Early European settlement in Illinois clustered around the riverine lands that form a U shape at the state's tip and was tied to the commercial life of the Mississippi River system. Beginning in the mid-19th century, canal, railroad, and automobile transportation continually shifted the state's center of population north. While Chicago's gangsters, molls, notoriously corrupt policemen, and politicians have stolen most of the headlines, inhabitants in the rest of the largely rural state long have faced criminal justice challenges based on their distinct ...

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