Gov. Pat Quinn's funding proposal for the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) in his state budget has been controversial. A number of lawmakers are angry that while human services are projected for cuts in the next fiscal year, IDOC would see more funding, an increase one budget manager said would pay for more prison guards to help drive overtime costs down.
In an editorial published today, the State-Journal Register flags an IDOC effort to consolidate offender information into a new database called Offender 360. "The department has no single database that compiles information about inmate discipline, educational and vocational program participation, substance abuse, rehabilitation program participation and job performance," the editorial reads. Rolling out a better inmate-tracking program will help determine who should qualify for early release, the newspaper concludes.
And early release is kind of the elephant in the room here. The Meritorous Good Time early release program is currently suspended, swelling the state's prison system, costing taxpayers, and straining resources.
IDOC's effort to better track inmates comes as information management in state government is squarely on the table in Springfield. A February auditor general report (PDF) found the state uses 263 different financial systems for keeping tabs on tax dollars. The systems are antiquated, costly, and are not interrelated.