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CREDIT "PRISON BARS" BY FLICKR USER MICHAEL COGHLAN / (CC X 2.0)

A federal judge has ruled the Illinois prison system is still providing inadequate mental healthcare to inmates and that the treatment qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment.

The ruling comes after attorneys representing inmates filed a claim last year with the court that the department was not following through on a settlement reached in 2016 to overhaul mental health treatment in Illinois prisons.

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The Illinois Department of Corrections says a major cash crunch has it struggling to keep its facilities running.

The warning came Wednesday at a Senate budget hearing. But some Democratic lawmakers say that was the first time they were hearing the situation was so dire.

On a summer day in 2016, state prison officials were on the brink of a crisis at Western Illinois Correctional Center.

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

The measure Rauner signed Tuesday at Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln creates a women's division in the Illinois Department of Corrections with tailored programs and services.

A 2016 study encouraged Corrections' development of what Springfield Republican Rep. Tim Butler called Friday policies based on "gender-informed ... and trauma-informed decisions."

The labor union representing Illinois prison workers and the Illinois Department of Corrections agree that assaults on staff have increased in recent years.

DOC counted a 27 percent increase over fiscal years — 566 in the year that ended June 30, 2015, to 761 in the year that ended last June 30. AFSCME projected 819 assaults in calendar year 2017, based on year-to-date data, up from 541 in 2015.

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 Bruce Rauner has rescinded his notice to lay off 124 unionized nurses at the Illinois Department of Corrections and move the jobs to a private contractor.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

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