IDOC

"Electronic Stethescope" By Flickr User Ted Eytan / (CC BY 2.0)

Gov. Bruce Rauner has rescinded his notice to lay off 124 unionized nurses at the Illinois Department of Corrections and move the jobs to a private contractor.

State Rep. Tim Butler of Springfield says it was he and six other Republicans who got the governor to return to the bargaining table.

“I think it’s best for those nurses in that situation that they continue to be state employees,” Butler said. "I mean that’s what we’re advocating for."

Flickr user Tim (Timothy) Pearce / "Prison cell with bed inside Alcatraz main building san francisco california" (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois Department of Corrections says the state’s prison population dropped by 9 percent this past year.

That’s a good start toward Governor Bruce Rauner’s goal of a 25 percent reduction by 2025.

But Jennifer Vollen-Katz, with prison watchdog the John Howard Association, says the hard part is still to come.

“The 9 percent reduction is great, but the next 16 percent is going to be difficult,” she says. “We are really going to have to confront some things that are much more political and more divisive, like truth in sentencing and mandatory minimums.”

"Prison Bars" by Flickr User Michael Coghlan / (CC X 2.0)

Most of the Illinois Department of Corrections workers have completed mental-illness training as part of  a settlement over how prisons treat inmates with mental health disorders.

State Prison Director John Baldwin says the training will make working in prison safer. 

"Seventy-eight percent of all assaults on staff across the United States are committed by an offender with an identified behavioral health issue," he said.  

flickr user / Michael Coghlan "Prison Bars" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Illinois prison officials have moved the last 36 inmates of a Stateville Correctional Center roundhouse that a Chicago-based watchdog group deemed unfit for humans to live in.

Illinois Department of Corrections officials say the maximum-security F House at Stateville in Crest Hill, which housed 348 male inmates, is closed.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports no other U.S. prison has kept roundhouses in which jail cells circle a watchtower in the middle of the building.

flickr user / Michael Coghlan "Prison Bars" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Illinois Department of Corrections' director says staff at the major women's prison needs training on how to work with female inmates.

John Baldwin responded to a federally funded study of Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln released Friday that found women there are treated more harshly than men and end up spending more time behind bars than necessary.

Most women inmates were put together at Logan in a 2013 consolidation the report found ``chaotic.'' In a statement Friday, Baldwin says poor planning by a former administration ``was a setup for failure.''

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