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[VIDEO] A hoodie, ten bucks and a train ticket


Every year, 33,000 men and women leave Illinois prisons with few possessions but lots of baggage.

Every day white vans pull into the parking lot of the Amtrak station in Effingham, in southern Illinois. From a distance they look like regular 15-passenger vans, but up close you realize that there’s a metal screen separating the driver from the passengers in the back, and the doors of the vans each have a small crest that says Illinois Department of Corrections.

On the morning I was at the train station, four IDOC vans pulled into the parking lot: two from Vandalia prison, and two from another nearby prison, Robinson.