states millions of dollars, and rehabilitating inmates. Lawmakers across the country have long argued for prison reform, citing safer prisons, rehabilitating productive members of society, and serious financial savings as the major benefits. Currently, the state of Illinois has over 28,000 parolees—a number that has risen 14 percent over the past four years.

With the number of parolees expected to continue growing, state officials are worried about a serious lack of resources necessary to help rehabilitate recently released inmates.

The state’s governor set a goal of cutting the number of inmates in Illinois by one-fourth over the next 10 years. In a recent budget address, the governor spoke on the state’s prison reform:

“By reforming our criminal justice system, we can make our prisons safer, rehabilitate ex-offenders so they become productive members of society and save many tens of millions of dollars.”

For the reform to work, programs needed to be put in place to help recently released inmates transition back into productive members of society. State officials have reported that 48 percent of released inmates in Illinois return back to prison within three years. Cutting prison populations across the state could only work if inmates remained out of prison.

To ensure a smooth transition for inmates, Illinois set aside funding for programs like transitional housing, access to food and clothing, substance abuse treatment, and job training. Researchers say that inmates are less likely to return back to criminal habits if they are provided for when they are first released. Recently, however, a serious lack of funding threatens to slow the success of rehabilitation programs statewide.

Over the past two fiscal years, Illinois has spent more than $120 million to fund these types of programs. Since July 1, 2015, the start of a new fiscal year, spending on inmate rehabilitation programs has dropped to less than $500,000. A majority of the problem is due to Illinois lawmakers being unable to agree on the state’s budget. Providers of these kinds of programs across the state report feeling the strain of a severely limited budget, and hope Illinois lawmakers can set aside their differences soon. Program leaders say many of their staff have switched to working as volunteers and they worry about how they will be able to help a growing number of parolees as their resources dwindle. Unfortunately, the problem will likely continue until Illinois lawmakers can agree on a state budget.

If you are facing criminal charges, a qualified Chicago criminal defense attorney is available to assist you today. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney are capable of handling even the most serious criminal cases. Contact us at 312-629-0669 to schedule your consultation.


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