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State of the State is about the effectiveness and culture of Illinois government. Written by Brian Mackey, the blog focuses on key areas of news important to Illinois such as criminal justice and labor.

D.C. Group to Push Prison Reform in Illinois

Illinois could finally reckon with its dramatically overcrowded prisons in 2016.

The entire system is at 146 percent of the capacity it was designed to hold, but that number doesn’t tell the whole story. Some individual prisons — such as East Moline, Illinois River and Lincoln — are above 200 percent of the rated capacity.

There are Illinois-based advocacy groups that have been raising alarms and filing lawsuits about this for years. This year, the governor appointed a commission to recommend changes intended to safely cut the prison population by 25 percent over the next decade.

Now, Illinois is getting a new entrant on the criminal justice reform scene. This week, the Washington-based U.S. Justice Action Network announced it would expand its efforts to Illinois in 2016.

To find out what that means, I spoke with the group's Jenna Moll:

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Music: "Has Pluck" by Podington Bear. Used under a Creative Commons BY-NC-3.0 license, via WFMU's Free Music Archive.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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