(The Center Square) – One state lawmaker is stepping up his demand that the Pritzker administration release more information about inmates released early from prison.
The Governor has been asked at least twice recently at his daily news conference about his COVID-19 medical furlough program, but shared few details. State Rep. John Cabello, R-Machesney Park, said he finds it hard to believe the governor couldn’t be more specific in his response.
“Either he is that incompetent to not know what he is signing or he's lying,” Cabello said. “It's one or the other. And I don't think for one second when he was up in that press conference that he was telling the truth.”
In response to a question, Pritzker claimed to have been unaware of the number of inmates released since the start of March, which totals around 4,000. Cabello said the governor must be aware of more details.
“I call B.S. because this governor knows exactly how many murderers he has released because he had to be the one to sign the paperwork,” Cabello said. “He commuted many of their sentences, so he is the only one that could sign that paperwork.”
Some of those released in the past two months simply reached the end of their sentence, through Pritzker has estimated around 1,300 fell under his furlough program or his pardon and commutation power. Cabello said the governor’s actions send a concerning message.
“What this administration is signaling to the taxpayers of this state is that he is more worried about criminals than he is about you,” Cabello said. “You must stay in your home, but those criminals are being let out of prison. It makes absolutely no sense to me and I think it's pretty disgusting.”
Cabello said he wants more details from the administration as to why certain inmates, including some with violent offenses, have been chosen for an early release.
“[The IDOC list] includes 64 murderers,” Cabello said. “And in some cases, the Governor didn’t even have the common decency to notify the victim’s family that their loved one’s murdered was getting released early, which by law he has to.”
Winnebago County State’s Attorney Marilyn Hite Ross confirmed her office was not properly notified about the early release of inmates. She said in a statement that a lack of information “hinders my ability to notify victims and family members in a timely manner.”