UU communities are inclusive, you can bring your whole self: your full identity, your questioning mind, your expansive heart. Together, we create a force more powerful than one person or one belief system. As Unitarian Universalists, we do not have to check our personal background and beliefs at the door: we join together on a journey that honors everywhere we’ve been before.
We are organizing Illinois Unitarian Universalist congregations to advocate for policy changes in Illinois related to prisons. This includes; setting strict limits on the use of solitary confinement, reforming bail/bond system, and allowing returning citizens access to more job and housing opportunities.
2019 These bills are before the 2019 IL Legislative body.
Use the status links to find out if your representative is involved in decision making and reach out to them letting them know your support.
HB 2039 :: Penalty Reduction - Support
Status: placed on calendar for 2nd reading
Provides that a person serving a sentence for any criminal offense under the Criminal Code of 1961 or the Criminal Code of 2012 or a similar local ordinance for which the statutory penalty has been subsequently reduced or altered may petition the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction to request resentencing or dismissal in accordance with the statutory penalty in effect at the time of the filing of the petition.
Notes from our advocates: State's attorneys have long been in opposition - claiming unconstitutionality - Cassidy wanted to call it but was postponed - the Gov's office asked to hold onto it, as they are interested in a mass communication of sentences (for pot), concern is that it won't address barriers that folks have that aren't in prison.
HB 2045 :: Healthcare - Support
Status: Third Reading 4/2 - PASSED to Senate
Carol Ammons was lead sponsor in House
Passed the House UNANIMOUSLY
Elgie Sims is chief Senate sponsor
Both bills eliminate the $5 co-pay for healthcare.
Notes from our advocates: Passed House last week, onto the Senate
HB 2444 :: Parental Detention - Support
Status: Third Reading 4/3 PASSED to Senate
Note House Amendment 1
Sen. Jacqueline Y. Collins (majority whip) lead sponsor in the Senate
unnecessary harm to children caused by separation, this bill affords basic considerations to these children when decisions are made that affect them upon sentencing of their parent or guardian.
Notes from our advocates: Removing any reference to bond, have an amendment coming
CGLA is lead advocacy organization on this.In order to prevent
Following are likely dead for this session
HB 182 :: Solitary - Support
Status: Rules Committee
Provides that: a committed person may not be placed in isolated confinement for more than 10 consecutive days; may not be placed in isolated confinement for more than 10 days in any 180-day period; while out of cell, committed persons may have access to activities; that the DoC shall post quarterly reports.
HB3214 :: Parole - Support
Status: Rules Committee
A person serving a term of imprisonment in a DOC facility is eligible for parole and a parole hearing if they have served (1) At least 20 years 2-25% o the sentence (2) A minimum sentence for offense. Person serving natural life shall be eligible after 20 years.
Check out this website for more information from a consortium of advocates.
HB 3332 :: Housing Income Tax Credit - Support
Status: Rules Committee
Provides a tax credit to landlords that rent to people with conviction records, providing a 15% tax credit for amount of annual rent received from that "qualified renter"
Support for work in the world
We are embarking on a campaign with Black and Pink and other IL organizations to influence Governor Pritzker to stand with those currently locked up to eliminate or greatly reduce the use of solitary confinement as a means of disciplinary action. Work we have engaged:Join us in advocating to abolish this form of torture.
Help Needed - a mental health crisis in our criminal justice system
On March 16, 2019 we held an event to bring a much needed voice to this issue:
There is a mental health crisis in our country today. A crisis hidden within our criminal justice system. We have criminalized and exacerbated mental health issues by ignoring the needs of our people and causing more harm to those trapped by our criminal justice systems. We want to educate and agitate our faith community about these issues so that we can better contribute to movements working to abolish unjust systems.
Listen to our panelists discuss
Dr. Nathaniel Gilham: Clinical Director - Chicago Torture Justice Center
Brian Nelson: Prisoners' Rights Coordinator/Investigator, Torture survivor
- Uptown Peoples Law Center
Jim Poole: Dir. Community Engagement - NAMI Chicago
Monica Cosby: Lead Community Organizer - Women's Justice Institute
Moderator: Dr. Shelby Wyatt: Counselor - Kenwood Brotherhood Inc.
Survived but Punished
UUPMI Signed on with Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF) to ask that Kim Foxx drop the charges against Jonice Robinson.
For those of you that don't know, Jonice is a young Black woman that was criminalized for surviving domestic violence. CCBF paid $30,000 to free her from Cook County Jail and we have been working with other community groups to support her since August of last year. This letter was sent to Kim Foxx's office to ask that she drop the murder charge against Jonice so that she can move on with her life and begin to find peace.