Rauner signs prison reform legislation

Advocates for imprisoned women are thanking Gov. Bruce Rauner for signing a law requiring gender-appropriate and informed practices in the state’s women’s prison and parole systems.

The Republican governor signed the measure drafted by the Chicago-based Women’s Justice Initiative last month. It’s part of the organization’s effort to adopt practices that recognize trauma women offenders often have suffered, ready them for community re-entry and reduce recidivism.

A study by the group found that women prisoners face unnecessary segregation, harsher discipline than men, and longer-than-necessary sentences.

Deanne Benos is director of the Women’s Justice Initiative and former I.D.O.C. assistant director. She says after the report the Rauner administration began a five-day training program for women’s prison staff members.