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The cost of returning released inmates home

ILLINOIS -- The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) is paying for released inmates to get home.
ILLINOIS -- The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) is paying for released inmates to get home. WCIA-3's Kelsey Gibbs keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

IDOC says it's required by law to provide transportation for its released inmates and this is how it's been operating for years.

"The department is obligated to provide transportation for released inmates who do not have transportation of their own."

IDOC spends thousands of dollars in release efforts for inmates.

"We spend approximately $600,000 in a give year for released inmate transportation and the fee that they receive."

IDOC spokesperson Tom Shaer says the corrections department pays for the cost of transportation and other needs.

"We limit that to bus or train, the lowest cost. If a bus or train are going to the same location, but one is cheaper, we go with the lowest cost and we give them $10 transportation money."

Shaer says this method is cheaper and safer.

"It's something that we think is necessary for the public safety. You don't want an inmate who has done nothing wrong who doesn't have transportation."

The money to purchase tickets and gate money comes out of IDOC's budget, but Shaer says it's the cheapest way to get them home.

"If we were to transport, in a Department of Corrections vehicle, every discharged or paroled offender, the cost would be enormous. It would be astronomical. It would be somewhere around six-to-ten times higher than we currently spend."

About half the inmates do not live near the prison they are housed in so they rely on transportation from IDOC once they're released.
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