Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "Illinois department of corrections" ...

  • Of Natural Causes: Death in Illinois Prisons

    When WBEZ reported in 2011 and 2012 on prison conditions in Illinois we were struck by the number of complaints regarding the lack of healthcare in the Illinois Department of Corrections. They reported some of the worst cases (and there were many) like Christopher Clingingsmith who told the prison doctor that his jaw was broken but medical records show he recieved no care for 8 weeks. By that point his jaw had to be rebroken to fix it. The healthcare in Illinois prisons is provided by a private company that has a 1.4 billion dollar contract with the state but that company doesn’t seem to do a very good job providing the care that taxpayers have paid for. Given the horror stories we heard they wondered how many people were dying inside because of a lack of care. The reporting analyzed the cases of inmates who died while serving sentences in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
  • WBEZ: The crisis hidden inside Illinois’ prisons

    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.
  • State of Denial

    A follow-up to their original story about staff sexual misconduct in Illinois prisons, "Captive Victims," "State of Denial" focuses on information recieved from a whistleblower inside the illinois department of corrections.
  • The Drug War Series

    The series focused on the execution and impact of the so-called drug war on Chicago's minority communities. Specifically, the stories examined racial disparities in drug sentencing, drug arrests and the number of ex-drug offenders returning to Chicago communities. The Chicago Reporter found that blacks and Latinos were more often sentenced to prison than whites for the same drug crimes, even when they appeared to have similar criminal pasts.
  • Cruel & Usual

    The Riverfront Times reports on the Tamms Correctional Center, a high-tech "supermax" prison, in Tamms, Ill. Lawsuits had been filed against the Illinois Department of Corrections for the prison's treatment of inmates, " alleging that confinement at Tamms constitutes cruel and unusual punishment for the mentally ill."