(WTTW News)

More than half of IDOC inmates serving a life sentence are 55 or older. Caring for an aging prison population is a costly endeavor, advocates say, and the health care elderly prisoners do receive often falls short. That’s why some are calling for a new parole system.

(WTTW News)

In 1978, Illinois shifted from an indeterminate to a determinate sentencing system — effectively eliminating parole as most people are familiar with it. Now some advocates are calling for changes to allow inmates over 55 the chance to be paroled.

U.S. Attorney John Lausch appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Dec. 8, 2022. (WTTW News)

During his time as U.S. Attorney, Lausch oversaw numerous high-profile investigations in Chicago, among them, the indictments of former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan on racketeering and bribery charges and longtime Chicago Ald. Ed. Burke.

Kameron Huckleby (WTTW)

Kameron Huckleby is on the road home after incarceration, and he’s on the road to helping others do the same as a re-entry navigator in training with the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership.

Francisco Perez (WTTW News)

Francisco Perez gives “La Ultima Palabra” on why he says creating a smoother landing for people leaving incarceration is good business for everyone.

Stores line the street in downtown Pontiac, Illinois. (WTTW News)

The town is also home to Pontiac Correctional Center, one of only three maximum security Illinois state prisons. Just outside the prison’s doors is a neighborhood of single-family homes and a playground.

Pontiac Correctional Center (WTTW News)

The conditions that come with Pontiac Correctional Center’s age are just part of the reason inmates and advocates call it inhumane. Another reason is the climate inside. WTTW News details the issues facing the maximum security prison. 

(WTTW News)

Among Pontiac Prison’s challenges is its status as the most short-staffed facility in IDOC. But former director Rob Jeffreys said having a lower incarceration rate could work in the agency’s favor.

(WTTW News)

The West Side nonprofit offers workforce development and mental health and substance abuse services, among other supports. Leadership said their recidivism rates are a fraction of the state average.

Defendant Micheail Ward during the trial for the fatal shooting of Hadiya Pendleton at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago on Aug. 21, 2018. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune / Pool). Inset: Hadiya Pendleton.

The First District Appellate Court issued a 38-page ruling Friday, ordering that Micheail Ward will be given a new trial after statements he made to investigators after he invoked his right to remain silent were used in court.

The Illinois Supreme Court heard arguments about the SAFE-T Act on March 14, 2023. (WTTW News)

The lawsuit over cash bail pits the state’s Democratic governor, attorney general and legislative leaders against roughly half of Illinois’ state’s attorneys, as well as county sheriffs. Both sides can agree on this much: The justices’ decision will have major ramifications on the future of the criminal justice system in Illinois.

R. Kelly appears for a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Friday, March 22, 2019 in Chicago. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean on Thursday filed her notice with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. That move is not a surprise, as Bonjean last month noted her intent to appeal Kelly’s convictions on three child pornography and three child enticement charges.

U.S. Attorney John Lausch appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Dec. 8, 2022. (WTTW News)

John Lausch, who has served as U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Illinois since 2017, is planning to leave the office in “early 2023,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced during an unrelated press conference Thursday.

(WTTW News)

Each of Chicago’s 22 police districts will now have a three-person civilian oversight council made up of people from that community. 

In this Sept. 17, 2019, file photo, R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

‘I will never get back what he took from me’: Kelly's victim tells court

Federal prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber to sentence Kelly to 25 years in prison to account for the “indescribable harm” he caused his victims, including his then-underaged goddaughter “Jane.”

At HHP Lift’s Liftworks social enterprise program, participants are taught how to manufacture home goods while also learning basic workplace skills. (Courtesy of HPP Lift)

Research shows formerly incarcerated people who maintained employment for one year after release had only a 16% recidivism rate, compared to a 52% rate for those who did not stay employed.