SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – The reopening of Sheridan Correctional Center highlights Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s fiscal year 2004 budget for the Department of Corrections. The proposed budget calls for a General Revenue Fund allocation of $1.283 billion.
The FY04 budget, up from FY03’s $1.206 billion, includes $23.8 million, to reopen the Sheridan facility in January 2004.
In his March 12, 2003, State of the State Address, Blagojevich stressed the importance of “getting back to basics” by focusing on making Illinois communities safer places to live.
“Sheridan Correctional Center will reopen as a national model institution aimed at deterring drug crime by serving as a substance abuse treatment facility for inmates,” Blagojevich said. “We need to lead the nation in drug crime prevention. Drug addicts who return to the streets from prison and continue their former habits find new victims and commit new crimes. Reopening Sheridan in this capacity will reduce drug crime and make our streets safer.”
The department’s budget also allocates $6 million to parole expansion, including 60 new parole agents and four additional parole supervisors. The expansion will help to support the governor’s newly launched program, “Operation Spotlight,” by tightening parole supervision.
Also reflected in the general revenue allocation is a $16 million reduction in administrative costs. The decrease is realized by not filling vacant administrative positions that are determined not to compromise public safety. The number of DOC staff will be down more than 1,270 to 14,992 next year, while the authorized number of correctional officers will be 8,400, about 550 less than the current fiscal year.
“Balancing the budget is challenging, but our goal is to move forward on issues and make progress,” Blagojevich said. “By working together, these changes will help us accomplish our goals.”