U.S. states are rapidly removing Confederate statues, symbols of racial oppression. But there is another holdover from slavery that is prevalent in our society today — the routine use of shackling persons using handcuffs, leg irons and other hardware to confine individuals in the justice system.
CHICAGO -- Every morning in southern Illinois, 38 full-time prison guards board a state bus and ride 46 miles to the Illinois Youth Center and correctional facility at Murphysboro. The facility was built in 1997 with a capacity for 156 young people. But when the guards arrive for work every day, no inmates are waiting for them. Concurrent with a steady decline in youth incarceration, Murphysboro hasn’t seen an inmate in months. But a heavily disputed proposal by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to close Murphysboro and the under-populated juvenile facility at Joliet, consolidating their inmates with those in other facilities across the state, is nearing its final stages.