Embattled Illinois prisons chief resigns

Michael P. Randle, director of the Illinois Department of Corrections, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009 in Sterling, Ill. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

September 2, 2010 3:01:51 PM PDT
After months of criticism over a controversial early-release program, the director of Illinois' prisons is stepping down.

Michael Randle resigned on Wednesday to take a job in Ohio. He became a political liability to Governor Pat Quinn with the botched secret prisoner release program, MGT Push, which he oversaw. Quinn said Randle is not leaving because of political pressure and a replacement will be named soon.

"We will have a new director of corrections quickly. We will march on. This happens in government and private life. People come. They go. You replace them with good people," said Quinn.

Gov. Quinn's opponents have called for Randle's resignation since the MGT program-- named for the "meritorious good time"-- released 1700 prisoners early to reduce inmate population. However, the money-saving program allowed some violent offenders to be released and some of them committed new crimes.

Quinn placed most of the blame for the botched MGT on Randle, who said Quinn ordered that violent offenders not be part of the program.

"I hope that director Randle no longer has a gag order on him and will tell us what happened. What is the truth? When did Governor Quinn know about the early release of the violent criminals? Did he approve it? Now that he doesn't work for Governor Quinn, I hope we find out the truth," said State Sen. Kirk Dillard, (R) NAPERVILLE

A A spokeswoman for Republican candidate Bill Brady e-mailed a statement Thursday afternoon, "Michael Randle should have been fired long ago. Allowing the top official responsible for one of Illinois' worst public safety failures to simply depart state government without reprimand shows the Quinn Administration to be a nothing but a revolving door of reckless ineptitude."

After hearing about the Dillard and Brady reactions to the director's resignation, Governor Quinn wrote it off to politics.


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