Our Purpose: To Serve as a Digital Resource Center

The United States has far more people in prison and in jail than public safety requires. This damages the lives of those who are incarcerated, their families, and their communities. It also contributes to a cycle of crime and punishment and diverts resources from more constructive uses. We have much work to do to achieve a fair and effective criminal justice system.

The resource materials located on the various menu pages above include materials from the resource binder distributed at programs on Confronting the Moral Crisis of Mass Incarceration that St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church in Chicago hosted in the Winter of 2018 in order to promote greater understanding of the criminal justice system and to begin to provide tools for individuals and organizations to get involved in promoting radical change. Leading experts spoke to the full range of complex issues that we need to address in order to rethink and change the laws and practices that have resulted in too many men and women—most of them people of color—being imprisoned or jailed.

Videos of each of those two-hour programs are available on this homepage.

Upcoming: Incarceration Reform Workshop in Chicago, Illinois

Taking Action for Criminal Justice
Addressing the Causes and Effects of Mass Incarceration
Sunday, April 22, 2018 – 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Workshop on opportunities to get involved in criminal justice reform and in addressing the needs of those caught up in the system.

Register online at:  https://goo.gl/forms/QJD0u6vpbLkNMrN32

Hosted by St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church
1424 N. Dearborn St, Chicago

One block east of CTA Clark Street bus (Schiller Street stop) and a brief walk from CTA Red Line (Clark & Division station).
Paid public parking available at 1250 N. Dearborn, 88 W. Schiller, 1455 N. Clark, 1325 N. State, 1560 N. Sandburg Terrace.
(see spothero.com or chicago.bestparking.com)

In four winter programs we learned about how various elements of the criminal justice system in Illinois and the rest of the United States contribute to putting more people in prison and in jail than public safety requires. (See videos of those programs on this homepage.)

This mass incarceration, and the life-long restrictions and control that follow, disproportionally damage the lives of people of color and contribute to a cycle of crime and punishment. We were inspired to think of ways that each of us can get involved.

On April 22nd, we will join with the Interfaith Criminal Justice Task Force to continue the discussion and dig deeper into understanding how we can all contribute to addressing the problems with our criminal justice system.

For issues with registration or other questions, contact Nick Cade at nick.cade@gmail.com

April 22nd: Breakout Sessions Outlined

On April 22nd, we will join with the Interfaith Criminal Justice Task Force to continue the discussion and dig deeper into understanding how we can all contribute to addressing the problems with our criminal justice system. We will meet to exchange ideas and to participate in breakout sessions focused on learning more about specific opportunities to make a difference.

Register online at:  https://goo.gl/forms/QJD0u6vpbLkNMrN32

Breakout sessions on volunteer opportunities to include:

Reforming bail practices
Led by:  Irene Romulo
of the Chicago Community Bond Fund. Learn about accompanying individuals in bond court and ways to support those out on bond.

Led by:  Jobi Cates of Restore Justice and Ben Ruddell of ACLU Illinois. A primer on how to make your views known on proposed legislation, with or without going to Springfield.

Restorative Justice
Led by:  Michelle Day and Olivia Chase of Nehemiah Trinity Rising and Cliff Nellis of the Lawndale Christian Legal Center. Learn more about restorative justice process and how to get involved in helping to realize its potential.
Learning From Those Who Served Time
Led by:  Budder Jones of Inmates for Change and Fahmi Jones of  Families and Prisoners United.  Discussion of how to support the efforts of groups led by former prisoners who are working to help other returning citizens.

Job Training for Returning Citizens
Led by:  Brian Kenner of Safer Foundation. Volunteer opportunities in efforts to provide job training for returning citizens.

Other Reentry Support
Led by:  Chares Perry of the Westside Health Authority, Joan Shapiro and Jan Yourist of Reading Between the Lines and Carli McCabe of Back on My Feet Chicago. Getting involved in mentoring and other volunteer opportunities with organizations providing support services to returning citizens as they work to rebuild their lives.

Prisoner Support
Led by: Jennifer Vollen-Katz
or one of her colleagues from The John Howard Association. Learning about opportunities to work with the John Howard Association to make a difference in the lives of those who are incarcerated in Illinois prisons through individual advocacy efforts as well as system reform work.  JHA is llinois’ only independent prison watchdog organization.  It utilizes citizen volunteers to support its monitoring visits inside the prisons, to help with its inmate survey project, and to assist in its Prison Response Unit, which responds to more than 5,000 letters from incarcerated individuals on an annual basis.

Support Activities in the Juvenile Justice System
Led by: Robert Vickery of The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice
. Learning about volunteer opportunities to assist in providing training courses and other services in Chicago area facilities of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice.

Organizing Congregational Activity
Led by: Saeed Richardson
of The Community Renewal Society and Rev. Kara Wagner Sherer of St. John’s Episcopal Church. This session will involve a lively discussion about mobilizing congregations for involvement in criminal justice issues.