Illinois Department of Corrections

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.


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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.

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.

The Illinois Department of Corrections is launching its first “Life Skills Reentry Center” in Kewanee.

It aims to teach a variety of skills to prisoners during the final years of their sentence.  Then, officials hope, they will be less likely to commit another crime upon release.  Example topics include cognitive behavioral therapy, sending e-mails, and making a personal budget.  

Warden Tony Williams says such skills may be things inmates haven't necessarily been exposed to due to their incarceration.

IDOC

The Illinois Department of Corrections has agreed to pay $450,000 to a man who says prison officials punished and humiliated him after he reported his cellmate raped him.

The man's attorneys announced the settlement of his federal lawsuit Friday.

He was imprisoned for eight months for a minor drug offense, and was housed in a cell at the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln with a gang member serving 22 years for armed robbery.

The lawsuit says his cellmate raped him in August 2011.

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