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Resource ID: #25916
Subject: Prisons
Source: WBEZ Radio (Chicago)
Date: 2012-08-07



This series of stories was supposed to focus on the cost, and the effects of overcrowding in Illinois prisons on inmates and public safety. However, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn forced us to focus much of our series on the fact that reporters were not being allowed into the prisons. Our requests early in 2012 to visit two minimum security prisons were denied by the Quinn administration, kicking off a very public battle between us (WBEZ) and the governor. After immense public pressure failed to move the governor we threatened to sue. The Illinois Department of Corrections finally agreed to have reporters come in to tour facilities but those tours are still quite restricted and the public battle for more access continues and litigation remains an option. While documenting that struggle, the stories also focus the state's attention on corrections by talking with recently released inmates, advocates, attorneys, legislators, prison officials and employees about the current crisis of prison overcrowding in Illinois. Through their stories we tried to bring the public inside the locked facilities despite the governor's insistence that we stay out.

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