If this is true, this is ridiculous and a very low-hanging fruit for saving money.
(Thanks to Rich Miller and particularly the poster Yellow Dog Democrat, for posting this tidbit here in the fifth comment. I'll just copy his post)
As I've pointed out elsewhere, roughly 13,000 of the inmates currently in Illinois prisons are serving time for non-violent, Class 4 felony drug possession. Not drug dealing, drug possession.
Is this a good use of taxpayer dollars, at a time when the waiting line for getting into a drug treatment program on the outside is six months? I don't think so.
If the poster is correct, we are wasting a ton of money. I understand the cost per inmate is in the neighborhood of $20,000 annually (plus or minus 5 grand). So, some quick math., 13,000 inmates times $20,000 each is $260 million.
Let's say we can put them into drug rehab for half that. That's $130 million annual savings. That sure helps close the structural deficit.
That would be a great bill to work on. I wonder who would lobby for that?