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Justice, prison reforms rare chance for Illinois compromise

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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to reduce the number of inmates in Illinois’ overcrowded prison system over the next decade. And it’s an area where he’s willing to devote money at a time when he’s urging lawmakers to be prudent with spending in other places.

Reforming the state’s criminal justice system presents the first-term Republican governor with a rare opportunity to find agreement with legislators. Rauner’s first year in office has been defined by a budget stalemate with lawmakers now in its seventh month.

A group convened by Rauner has recommended several reforms, including allowing judge’s more discretion to sentence offenders to parole and improving prison rehabilitation programs.

Rauner told the group this month that programs that reduce recidivism and help inmates acclimate back into society is a worthy investment.