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Segregation Issues on Front Burner  

Chicago – July 30, 2010 - The Illinois Department of Corrections continued on its path to outline a plan for addressing prison segregation issues with the guidance of the nationally recognized experts at the Vera Institute of Justice. The goal is to reduce prisoner isolation and create a “best practices” model for IDOC’s segregation population at no cost to IDOC through the use of grant funding.

In this round, Vera experts visited three Illinois prisons that confront segregation issues on a daily basis; Tamms CC, Menard CC and Stateville CC. They spoke with wardens, staff and inmates, toured facilities and reviewed policies and procedures. Vera Institute of Justice Dr. Angela Browne says “The reasons for sentencing individuals to segregation, the duration of sentences, and special dynamics like mental health issues are all factored into understanding and mapping out a long-term plan for dealing with the segregation population in the IDOC system.

Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) Director Michael P. Randle says “We are committed to working with the Vera Institute on the best policies and procedures for handling the challenges we face in regards to our segregation population while at the same time maintaining our goal of public, staff and inmate safety. Our intention is to thoughtfully address this issue with strategies that have a proven success rate, reduce our reliance on segregation units and maintain our first priority; safety. This is why we are partnering with a national Institute who brings over 45-years of experience to solving issues that impact the Justice System.”

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.