Illinois prisons chief: State needs rethinking on drug offenders

CARTERVILLE, Ill. (AP) — The acting director of the Illinois Department of Corrections says Illinois needs to rethink how it handles drug offenders.

Acting agency Director John Baldwin spoke at the 13th annual Southern Illinois Drug Awareness Conference, held at John A. Logan College. Baldwin said Thursday the increase in Illinois' prison population over the past four decades is largely due to a rise in those behind bars for problems related to substance abuse.

The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan reports Baldwin said there should be new policies and laws to turn that trend around.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has directed members of the State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform to come up with a plan to cut the prison population by one-quarter in a decade.