It is estimated the plan will save $5 million, but $2 million of that will be eaten up in monitoring those released.
Quinn says the early release is the right thing to do, but others worry the state will not execute the plan well.
"We have a careful program. They're non-violent offenders who haven't committed crimes against persons in any way. They are coming to the end of their sentence to begin with, and we have to deal with the fiscal realititis of Illinois," said the governor.
"The devil's always in the details. Are they really gonna get the non-violent offenders? How do we know the people they let out didn't plea bargain to some other lower charge and they committed a more serious crime" said Jennifer Bishop Jenkins of IllinoisVictims.org.
Gov. Pat Quinn also intends to lay off about 1,000 prison employees.