Illinois lawmakers are considering a plan to reduce prison overcrowding by resuming early release for well-behaved inmates. Gov. Pat Quinn ended early release in 2009 after The Associated Press reported some inmates were being freed just weeks or even days after they entered prison. The end of the program contributed to serious crowding. Illinois prisons house 48,000 inmates in space designed for 34,000. And Quinn's budget plan would close two prisons and other correctional facilities. Sen. Kwame Raoul (KWAH'-may rah-OOL') is sponsoring the bill to spell out conditions for early release. The Chicago Democrat says strong legislative support would give Quinn political cover to resume a release program. The Senate approved the measure 55-1. A House committee may vote on it today.
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