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Segregation issues are tackled at IDOC 

CHICAGO – June 4, 2010 - The Illinois Department of Corrections in its goal to outline a plan to address the issue of segregation in Illinois prisons is partnering with the nationally recognized experts at the Vera Institute of Justice. The goal is to work on reducing prisoner isolation and to create a “best practices” model for IDOC’s segregation population at no cost to IDOC through the use of grant funding.

Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) Director Michael P. Randle says “Public and institutional safety are our top priorities. It can be a challenge with the large inmate population we are responsible for without using segregation units as a tool. We are looking at policies and procedures that will maintain our commitment to safety while reducing our reliance on these segregation units. Our goal is to address this issue thoughtfully and with strategies that have a proven success rate. That is why we are partnering with a national institute who brings over 45-years of experience to solving issues that impact the justice system.”

Vera Institute hopes to demonstrate, as research from Mississippi and Ohio has shown, that it is possible for states to save money by significantly reducing the numbers of prisoners in isolation while maintaining institutional and public safety. Results of this project will provide support to leaders in other states and counties who would like to find alternatives to large-scale reliance on segregation and isolation.

IDOC operates 27 prisons throughout Illinois in addition to work camps, boot camps and adult transition centers. The agency is committed to operating a safe and secure prison system as well as enhancing prison-based treatment, prevention programs and the successful reentry of inmates into society.

The Vera Institute of Justice focuses on evidence based “best practices” combining expertise in research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance to help leaders in government and civil society improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety. Vera is an independent, non-partisan, nonprofit center for justice policy and practice, with permanent offices in New York City and Washington, DC. Their projects and reform initiatives, typically conducted in partnership with local, state, or national officials, are located across the United States and around the world.