Joliet Treatment Center
Christine Herman/Illinois Public Media
January 23, 2019

Prisoners With Mental Illness Still Waiting For Treatment

A settlement was reached with Illinois inmates in 2016, when the state agreed to revamp mental health care and provide better treatment. But a federal judge has ruled that care remains “grossly insufficient” and “extremely poor.” The agency has not hired enough mental health staff to provide care to everyone who needs it, and inmates will mental illness suffer as they continue to wait for long-overdue treatment.

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Vicki White, president of Chicago Books to Women in Prison, reads a letter sent from an incarcerated woman. She is standing in a room lined with bookcases and book shelves full of books.
Lee V. Gaines / Illinois Newsroom
April 16, 2018

Illinois Prison System Spent Less Than $300 On Books Last Year

Last year, the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) spent $276 on books for its educational programming across 28 correctional facilities, according to data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. In the early 2000s, however, the state prison system spent roughly $750,000 each year on books. The dramatic decrease in funding stands in contrast to research that shows educational programming for inmates can significantly impact recidivism rates. Prison librarians, academics and a former Illinois inmate all agree that prison libraries play an important role in that work. 

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