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.

Illinois Prisons Still Overcrowded Despite Prisoner Decrease

Jul 27, 2015
Flickr user miss_millions / " Prison cells" (CC v 2.0)

New state data show that the number of people incarcerated in Illinois prisons has fallen in recent years but facilities still remain overcrowded.

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports that the most recent report on Illinois Department of Corrections facilities shows the agency held 47,483 inmates in May 2015. That's the lowest since May 2010 when the department reported 47,150 inmates behind bars.

The peak was in January 2013 with 49,321 inmates.

The state prison system's facilities are designed to house 32,000 prisoners.

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

The new director of Illinois prisons says union contracts are the source of many problems within the state Department of Corrections. 

Prisons chief Donald Stolworthy wrote in a memo to Gov. Bruce Rauner that union contracts contribute to “many of the ills within the system.” That includes personnel costs and management qualifications. 

In documents, Stolworthy says overtime costs skyrocketed in recent years. Union spokesman Anders Lindall says overtime problems result from a lack of staff.

AFSCME says it will continue its legal battle to keep several Illinois prisons open. This comes after the Illinois Supreme Court sided with Governor Pat Quinn's effort to close what he says are under-used, expensive facilities.

Reporters Tour Illinois Prison

Dec 3, 2012
IDOC

A two-hour tour of the Vienna Correctional Center  offered journalists a glimpse at the minimum security facility. Governor Pat Quinn in August argued state prisons were off limits to the news media because of a security risk. But in October he abandoned that effort.

Pages