Freed gang member back in prison

BY FRANK MAIN (Chicago Sun)
January 15, 2010


A west suburban gang member convicted of murder conspiracy but quietly set free early in a budget-cutting early-release program has been returned to prison for a parole violation.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported last week that Michael Rodriguez, 36, was among more than 1,700 Illinois prison inmates released by Gov. Quinn’s administration late last year. Rodriguez had been convicted in 2007 on charges in a 1990 gang-related murder.

Quinn has scrapped the early-release program, calling it a “mistake.”

Rodriguez was returned to prison Wednesday to serve the rest of his term, which is due to be completed Dec. 8, 2011, records show.

He committed a “technical parole violation,” Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Januari Smith said. Smith would not elaborate except to say Rodriguez is not accused of committing a new crime.

Last month, the Department of Corrections announced that more than 50 inmates in the early-release program had been returned to prison for new crimes or for violating conditions of parole. Smith could not provide an updated figure Thursday.

In 2007, Rodriguez was one of nearly three dozen Latin Kings gang members charged in connection with 22 killings in the Aurora area. He was convicted of murder conspiracy in the 1990 slaying of Albert Gonzalez, 19.

He previously had been convicted of other violent, unrelated crimes, including aggravated robbery, records show.

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