Over the past year, Illinois citizens have read and heard troubling stories about a program providing men and women “early release” from state prisons. Reporters and commentators have written sensational accounts of a “secret” program by which the Department of Corrections “shaved” the sentences of dangerous and violent prisoners. Candidates for offices have ether attacked the program – called MGT (Meritorious Good Time) and MGT-Push — or disowned it.
Nearly all of the charges against the program are false.

Contrary to media reports, MGT-Push has not been responsible for a single illegal or premature release of dangerous criminals or for the commission of additional violent crime. MGT-Push did not cut prison sentences by months or years. It did not add to the public risk or endanger public safety. And it was not “secret.”

But the controversy over MGT-Push has had harmful effects. It has resulted in ill-advised legislative and Administration decisions including some that may actually increase risks to public safety. In addition, the MGT controversy and the decisions it spawned have resulted in a sharp and sudden increase in the prison population that will overburden corrections and cost the state millions.

The purpose of this report is simply to set the record straight concerning MGT. Subsequent reports will consider the impact of decisions curtailing MGT on the future of corrections in Illinois.

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