WBEZ | Department of corrections http://www.wbez.org/tags/department-corrections-0 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Prisoners sue Illinois Department of Corrections over solitary confinement http://www.wbez.org/news/prisoners-sue-illinois-department-corrections-over-solitary-confinement-112241 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Solitary.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday alleges that the Illinois Department of Corrections misuse of solitary confinement is &ldquo;cruel, inhumane [and] offensive to basic human decency.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We send people to solitary for far too long, for far too little,&rdquo; said Alan Mills, an attorney on the case.</p><p>Mills said people can be put in solitary confinement for minor infractions, like rolling their eyes at a guard.</p><p>&ldquo;No one I know has come out of long term isolation without being severely mentally injured,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Brian Nelson said he spent 23 years in solitary confinement.</p><p>&ldquo;I paced 18 hours everyday and they had to cut blood blisters off my feet,&quot; Nelson said. Consider an animal in the zoo, we don&rsquo;t put them in an environment like that.&rdquo;</p><p>Nelson said after solitary he had to be on multiple psychiatric drugs and see a psychiatrist. Even five years after his release, he still struggles with daily tasks, like riding a train or bus.</p><p>Those of us who have been in solitary all &ldquo;have a little closet somewhere. I got a placement in the basement I can go hide,&rdquo; said Nelson.</p><p>The federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of three inmates, but is seeking class action status for all individuals who have been or are currently in solitary in Illinois prisons. According to the complaint, about 2,300 people in Illinois prisons are in solitary on any given day.</p><p>The Illinois Department of Corrections would not comment on the case.</p><p>After a press conference about the suit, a small group of reporters gathered around Nelson to take pictures of him in a tiny mockup cell.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Because of this cell here, my psychiatrist didn&rsquo;t want me to come today,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;As I talk about it, I can taste the cell again&mdash;raw, dusty concrete.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/shannon_h">@shannon_h</a></em></p></p> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 13:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/prisoners-sue-illinois-department-corrections-over-solitary-confinement-112241 Illinois prisons director resigns 2 months after taking job http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-prisons-director-resigns-2-months-after-taking-job-112077 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/wbez carlos javier ortiz.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>SPRINGFIELD, Ill. &mdash; Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner&#39;s choice for state prisons director has resigned just two months into the job.</p><div><p>Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said Friday that the Republican governor had accepted the resignation of Donald Stolworthy.</p><p>She did not give a reason for the departure of the 54-year-old former U.S. State Department aide.</p><p>Neither Stolworthy nor his spokeswoman commented immediately.</p><p>Rauner named Stolworthy as acting director of the Department of Corrections on March 9. He previously worked for the State Department&#39;s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs where he assessed foreign prison systems.</p><p>Kelly says Stolworthy has agreed to &quot;help during the transition period&quot; to a new director. She had no other comment.</p><p>Stolworthy had a salary of $150,000 a year.</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 22 May 2015 11:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-prisons-director-resigns-2-months-after-taking-job-112077 After nearly 5 years in office Gov. Quinn has no long-term plan for Illinois prisons http://www.wbez.org/news/after-nearly-5-years-office-gov-quinn-has-no-long-term-plan-illinois-prisons-108598 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Quinn cropped.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois taxpayers sink $1.3 billion into prisons every single year, but in an hour-long interview on <a href="https://soundcloud.com/afternoonshiftwbez/governor-pat-quinn-speaks" target="_blank">WBEZ&rsquo;s <em>Afternoon Shift</em> last week</a>, Gov. Pat&nbsp; Quinn said he did not have a five-year plan of any sort for the prison system.</p><p>&ldquo;No, I think we probably have to have a one-year plan,&rdquo; said Quinn. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what the budget is every year, and the state of the state address.&rdquo;</p><p>Several of the candidates looking to replace Quinn also seem to lack plans for the Department of Corrections. For weeks WBEZ has been asking the campaigns of Bill Daley, Bruce Rauner and Sen. Bill Brady for their ideas on prisons. Daley, Rauner and Brady failed to provide any information.</p><p>Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford has previously talked about the state needing a five-year plan for corrections just like the state has for roads or infrastructure. Sen. Kirk Dillard says Quinn has exacerbated overcrowding in Illinois prisons by closing facilities while the number of people locked up is at record highs.</p><p>On the <em>Afternoon Shift,&nbsp;</em>Quinn said he couldn&rsquo;t remember the last time he was in an Illinois prison but nonetheless insisted the facilities are not overcrowded despite complaints of overcrowding from inmates, correctional officers and the non-partisan prison watchdog John Howard Association.</p></p> Tue, 03 Sep 2013 16:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/after-nearly-5-years-office-gov-quinn-has-no-long-term-plan-illinois-prisons-108598 Quinn: Illinois prisons are not overcrowded http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-illinois-prisons-are-not-overcrowded-108588 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Quinn cropped_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn insists the state prison system is not overcrowded despite the fact that there are about 49,000 inmates in facilities built for 32,000 people. In addition,&nbsp; programming dollars are stretched thin, which leaves vast numbers of inmates idle for most of the day.</p><p>&ldquo;I feel that the prisons of our state, and every other state frankly, are crowded,&rdquo; said Quinn in an hour-long interview on prisons Friday on WBEZ&rsquo;s <em>Afternoon Shift</em>.&nbsp; &ldquo;In Illinois we have an adequate number of beds to handle the inmates we have.&rdquo;</p><p>But Illinois spends 98 percent of its budget just housing the inmates, leaving little money for education or job training. Quinn says he&rsquo;d obviously like to bring down the prison population because it costs more than $20,000 a year to house each inmate.</p><p>Quinn says he takes a hands-off approach to running the Department of Corrections. Quinn told <em>Afternoon Shift </em>host Niala Boodhoo that he didn&rsquo;t know when he&rsquo;d last been in a prison.</p><p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t remember that,&rdquo; Quinn said. &ldquo;I basically appointed Tony Godinez to be the director of corrections and I tell him to do his job. I have a lot of confidence in him. He&rsquo;s been&nbsp; someone who&rsquo;s been in corrections for a long time.&rdquo;</p><p>Illinois spends more than a billion dollars every year on the department. Quinn also said he does not have a 5-year plan for the Department of Corrections. He says they make a plan every year when they develop the budget and when he gives his State of the State address. While Quinn would not say Illinois&rsquo; prison system is overcrowded, he did say the state and country need to have a debate about sentencing and how prisons are used.</p><h2><strong>Listen to excerpts from the hour-long interview</strong></h2><p>Speaking on the <em>Afternoon Shift </em>Friday on WBEZ with host Niala Boodhoo and Criminal and Legal Affairs reporter Robert Wildeboer, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn insisted the Illinois prison system is not overcrowded.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F108067914" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Quinn said reducing recidivism is key to bringing down the population in the Department of Corrections so that the state is not housing so many repeat offenders.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F108068246" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Quinn said he takes a hands-off approach to the billion-dollar Department of Corrections.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F108068424" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Quinn said Illinois is part of a ongoing conversation in the United States looking at sentencing and how prisons are used.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F108068675" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 30 Aug 2013 20:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/quinn-illinois-prisons-are-not-overcrowded-108588