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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
8:57pm
Tue Oct 25, 2016

Local Advocates Push For Bail Reform As Cook County Faces Class-Action Lawsuit

With Cook County facing a lawsuit challenging its bail system, local community groups and attorneys gathered Tuesday to "demand alternatives to monetary bond" to help poor detainees.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:22pm
Wed Oct 19, 2016

Report: Criminal Justice System's Expansion Has Cost Illinois $83 Billion

Expansion of the U.S. criminal justice system over the past three decades has come with a hefty price tag: $3.4 trillion nationwide and $83 billion in Illinois, according to a new report. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:28pm
Fri Aug 26, 2016

Illinois Corrections Department, AFSCME Pointing Fingers On Inmate Assault Of Pontiac Prison Workers

The Illinois Department of Corrections and AFSCME are trading blame over the recent inmate assault against six employees at the Pontiac Correctional Center.

Four correctional officers and two lieutenants were taken to the hospital, and have since been released, after suffering non-life threatening injuries in a Sunday fight with five inmates at the Pontiac maximum-security prison.

IDOC released a statement this week saying the Pontiac incident apparently stemmed from a staff "failure to follow workplace safety procedures already in place."

AFSCME, which represents the prison workers, responded by calling the department's attempt to blame Pontiac employees for the altercation "shameful and baseless."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:13am
Wed Jul 6, 2016

Job Barriers Facing Ex-Prisoners Could Cost U.S. Economy At Least $78 Billion

U.S. economic growth suffers when former prisoners and convicted felons are locked out of the labor market, a new study shows.

Employment barriers faced by former offenders resulted in the estimated loss of 1.7 million to 1.9 million workers in 2014, reducing the overall U.S. employment rate by almost 1 percentage point, according to the report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).

That translates into a $78 billion to $87 billion loss in annual gross domestic product (GDP) for the United States.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:44pm
Tue Apr 26, 2016

Children At Risk: Protections Needed To Improve Welfare Of Youth With Incarcerated Parents

Having a parent in jail or prison can have the same impact on a child's well-being as abuse or domestic violence, according to a new report that is pushing for the expansion of support services to families affected by incarceration.

Children of incarcerated parents face increased risks of financial and emotional instability, the new study, released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, reports.

"Incarceration breaks up families, the building blocks of our communities and nation," reads the study. "It creates an unstable environment for kids that can have lasting effects on their development and well-being."

Some 186,000 kids in Illinois, representing 6 percent of the state's child population, have a parent who has served time behind bars. Nationally, 5 million kids, or 7 percent of the child population, have had a parent in jail or prison during their childhood, according to the research, based on data from 2011 and 2012.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
2:16pm
Thu Feb 18, 2016

Illinois Rep. Cassidy Seeks To Increase Inmate Access To GED Education (VIDEO)

In an effort to reduce recidivism, State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) introduced legislation last week that would increase "timely and comprehensive" access to GED education for Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) inmates.

"I think that the general public would be surprised to hear how little programming is available for the folks that are incarcerated in our facilities," Cassidy said at a news conference at the Howard Area Community Center in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood on the North Side.

Joined by formerly incarcerated men and activists from the ONE Northside Violence Prevention Coalition, Cassidy said the legislation aims to turn the IDOC "into something whose mission is dedicated to the act of making someone better."

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