If Gov. Pat Quinn won’t give complete answers to questions about an early release program that released violent criminals from prison early, the General Assembly should use its subpoena power to compel Quinn and members of his administration to respond.

If Gov. Pat Quinn won’t give complete answers to questions about an early release program that released violent criminals from prison early, the General Assembly should use its subpoena power to compel Quinn and members of his administration to respond.


The burgeoning scandal over the MGT (meritorious good time) Push program, which dropped a requirement for inmates to serve at least 61 days and gave them credit for good behavior before they had exhibited any, threatens to cripple Quinn’s prospects for holding onto the governorship.


We had hoped Quinn quickly would give a full accounting of when and what he knew after The Associated Press broke the story in December.


But the governor’s conflicting explanations about when he was first told about it, his blaming of Illinois Department of Corrections Director Michael Randle for the debacle but not firing him and his false claim that Randle told us about the program only raise more questions:


_Quinn needs to provide a complete timeline of the program and any interactions between himself, his office and IDOC. The governor, at a news conference a week ago, spoke in generalities, saying that he spoke with Randle about early release “on several occasions” since May.


What specifically did Quinn tell Randle? What was Randle’s response? Who else at IDOC was involved in developing the program?


_In Quinn’s public statements, he seemed to know about MGT Push before he didn’t know about it. A Dec. 15 news release claimed that the AP’s report that the program was secret was erroneous and that Randle had briefed us on the plan. At the end of December, Quinn said he didn’t know about MGT Push until he read the AP story. At the news conference, Quinn made the incredible claim that he hadn’t changed his story.


_Quinn told the Arlington Heights Daily Herald recently that he “repeatedly” instructed Randle not to release violent offenders as part of any early release program. According to Quinn, Randle disobeyed that order. Moreover, in his meeting with us that described a different state early release program, Randle emphasized repeatedly that no violent offenders would be released.


The governor says he did not fire Randle because the IDOC director acknowledged his mistake. Given its magnitude, how can the people of Illinois be confident that Quinn will hold anybody accountable?


Fifty-six inmates released early under MGT Push went back to prison for parole violations, including 17 who allegedly committed violent crimes, including attempted murder. This was a program that put Illinoisans’ safety at risk. It’s time for the governor to give complete answers.


State Journal-Register