Every year, Illinois incarcerates over 250,000 people who are awaiting trial. None of these people have been convicted of a crime, and most are jailed simply because they can’t afford to pay a money bond. Pretrial incarceration is hurting communities across our state.
Please call in today and for release of folx in Cook County jail. A reminder that of the 250,000 people locked up in Illinois jails, 90% are there PRE-TRIAL because they can't afford bond. Those numbers are bad enough, but now with COVID-19 numbers rising, and seven people have died on COVD19 in Cook County jail, we can make calls to save lives.
Phone: (312) 603-6444
“Hi, my name is ______ and I live in _________. I’m calling to demand that the Cook County Sheriff’s Office take steps to dramatically lower the number of people in jail in response to COVID-19 and ensure that anyone in his custody is able to practice social distancing.”
Office of the Chief Judge
Phone: (312) 603-6000
“Hi, my name is ______ and I live in _________. I’m calling to demand that the Cook County Chief Judge take steps to dramatically lower the number of people in jail in response to COVID-19. This means facilitating bond review hearings for people currently in jail and instructing judges not to admit new people to the jail.”
Read more from our friends at the Chicago Community Bond Fund.
If you are new to abolition, check out this wonderful resource from Abolition Journal. With six sessions, you can go at your own pace. Feel free to donate to this organization for their good work!
by Sylvia A. Harvey
The Marshall Project Life Inside series
"As a child, I got used to the barbed wire gates and the officer holding a rifle in the gun tower. I knew prison guards would make me undo my hair in the hopes of finding heroin tucked in the folds of my braids. It was merely the price I had to pay the prison deities. In exchange for surrendering my freedom, I was allowed to see my father."
by Eli Hager and Weihua Li
"The president of Minneapolis’s police union called George Floyd a “violent criminal” and those protesting his killing by a police officer a “terrorist movement.” A union chief in Baltimore once said Black Lives Matter activists were a “lynch mob”; one in Philadelphia referred to them as “a pack of rabid animals.” Another has labeled St. Louis’s democratically elected prosecutor, who is black and supports police reform, a “menace to society” who must be removed “by force” if necessary.All of these union leaders also have this in common: They are white." Read more
by Abbie VanSickle
The Marshall Project
The coronavirus-stricken prisoners kept off the books. Officials in Santa Barbara County faced a dilemma weeks ago. They desperately wanted permission from California authorities to “reopen” their local economy as the coronavirus ebbed in the state. But a major outbreak of COVID-19 at FCI Lompoc, the federal prison there, had skewed the metrics. Santa Barbara resolved its problem by lobbying state officials to exclude prisoners from relevant public health analyses. “It’s a fiction,” says a justice reform advocate. It’s also a scenario likely to be repeated in other counties across the country where prisons are COVID-19 hotspots. Read more...
My mom was by my side the first time I went away. The second time was just too much.
by Daniel McCann, The Marshall Project Life Inside Series
May 21, 2020
"In silence, all I could think about was the time my mom had told me that a broken heart would be her demise. I knew that it would only be a matter of time now before the disappointment I had caused would also make me guilty of murder. My weapon? Heartache."
by Madison Alder
Judges are interpreting the law on the fly as they face an unprecedented spike in requests for “compassionate release” from prison, coming to different conclusions about what can be done in the context of a pandemic. The swell of requests for what’s known as compassionate release come after the passage of a law, written before the Covid-19 outbreak, that made it easier for those requests to be filed with the courts.
by Alex Ortiz
My Suburban Life
"Parole Illinois, a coalition of activists in and out of prison working “toward a more just and humane legal system” organized the demonstration. The group described Stateville as the “epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Illinois carceral system.”
The Rev. Jason Lydon, a Unitarian Universalist minister at the Second Unitarian Church in Chicago, described the group of family members, advocates and faith leaders as “people of conscience coming together” to raise awareness of the situation in Illinois prisons and jails. He said the demonstration was an effort to “remind everybody that those inside the prison are not alone.”
“We are fighting hard to get them out,” Lydon said. “And to ensure that they have the care that they need.”
by C.J. Ciaramella
"The numbers and dire news stories underscore what civil liberties groups and correctional officer unions have been trying to warn local, state, and federal agencies about since COVID-19 reached the country: that jails and prisons were woefully unprepared to handle an epidemic, and that those institutions would inevitably spread the virus into nearby communities unless drastic measures were taken."
by Nick Charles
"Coronavirus outbreaks have transformed prisons into hot spots of infection, and among the societal inequalities the pandemic is exposing along the fault lines of race, class, and gender are some of the lesser known realities of mass incarceration, particularly those facing black women.
The vast majority of female inmates come from 'marginalized communities where the health care was subpar at best, and it’s even worse whatever their fragilities are, and you layer on mental illness and autoimmune diseases among women,' Donna Hylton, a prison reform activist and author, who served 27 years in an upstate New York prison, told NBC News."
What this is about
Learning asks us to change – so that the world might be a place for all are free to thrive