GOVERNOR PRITZKER CALL GOVERNOR WOLF

After collectively spending nearly 90 years in prison, Freddy Butler and Oliver Macklin will soon be heading home.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf officially commuted their sentences of life without the possibility of parole.

The men will spend at least a year in a halfway house before being released on parole.

Butler, 72, was convicted of first-degree murder in 1970. He has been incarcerated for more than 50 years. The Board of Pardons recommended his commutation.

Macklin, who is 63, was convicted of second-degree murder in 1986. He was recommended during the same session. The board must vote unanimously to recommend someone for a commutation.

Since the tough-on-crime era, the number of people serving life without the possibility of parole has ballooned.

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PRISON PANDEMIC: COVID-19 In Jails & Prisons

Roughly 120 fewer people were released from Illinois prisons between February and May 2020 than during the same four months last year, despite warnings from public health experts that lower prison populations are the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The report notes that only one Illinois prison—Vandalia Correctional Center—is at an occupancy level that allows people to maintain a safe distance.

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ALERT: FED PRISON COVID19 DEATH

The federal prison system has recorded its first death attributed to the novel coronavirus pandemic as criminal justice reform advocates and public health experts urge officials to consider releasing inmates to slow the contagion.

Patrick Jones, 49, was transferred to a hospital from a minimum security prison in Oakdale, La., on March 19, tested positive for Covid-19 — the disease caused by the virus — and was placed on a ventilator the next day, according to a statement from the Bureau of Prisons.

Jones, who had “long-term, pre-existing medical conditions” that were considered risk factors for severe coronavirus illness, died Saturday at the hospital, the statement said.

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ALERT: STATEVILLE COVID-19 WILDFIRE

“I’m concerned because I know it can go through there like wildfire.”

We are getting reports of men at Stateville Correctional Center having symptoms of COVID-19.

In prison, there’s no such thing as Social Distancing.

COVID-19 ALERT: SOAP SHORTAGES

Illinois prisons are a tinderbox for a potential coronavirus outbreak, but advocates and family of prisoners say the Department of Corrections isn’t providing the basic supplies to keep both staff and prisoners safe.

While some advocates praised the department’s stated plan to protect prisons, they say that some individual facilities aren’t executing it.

The Illinois Department of Corrections promised last week that “hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap and cleaning supplies are being made available to all staff and incarcerated individuals.”

But family members of people in prisons report the supplies aren’t actually being distributed at every facility.

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PRISON ALERT: COVID-19

Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced this week that Illinois prisons would be closed to new inmates in response to growing concern about the COVID-19 pandemic spreading within Illinois’ correctional facilities.

As of Friday, at least five incarcerated men at Stateville Correctional Center have tested positive for the virus, along with multiple staff members at the prison.

A staff member at the Sheridan Correctional Center also tested positive for COVID-19, and so did multiple individuals housed at the North Lawndale Adult Transition Center in Chicago.

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