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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Illinois Commission Making Efforts To Reduce Prison Population

flickr user / Michael Coghlan "Prison Bars" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Illinois’ overcrowded prisons could be a big topic of debate in Springfield next year.

Local advocacy groups have been raising alarms for years.

Now, a Washington-based advocacy group says it’s joining the fray.

Jenna Moll is with the U.S. Justice Action Network. She says there are ways to cut prison populations that actually improve public safety … at a lower cost.

“And so what we’ll do is we’ll bring those policies to the attention of Illinois policymakers, show them the benefits that that can have for the state, and then provide them with the other data and research they need to make smart and informed decisions," Moll said.

Governor Bruce Rauner already appointed a criminal justice commission. It’s exploring how Illinois’ prison population can be cut by 25 percent over the next decade.

The group has been meeting for most of 2015. It’s set to release its first round of recommendations at the end of the year.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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