by Steve Bogira
In one of several illuminating stories this week, Wildeboer voiced concerns about the care Wexford Health Sources is providing in the prison system's 27 facilities. The John Howard Association, the state's prison watchdog, raised similar questions in a report last year, pointing to "insufficient external oversight" of prison health care—oversight that would seem important given the $1.36 billion Wexford is being paid over ten years. Wexford, too, has declined to talk with Wildeboer.
In another story, Wildeboer documented what it's like to leave prison, with ten bucks and a train ticket, with few possessions but "a lot of baggage." Most of the 33,000 prisoners released each year return to Cook County.
On WBEZ this morning, Wildeboer said he'd "clearly been spectacularly unsuccessful" in getting Quinn to answer his questions about crowding and health care, and he sought his listeners' help. He directed them to the station's website, where a link can be used to e-mail questions to Quinn about the state's prisons—Wildeboer's questions or others.
Here's that link. I encourage you to ask the governor to stop ducking and to talk with Wildeboer. There are 49,000 people in the state's penitentiaries. Their quality of life is an issue that's politically easy to ignore, but ignoring it is wrong.