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Rauner OKs gender-sensitive approach to women inmates

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Advocates for imprisoned women are thanking Gov. Bruce Rauner for signing a law requiring gender-appropriate and informed practices in the Illinois 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.

The Associated Press reported last fall that a study by the group found that Illinois' 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 Illinois Department of Corrections assistant director. She says after the report the Rauner administration began a five-day training program for women's prison staff members.

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