Illinois prisons

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

Advocates say the treatment of Illinois prisoners with mental illness is so bad that the prison system is in a “state of emergency.” They’re asking a federal judge to intervene.

More than a year ago, the Illinois Department of Corrections agreed that it needed to improve its treatment of prisoners with mental illness. It settled a decade-old court case, but lawyers for the prisoners say the state isn’t improving quickly enough.

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

A newly-released report says psychiatric care in Illinois state prisons is “exceedingly poor and often...dangerous.”

 

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

A new law will allow people leaving Illinois prisons to get a copy of their birth certificate for free.

The measure is meant to make it easier for former prisoners to get a state ID, which is necessary to apply for jobs and housing. Former inmate David Ikonomopoulos says his driver’s license never made it from the police department that arrested him to the state prison where he served his sentence.

The Illinois Senate passed legislation that would block a plan to privatize more than 120 nursing jobs in state prisons.

Governor Bruce Rauner says his plan would save 8 million dollars per year. Private companies, in his view, can do the same work for cheaper. However, Democrats say that’s because private companies don’t pay their workers well. Four Republican senators, including Sam McCann from Plainview, agreed.

“Why can’t we be for working people?" he said. "Why would we let these nurses go, then hire them back the next day...for less.”

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

More than 100 nurses at Illinois prisons have received layoff notices telling them their jobs are being privatized.

The Associated Press obtained a letter Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration sent to Alice Johnson, executive director for the Illinois Nurses Association. It says the state will hire contract nurses and that the unionized nurses will be laid off June 15.

Johnson told the AP the layoffs are an attempt to ``bully and intimidate'' the nurses in retaliation for rejecting a contract agreement last year.

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