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State Senate Committees Take on Prison Reform

Oct 14, 2020

The state Senate Criminal law Committee and Special Committee on Public Safety held a joint hearing Tuesday, calling on experts to provide evidence-based recommendations for enhancing public safety and making prisons more equitable and humane.

One inmate at the United States Penitentiary in Marion has died from COVID-19.

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Some members of the Illinois House Republican Caucus are expressing frustration at  the Department  of Corrections and Governor Pritzker's Office.  In a Zoom video meeting  on Monday, April 27th, 2020, Murphysboro Representative Terri Bryant said her colleagues are wanting the names and criminal histories of the inmates who have been released from prison, over COVID-19 concerns.

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

Marion Federal Prison Inmate Gets More Time

Sep 9, 2019

An inmate serving a 25-year sentence at the Marion federal prison will add 18 more years after being convicted of filing fake bankruptcy petitions against federal prison officials, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Tamms Correctional Center

The Tamms Correctional Center closed in 2013 by then Governor Pat Quinn due to budget cuts.

Representative Terri Bryant introduced a bill that was passed to turn it into a workcamp.

A Marion federal inmate is potentially facing more time behind bars after he was caught trying to smuggle prescription narcotics into prison.

The new director of the Illinois Department of Corrections said during a legislative hearing in Chicago on Monday that the agency plans to revise its policy regarding what books can and cannot enter the prison. 


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.


A bill to repurpose a portion of the shuttered Tamms Correctional Center is moving to the governor's desk.

The bill's sponsor, Murphysboro State Representative Terri Bryant, said the measure creates the Tamms Minimum Security Unit Task Force.


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.

A shuttered southern Illinois prison is infested with mold, dimming area residents' hopes it may someday reopen.

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.


Although Marsha Griffin did not win her race for the 115th Illinois House district seat, she will continue to be an activist.

The Jonesboro woman has been a strong advocate for the re-opening of the Tamms Correctional Center since its closing nearly six years ago.

A federal inmate at the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion is guilty of filing fictitious involuntary bankruptcy petitions.

Fifty-five year old Kurt F. Johnson was convicted for filing the petitions in January against the prison warden and an officer.

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.

A bipartisan group of Illinois legislators has introduced a bill that would reinstate the death penalty for convicted mass murderers and killers of first responders.

Southern Illinois Democratic State Rep. Jerry Costello helped craft the bill. He says the death penalty is the ultimate crime deterrent.

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.

The labor union representing Illinois prison guards says assaults on staff are way up - and state officials aren't doing enough about it.

Roberta Lynch is the head of AFSCME. She says too often, the Department of Corrections only increases staff or repairs equipment AFTER correctional officers are assaulted.

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