Prisons

Lawyers are asking a federal judge to hold the state of Illinois in contempt over the way it deals with mental illness in prisons.

 

When she found out that staff at the Danville Correctional Center had removed more than 200 books from a library inside the prison’s education wing, Rebecca Ginsburg said she felt a pit in her stomach.

 


Johnny Page saw something as a child that no young person should ever see.

“I witnessed my cousin being killed when I was maybe six, seven-years-old,” he said. Page said he was traumatized by the experience. He said he was overcome by a need to protect his family and friends. He became a fighter.  

Stateville Calling is a documentary about parole reform and its effect on aging prisoners.

The film follows 84-year-old activist Bill Ryan as he works to pass legislation reinstating parole in Illinois, which the state hasn’t had since 1978.

Screenings are taking place around the state. Reporter Dana Vollmer talked with Director Ben Kolak and Producer Yana Kunichoff ahead of a March 26 screening in Springfield.

Earlier this year, I reported for Illinois Newsroom that the Illinois Department of Corrections spent less than $300 on books for its educational programs across more than two dozen state prisons last year. I also reported that figure represents a dramatic decrease in spending since the early 2000s when IDOC was spending roughly three-quarters of a million dollars per year on books in prisons.

A new report suggests a third of the deaths in Illinois prisons are preventable.

A new report is trying to calculate a more realistic tally of what crime costs in Illinois.

Governor Bruce Rauner has vetoed legislation intended to prevent wrongful convictions.

U Of I Students Design Virtual Reality For Incarcerated People

Jul 12, 2018

Simple, everyday tasks  – like ordering coffee, crossing the street, or getting gas – can be an obstacle, or an intimidating challenge for people recently released from prison. This is especially true for people who have spent many years behind bars.


Every Sunday, a group of women meets in the basement of a church in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood to sort and package boxes of books. The boxes are sent to women in prisons in Illinois and beyond the state’s borders. In total, the group, Chicago Books to Women in Prison (BWP), has sent nearly 20,000 books to incarcerated women in the last five years, and tens of thousands since the organization was founded in 2002.


Advocates for youth are urging Illinois to end the incarceration of young people in large facilities. They say these settings do not address their needs and safety concerns.

The Illinois budget crisis could be driving inmates to drink, a prisons official said Tuesday.

Corey Knop told lawmakers he's seen more bootleg alcohol at the prison in Sumner than at any time in his nearly two decades with the Department of Corrections.

State of Illinois

A former Illinois correctional officer received a four-month prison sentence for choking, punching and kneeing a handcuffed prisoner in 2016.

A judge has given the green light to a class action lawsuit against Illinois’ prison healthcare system.

  A federal judge has approved the settlement in a lawsuit over the treatment of Illinois’ mentally ill prisoners.

Without admitting wrongdoing, Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin says his agency is building four new mental health units, hiring more staff, and changing its policies on solitary confinement.

People
Illinois Information Service

A change in state policy aims to help more offenders get a job when they get out of prison.

A new joint investigation finds that more than 80 percent of federal inmates in so-called solitary confinement are actually forced to share a cell with another, often violent, inmate. Marshall Project reporter Christie Thompson and NPR’s Joe Shapiro speak to Here & Now’s Peter O’Dowd about the conditions and the sometimes lethal repercussions.

Illinois could finally reckon with its dramatically overcrowded prisons in 2016.

The entire system is at 146 percent of the capacity it was designed to hold, but that number doesn’t tell the whole story. Some individual prisons — such as East Moline, Illinois River and Lincoln — are above 200 percent of the rated capacity.

Prison Overcrowding
WJBC

New state data show that the number of people incarcerated in Illinois prisons has fallen in recent years but facilities still remain overcrowded.

Illinois prisons are crowded - handling about 17,000 more inmates then they were built for. Now a watchdog group says the state is at a turning point - and needs leadership from whoever is sworn in as governor in January.

Two federal judges may visit a southern Illinois prison as they work on a class-action lawsuit that inmates brought about overcrowding, according to court documents.

IDOC

State Corrections officials say a prisoner who assaulted  a guard at the Shawnee Correctional Center in Vienna has been transferred to a maximum-security facility.

State of Illinois

A prisoner involved in a weekend altercation with guards at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center is a former Tamms Supermax inmate.

Reopen Tamms Correctional Ceneter

A Union County woman is leading the charge to convince state leaders to reopen the Tamms Correctional Center.

IDOC

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn insists the state prison system is NOT overcrowded.

Five Illinois prisons have been locked down in the past week because of a spike in violence.

Prison Overcrowding
WJBC

The John Howard Association, a prison watchdog group, says too few inmates at Pontiac Correctional Center qualify for programs meant to prepare them to return to society.

Prison Overcrowding
WJBC

The Illinois Department of Corrections has freed 120 inmates as part of a new early-release program. But the director of the department says letting more inmates out is not the answer to overcrowding in prisons.

Illinois prisons are really crowded. They've got a rated capacity of about 34,000 inmates, but have routinely been housing more than 49,000.  That's in part because of a scandal tied to an early-release program a few years ago.  Now there's a new program in which inmates can earn time off their sentences based on their behavior and potential for rehabilitation.

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