Prison

An Amtrak employee has pleaded guilty to a scheme in which he steered thousands of dollars in business from its "Polar Express" train ride to his wife's photo company.

A man exonerated in a killing for which he spent 15 years in prison has reached a $9 million settlement with investigators in northern Illinois.

A man accused in the abduction and killing of a University of Illinois scholar from China is to be arraigned on new charges.

A former worker implicated in the death of a 16-year-old resident of a northern Illinois youth home has reached a plea deal sparing him some prison time.

Advocates for imprisoned women are thanking Gov. Bruce Rauner for signing a law requiring gender-appropriate and informed practices in the Illinois women's prison and parole systems. 

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he spends his time sweeping and mopping floors while serving a federal prison sentence after corruption convictions.

A former Lincoln Lane Community College employee has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for taking almost $700,000 from the college.

The legal team that investigated and prosecuted a former suburban police officer in a murder-for-hire plot is being honored by the Illinois State Crime Commission.

Flickr Creative Commons/David Wilson

A 15-year-old boy has been charged with starting a fire that caused heavy damage to a building at an abandoned prison in northern Illinois.  Joliet police say they received numerous tips via social media linking Monday's fire to two 15-year-old boys, who were at the prison at the time of the fire.

A memo says Illinois prison officials wanted Drew Peterson transferred to a federal prison because the former suburban police officer convicted of killing his third wife and plotting to kill the prosecutor, posed a danger to the prison.

The Illinois Department of Corrections says a man accused in a 2012 Chicago expressway killing was released on parole in an unrelated case because the department wasn't informed he should be held.  The Department of Corrections released Garrett Glover on Friday after he was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison for an attempted armed robbery in 2014. Glover had been in custody since 2014.

Any day now, Governor Bruce Rauner's criminal justice reform commission is expected to release its final set of recommendations. It's trying to figure out how to safely reduce Illinois' prison population by 25% over the next decade.

Flickr Creative Commons/Jim Larrison

Illinois prison officials have moved the last 36 inmates of a Stateville Correctional Center roundhouse that a Chicago watchdog group deemed unfit for humans to live in.  Illinois Department of Corrections officials say the maximum-security F House at Stateville in Crest Hill, which housed 348 male inmates, is closed.

Nathan Forget / Flickr

U.S. prisons are experimenting with a high-priced monthly injection that could help addicted inmates stay off opioids after they are released. It's called Vivitrol. And proponents say it could be effective in the fight against the opioid epidemic affecting 2 million Americans and a portion of the prison population.

Several IDOC Officers Injured in Pontiac Assault

Aug 22, 2016
Google Earth

An Illinois Department of Corrections spokeswoman says six officers have been injured by inmates at the maximum-security prison in Pontiac. IDOC spokeswoman Nicole Wilson said in a brief statement that the correctional officers were treated for injuries that are not life-threatening after the incident Sunday at the Pontiac Correctional Center.

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert was accompanied by one person as he wheeled himself into a Minnesota prison to start serving a sentence for his hush-money case.  Hastert wore a black shirt and camouflage pants as he guided his wheelchair into the complex in Rochester between high, razor-wire fencing. A woman followed him carrying crutches, a plastic bag and a brown box.

Dennis Hastert's attorney says the former U.S. House speaker will report to a federal prison in southeastern Minnesota this week to begin serving a 15-month sentence in his hush-money case.  Washington, D.C.,-based attorney Thomas Green confirmed that the Illinois Republican will report to the Rochester Federal Medical Center. Hastert has a Wednesday afternoon deadline to report.

  A federal judge has approved the settlement in a lawsuit over the treatment of Illinois’ mentally ill prisoners.

Without admitting wrongdoing, Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin says his agency is building four new mental health units, hiring more staff, and changing its policies on solitary confinement.

miskan / Flickr/Creative Commons

Inmates who maintain connections with their families are less likely to return to prison, but the cost of keeping in touch is proving quite high for many. Prison phone call rates are unregulated.

In Illinois, that's resulted in calls totaling over $4 per minute. 

Danielle Chynoweth of Urbana is with the Center for Media Justice, which has worked on this issue nationally. 

"One third of families of the incarcerated went into debt to pay for phone calls and visits alone.  These are people taking out loans to pay their phone calls," she said.

James Cridland / Flickr

 

 

Illinois leaders are seeking to eliminate one big - and stupid - roadblock for ex-prisoners looking to get their life on track. 

Right now it can be really difficult for people leaving prison to get a state ID. 

That makes it next to impossible for them to find housing, treatment and a job, and without those things, it’s likely they will wind up back in prison. 

Jennifer Vollen Katz, with prison watchdog the John Howard Association, says it is ridiculous for the state to force prisoners to prove their identity. 

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The state of Illinois hasn’t had a budget for six months. For many of us, it’s a political debate and not much more. But for some Illinois kids, the budget impasse has meant going to prison instead of going home. Illinois Public Radio’s Patrick Smith reports.

A man who pleaded guilty after being accused of choking his mother in front of his 11-year-old son has started a five-year prison term. 

katerha / Flickr/Creative Commons

CARBONDALE,, Ill. (AP) - A state lawmaker from southern Illinois has introduced legislation to keep operating a minimum-security prison work camp targeted to close as part of a cost-cutting move from shutting down.

 Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois prison officials say that closing the Hardin County Work Camp near Cave-in-Rock by year's end would save the state $1 million annually and avoid the expense of another $9.8 million in repairs. 

Democratic state Rep. Brandon Phelps filed a bill on Nov. 2 that seeks to reverse the Republican governor's decision. 

Sandi Jackson reports to prison

Oct 20, 2015
bettergov.org

The wife of former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. reported to prison this morning to begin serving a one-year sentence.  Former Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson reported to a small minimum-security women’s prison near the town of Alderson in southern West Virginia.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons says former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has officially completed his prison sentence for spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal items.

The State of Illinois is suing a former prisoner for more than 100 thousand dollars to cover the cost of her own incarceration.

Illinois needs a new prison chief

May 26, 2015

Criminal justice advocates say Illinois’ next prison chief needs to be dedicated to reducing the prison population.

Ready for Change

At a recent prayer service in Thomson, longtime resident Arlene Eslinger says she has a lot on her heart these days. She says residents are getting older. People want change, but Eslinger fears Thomson isn’t prepared for an influx of prison workers and their families.

An Illinois prison inmate has been ordered to remain locked up the rest of his life. He asked to be re-sentenced when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled mandatory life sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional. 

Worst youth prison getting worse

Mar 26, 2015
Peoria Public Radio

Experts say Illinois’ most troubled youth prison isn’t getting any better despite repeated assurances from state officials. 

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