Packed prisons have been a problem in Illinois for decades, but experts say the problem has gotten worse in the last few years.Illinois is about 17,000 inmates over capacity, according to WSIL-TV.
"Since Governor Quinn suspended meritorious good time in late 2009, the prison population has grown by almost 4-thousand inmates," says John Maki, the Executive Director of the John Howard Association.
It was common practice to give lower risk prisoners early release for good behavior. But the program was halted after an inmate let out early murdered a woman shortly after his release. Governor Quinn abolished the death penalty in Illinois but saw nothing wrong with hording offenders in understaffed overly crowded correctional facilities.
Maki told WSIL-TV overcrowded prisons are housing inmates in improper conditions, like gymnasiums and dormitory cells with broken windows that allow rodents and birds to fly in. He says that doesn't help rehabilitate the 95% of inmates who return to society.
Maki says overcrowded prisons can be very dangerous for staff. As of August, Big Muddy Prison had a 28 to 1 inmate to staff ratio, while Pinckneyville had 25 to 1. Experts say a safe ratio is more like 12 to 1.
To read more: http://www.wsiltv.com/news/local/Legislature-To-Tackle-Prison-Overcrowding-137927788.html