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Most women in U.S. prisons and jails lack access to birth control. But for many of these women, incarceration is not the only obstacle to such care. A new program in Chicago is trying to change the trend.

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Women are the fastest-growing segment of the incarcerated population in the U.S., but data on pregnancies and births in prisons is either outdated or nonexistent. Illinois is now among 22 states participating in the first large-scale, comprehensive study of pregnancy in American prisons.

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(Maya Miller / Chicago Tonight)

The nation’s prison system was in the spotlight last week at an event hosted by Chicago Ideas and the New York-based Vera Institute of Justice.

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A new gang has surfaced at the Cook County Jail that even the sheriff refers to as “bizarre.” Tom Dart credits members of the gang, called Savage Life, with a hostage incident that occurred at the jail late last month.

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Credit: Brian Bowen Smith

Just as fans plant themselves in front of their screens for a binge-watching session of the third season of the popular Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, the real life main character, Piper Kerman, is back in Chicago. She joins us on Chicago Tonight.

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Former Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has been released from a federal prison in Alabama after his 2013 conviction for tax evasion and misuse of campaign funds. His next stop will be a halfway house, likely located in the Washington, D.C. area.

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The School Project is a Chicago-based documentary series that is tracking the past and present status of the city's public school system. The third segment explores school disciplinary policies and the effects they have on students, the community, and society as a whole.

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As Illinois lawmakers look into ways to reform the state's prison system, we hear from the lead author of a comprehensive report on the U.S. prison system.

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A former jail inmate alleges he was denied food and access to a bed or shower for days at a time in this latest complaint.

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The Jacksons will stagger their prison sentences, choosing to send Jesse Jr. to prison before Sandi. Carol Marin and her guests have analysis.

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They've pleaded guilty to illegal use of campaign funds but do Jesse and Sandi Jackson deserve some measure of sympathy for their public service? We hear what some observers have to say.

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Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan is out of prison, and on house arrest for the remainder of his sentence. We talk with his former chief of staff Scott Fawell about the final chapter to this dramatic story.

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Toni Preckwinkle

A new plan to reform Cook County's bond court system could mean fewer inmates at County Jail. We hear from Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Chief Judge Tim Evans.

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Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich

Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagovich takes the long and winding road to prison in Littleton, Colorado. We talk with Scott Fawell about what life may be like behind bars.

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Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich

Rod Blagojevich addresses a throng of reporters and supporters before heading off to Colorado on Thursday to begin serving a 14-year prison sentence. Elizabeth Brackett reports.

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Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich

Will Rod Blagojevich spend his 14-year sentence behind bars in a Colorado federal prison? That's what his lawyers want. Elizabeth Brackett talks with a prison consultant, who is a former federal inmate himself. He tells us about his experience.