The Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) recently reported a reduction in the state’s inmate population of more than 4,200 since fiscal year 2014. The DOC reported a total prison population at 44,680 as of July 1, 2016, down from 48,921 in June 2014.
The Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform was created by Gov. Rauner and charged with identifying a path to reduce the state’s prison population by 25 percent over the next decade. The Commission has identified recommendations to help reduce the inmate population and recidivism rates and help offenders more successfully reintegrate into society. A number of the Commission’s proposals have been signed into law this summer.
Although the inmate population has slowly been decreasing in recent years, judges, state’s attorneys and law enforcement officials will utilize the commission’s recommendations in order to reduce the burden on the state’s court system and correctional facilities, whose resources are stretched thin. According to the Vera Institute of Justice, it costs about $40,000 a year to incarcerate someone in Illinois.
However, the John Howard Association of Illinoi pointed out that even though the population numbers are down, prisons are still overcrowded by almost 12,000 inmates.