If you're on Medicaid in Illinois and you're wearing glasses, here's some news for you: a prison inmate made them. It's part of a program the Illinois Department of Corrections is spotlighting called Illinois Correctional Industries.  ICI bakes bread and desserts for the prison system and other state agencies, builds and refurbishes furniture, provides recycling services to Illinois' two state fairs, and more.

Jen Aholt, chief executive of ICI, says the financially self-sufficient unit also serves the rehabilitative side of Corrections’ mission.


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“What we're trying to do is find those companies that have no problem with somebody with a record,” Aholt says.  “And we’re also trying to work with the inmates on how to best address the reality that they do have something on their record.  We do something called the ‘elevator speech’ – what can we say in the span of a minute” to tell the story to a potential employer that all the parolee needs is a chance.


(Copyright WBGZ Radio / www.AltonDailyNews.com)