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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Screen capture from a TV campaign ad from State Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, attacking his GOP opponent, Dave Severin, over criminal justice reform.
Friends of John Bradley
September 02, 2016

After Politician's 'Soft On Crime' Attack, Advocates Fight Back

In an era of political gridlock, one of the few topics on which there's been hope of bipartisan cooperation is on the issues of crime and punishment. Politicians have traditionally been averse to doing anything that could get them painted as being "soft on crime." It's an easy attack, and one that's been frequently deployed in the past. But this year, criminal justice reform advocates are fighting back, as in the case of an Illinois Democrat facing scare-mongering ads about criminal justice reform. 

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton smiles after speaking at the Old State House in Springfield Wednesday,
Andrew Harnik/Associated Press
July 13, 2016

Clinton Calls For 'Better Listening,' Empathy In Springfield Visit

Hillary Clinton is embracing the symbolism of Abraham Lincoln's "House Divided" speech, arguing the nation needs to repair its divisions after a series of high-profile shootings. In a speech in Springfield,
Clinton said the Republican Party of Lincoln had been transformed into the "party of Trump," warning her opponent would divide Americans.

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