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Prisons

One out of every 20 children in Illinois has had a parent in jail or prison, according to a new report released Wednesday from a task force that members hope will ease challenges those children face. 

Prison bars
MICHAEL COGHLAN / FLICKR

The Illinois Department of Corrections had adopted its first standardized policy for inmates held in segregation, with a focus on limiting the number of prisoners removed from general population for years at a time.

Appellate Court: Pritzker Has Authority To Set Inmate Transfer Protocols

Aug 26, 2020
Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey
Capitol News Illinois file photo

A state appellate court has temporarily halted a Logan County court order that required state prisons to accept inmates from county jails.

Ashoor Rasho has spent more than half of his life alone in a prison cell—22 to 24 hours a day. The cell was so narrow he could reach his arms out and touch both walls at once.

Facebook / Governor's Office

Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed legislation to change the climate for women in Illinois prisons.

Seth Perlman / The Associated Press

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

Staff / WGLT

A Pontiac Correctional Center Officer says mainstreaming prisoners who belong in solitary confinement has created an extremely violent atmosphere inside the prison.

According to prison worker union data, there were 247 inmate assaults on staff at Pontiac during 2016.

Jim Larrison / Flickr

Gov. Bruce Rauner is ordering a former youth prison be re-opened as a center designed to reduce recidivism in an ongoing plan to reform criminal justice in Illinois.

The Republican announced Friday that the closed youth center in Murphysboro will be renovated as a "life skills and re-entry facility." It will be a minimum-security prison focused on helping offenders live successfully outside of prison.

Inmates will receive educational, vocational and life-skills training. Rauner says Illinoisans "believe in second chances."

Pontiac Prison Employees Protest Work Conditions

Aug 26, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

People honked their horns to show their support as they passed a demonstration in front of the Pontiac Correctional Center. Organizers estimated that more than 100 protesters, including people from around the state and members of AFSCME Local 494, held up signs and shouted demands for increased safety and input on policies and procedures.

prison cell
Miss_millions / Creative Commons

Illinois prisons officials say six employees who were assaulted by five inmates have been released from the hospital.

Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman Nicole Wilson says the workers suffered non-life threatening injuries in the incident yesterday at Pontiac Correctional Center.

Jim Larrison

Studies show prisoners who stay connected with their families have lower recidivism. 

Yet, the cost of keeping in touch is proving quite high for many.  Prison phone call rates are unregulated.  In Illinois, that's resulted in some hefty bills.  Danielle Chynoweth of Urbana is with the Center for Media Justice, which has worked on this issue nationally.  

"One third of families of the incarcerated went into debt to pay for phone calls and visits alone.  These are people taking out loans to pay their phone calls," Chynoweth said.

A federal judge has granted class-action status to a lawsuit brought by deaf inmates alleging the Illinois Department of Corrections violates their civil rights. The complaint, first filed in 2011, claims deaf and partially deaf prisoners have limited access to sign language interpreters, hearing aids and other accommodations. Attorneys say the result is exclusion because the prisoners can't communicate. That means effectively missing religious services, court-mandated classes, medical visits and in some cases, emergency evacuations.