Illinois Leads Nation In Overcrowded Prisons
Illinois Policy by Bryant-Jackson Green
Illinois prisons held 150 percent of their maximum capacity in 2014, the highest rate of crowding of any prison system in the country, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
If anyone requires proof that Illinois needs criminal-justice reform, here’s a new statistic: Illinois’ prisons were the nation’s most overcrowded in 2014.
Illinois prisons held 16,183 more people than they were meant to hold, according to a September 2015 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, or BJS. That means Illinois’ prisons stood at over 150 percent of their intended capacity, a higher rate of overcrowding than any other prison system in the U.S.
Many people view inmates from a very limited perspective, looking at only a single point in their lives. My origami sculpture represents that I am more than a singular point in time. I am so much more that just that one piece. It is a representation of how each piece of my life is intricately woven and interconnected to the others, all interdependent on each other, forming a complex, multidimensional whole.
This sculpture is composed on 60 pieces of folded paper. The composition of this sculpture has symmetry. As a representation of myself, each piece of paper is interconnected to form a dynamic whole that gets its strength using nothing more than its individual pieces to hold it together. Each piece has its own power, each slightly different from the other, but all necessary for the balance and equilibrium of the whole.
The paper colors were chosen to represent the different aspects of my life some very bright and flowery, some contrasting, others complementary. The black piece represents the tragic circumstances that brought me to prison.
It is my hope that this sculpture will help to remind others to acknowledge the full complexity of all the pieces that shape our lives. EVERYONE has a complex life story. None of us should be judged solely by the piece that is the worst thing we’ve done. We are so much more than that.
A little about this origami technique: my paper sculpture was made by assembling folded paper modules into an integrated, 3-dimensional form, a technique that’s known as modular origami. This sculpture is based on a paper crystal design created in 1989 by David Mitchell.
Biography: I am a 61 year-old woman, incarcerated since 1999 for a triple murder. I’m serving a natural life sentence without the possibility of parole. I’m a first-time offender with no criminal history in my background.
As I tried to represent with my artwork, I’ve had a complex and convoluted journey leading to my incarceration. I was diagnosed with major depression and a serious adverse side effect of the prescribed antidepressant played a major role in my crime.
I started doing origami in prison as a creative outlet. I’ve become an origami enthusiast and have shared the joy of origami with other inmates by facilitating many origami activities.
J.B. Pritzker wants criminal justice reform. Here's how it could work.
Herald & Review by Edith Brady-Lunny
SPRINGFIELD — During his campaign for governor, J.B. Pritzker said he heard countless stories of how Illinois' broken criminal justice system has created hardships and heartbreak for those caught in a cycle of detention, poverty and dead ends without opportunity.
As he prepares to take over the reins of the governor's office, Pritzker is moving forward with plans for the Office of Criminal Justice Reform and Economic Opportunity, an agency that will coordinate new and existing efforts to address what's wrong, and strengthen what's right, with the way Illinois handles criminal justice.
The office will focus "on making sure the services people need are being delivered and preventing people from entering the system in the first place," said Pritzker's press secretary, Jordan Abudayyeh.
19 Actual Statistics About America's Prison System
Mic.com by Laura Dimon
The U.S. imprisons a larger percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the height of apartheid. There is a reason for it — but not a good one.
Michelle Alexander is a civil rights lawyer, advocate, legal scholar and author of the highly acclaimed 2010 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. The book is an impressive work of nonfiction in which Alexander disproves common misconceptions about criminal justice in the United States and paints an appalling picture of where the system stands today.
Alexander builds a compelling case through her thorough research: "We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." She swiftly awakens her readers to the harsh reality that they may not have realized they were living in. Public intellectual Cornel West wrote in the book's foreword that it is a "grand wake-up call in the midst of a long slumber of indifference to the poor and vulnerable."
The predicament of mass incarceration is, in Alexander's words, "a human rights nightmare." Sadly, she is not exaggerating — the facts are startling. And our politicians are dropping the ball. Below is a mere snapshot.
Prison inmate describes conditions during 23-Day lockdown.
Channel 3000 News by Jamie Perez
February 7, 2019
"Although they told you guys we were getting hot meals, it took at least a week before we got a hot meal," Dontrell LeFlore said. "That was only Monday through Friday. We were asking them, 'What's up with the weekend?' And they were like, 'Well, no hot meals on the weekend.' It was hard to get this information out because we couldn't call home. We were scared to write because they open up our mail before it goes out. Now speaking out, I'm putting myself at risk. Being cut off from the world like that, that has never happened. In my 19 years in prison, I have never spent that much time without access to a phone or a visit."
Jay-Z and Meek Mill launch prison reform organization
CNN by Lisa Respers France
Rappers Jay-Z and Meek Mill have joined with sports and business leaders to try and reform the criminal justice system.
The pair were on hand Wednesday at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York to announce the formation of the REFORM Alliance, an organization that aims to reduce the number of people serving unjust parole and probation sentences.
In addition to Jay-Z and Mill, the founding partners include Philadelphia 76ers co-owner and Fanatics executive chairman Michael Rubin, Kraft Group CEO and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Brooklyn Nets co-owner and philanthropic investor Clara Wu Tsai, Third Point LLC CEO and founder Daniel S. Loeb, Galaxy Digital CEO and founder Michael E. Novogratz, and Vista Equity Partners founder, chairman and CEO Robert F. Smith.
JHA Special Report: Kewanee The Inaugural IDOC Life Skills Reentry Center Facility Report
John Howard Association of Illinois
The John Howard Association of Illinois (JHA) had our first official visit to the Kewanee Life Skills Reentry Center (LSRC) in April 2018, about a year after it opened in mid-February 2017 with the first 10 men housed within Kewanee LSRC (Kewanee) as an Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) facility.1 Population at Kewanee on the date of the April 2018 visit was 215, nearly double the population of 130 men housed at the facility a few months earlier at the beginning of 2018.2 The operational, or bed-space, capacity at Kewanee has been reported differently, from 538 to 648.3 Administrators stated that they expected to soon increase population to 280 when a third housing unit is opened. However, the facility capacity remains undecided, as increasing the population to the reported operational capacity is not yet considered feasible while maintaining program integrity.4 Kewanee’s population made up just about .5% of the approximately 41,060 people incarcerated within IDOC; nonetheless, the novel work of this facility merits review.
Kewanee had been an Illinois Youth Center run by the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) until the closure of that facility in June 2016. JHA had called for the closure of the facility for youth for several years due to chronic issues and the low population throughout IDJJ.5 However, JHA strongly supported repurposing the facility for adults, in part because it has a much newer and better physical plant than most adult facilities,6 and to provide specialized services sorely lacking throughout IDOC.7 Ultimately, with Kewanee, Illinois chose to try something that had been talked about for years and encouraged by many including JHA, to use the facility to provide intensive programming and reentry preparation for those who were at a higher risk to recidivate.8 As Kewanee administrators explained, they don’t want “the best of the best,” or people who are already at a low level of risk to reoffend, and who are not coming back anyway, because providing intensive reentry programming for that population will not make as much of a difference.
JHA also notes that providing more humane treatment and productive programming undoubtably will benefit both individuals and society.
What this is about
Learning asks us to change – so that the world might be a place for all are free to thrive