Reform panel seeks 25 percent drop in prison population

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s prison reform commission is examining ways to reduce the state’s inmate population by 25 percent in 10 years. That’s the goal established for the more than 20-person commission composed of lawmakers and experts from nonprofits, academia and law enforcement during the panel’s first meeting Thursday. The Republican governor says the state needs a corrections system that restores people “to productive lives and protects our families.” He signed an executive order in February compelling the newly-formed panel to provide him by July 1 preliminary options reforming the system in which half of all parolees return within three years. A one-quarter reduction by 2025 would bring the current prison population of about 48,000 down to approximately 36,000. Illinois’ prison system was designed to house about 32,000 inmates.