Illinois prisons

WUIS

Members of the Illinois House Friday voted 65 to 37 to set a floor for the number of state employees providing health care in state prisons.  

Representative Greg Harris -- a Chicago Democrat -- says Illinois can't afford to reduce what is already inadequate health care.

"There have been numerous lawsuits and some class action cases regarding both physical and behavioral health for the Dept. of Corrections," Harris said.

The state prison system is opposed.

Illinois contracts with a private company – Wexford -- to provide health care to prisoners.

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

A pair of Illinois lawmaker are trying to stop the state from suing former prisoners to to pay for their own incarceration.

Right now, the state of Illinois sues about 10 former inmates a year.

CASSIDY: It’s morally repugnant, it’s just, it’s wrong.

State Representative Kelly Cassidy is sponsoring a new bill to prohibit the Illinois Department of Corrections from trying to get money from former inmates.

CASSIDY: It’s also counterproductive. We know any barrier to re-entry is a path to recidivism.

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

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to reduce the state's prison population by 25 percent in the next ten years.  

But the state's budget impasse is putting ex-offenders at greater risk of returning to prison.

Adult Redeploy Illinois saves taxpayers money by paying local governments to provide services that keep people out of prison. But one county's program has shut down, and more may follow.

Latanya Hill ran the now-shuttered program in Kane County for defendants with histories of violating their probation.  

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

Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to reduce the number of inmates in Illinois' overcrowded prison system over the next decade.

And it's an area where he's willing to devote money at a time when he's urging lawmakers to be prudent with spending in other places.

Reforming the state's criminal justice system presents the first-term Republican governor with a rare opportunity to find agreement with legislators.

Rauner's first year in office has been defined by a budget stalemate with lawmakers now in its seventh month.

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

Illinois’ overcrowded prisons could be a big topic of debate in Springfield next year.

Local advocacy groups have been raising alarms for years.

Now, a Washington-based advocacy group says it’s joining the fray.

Jenna Moll is with the U.S. Justice Action Network. She says there are ways to cut prison populations that actually improve public safety … at a lower cost.

The State of State Prisons

Dec 17, 2012

A couple weeks ago reporters got a look at conditions inside the Vienna state prison in Southern Illinois. In preparation for the scrutiny, prison administrators had been busy fixing the place up-- cleaning, painting, and repairing windows.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Two Illinois prisons targeted for closure will stay open for at least another month. An arbitrator ruled today that Governor Pat Quinn and his administration violated the rights of union workers by rushing the process.

Illinois prison workers concerned about safety

Jul 9, 2012

The workers say they're worried about a recent spike in violent incidents at state penitentiaries. State officials downplay any possible link between the spike and the governor's plan to close prisons.