Illinois prisons

Youth Solitary Confinement Is No More In Illinois

May 5, 2015

An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union says solitary confinement for juveniles is essentially over in Illinois. 

A federal judge recently signed off on an agreement between the ACLU and the Department of Juvenile Justice. 

The agreement bans the use of solitary as punishment and requires all juveniles to get eight hours a day outside their cells.

  Illinois Department of Corrections officials say they still do not know when they will have enough beds to care for prisoners with mental illnesses.

The prison system has been in a legal battle over mental health care since 2007.

Late last year the state submitted a remedial plan to a federal judge, but prisoners suing say the department isn’t following it.

In a new court filing, the state says it still doesn’t know when all 12 hundred beds required will be added.

Not long ago, it seemed every time a different type of crime started making the news, members of the Illinois General Assembly would rush to increase the penalty for that offense. But today — with prisons stuffed beyond capacity and state finances ailing — lawmakers have begun taking a more deliberate approach. Brian Mackey reports on a criminal sentencing culture change in the Illinois General Assembly.

The panelists talk about attempts by Chicago Public Radio to report on conditions at two minimum security prisons in southern Illinois.