Governor signs bill to help women inmates

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LINCOLN, Ill. (WAND)- Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill Tuesday creating a women’s division in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The bill, which he signed during a tour of the Logan Correctional Center, is meant to tailor programs for women inmates, building on efforts already underway at Logan and other prisons.

Women respond differently to incarceration than men do,” Rauner said. “Women have different issues. Most women in the corrections system are mothers and the primary caregivers for their children, unlike many of the men in the corrections system."

One third of women who leave Illinois prisons return within three years, Rauner said, adding that programs to treat trauma and prepare women for life outside prison can help reduce recidivism.

Melanie Grant, an inmate from Chicago who was on hand for the governor’s remarks, said she has already seen changes at the prison in recent years and looks forward to the changes included in the bill Rauner signed.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the change,” Grant said. “I know that everything takes time, I just hope it doesn’t take forever.”

Rauner said Illinois has become a national leader in criminal justice reform and pointed to ongoing efforts to reduce the state’s prison population.

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