Autumn of Justice Reform in Chicago

From the Desk of John McLees:

The fall offers many opportunities to continue our focus and involvement in efforts to advance the cause justice in our criminal justice system.

The update on opportunities and resources for Getting Involved in Criminal Justice Reform contains links to information about an array of events and opportunities to get involved in advocacy and volunteer activities, as well as links to important new reports from David Olson, The Illinois Justice Project, The People’s Lobby, Chicago Appleseed, Injustice Watch and others about incarceration trends in Illinois, the positions on criminal justice issues of the candidates for Illinois Attorney General, progress in the Cook County States Attorney’s office, treatment of the mentally ill in our jails and more.

In the area of advocacy, we would draw your attention to the need to act now, as discussed below, in joining the broad coalition that is promoting the Fair Housing Initiative to overcome barriers facing those who have been incarcerated in obtaining access to decent housing in Cook County.

The Fair Housing Initiative For Increasing Housing Opportunities in Cook County for Those Who Have Been Arrested or Incarcerated

As noted before and as described in more detail at, this effort focuses on the campaign to gain support from members of the Cook County Board of Commissioners for amending the Cook County’s Human Rights Ordinance to prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to individuals on the basis of having an arrest record, and from implementing a policy of not renting to anyone who has been convicted of a crime.  (Landlords’ would still be entitled to consider a prior conviction among all other factor in each individual case.)

We can each help:

  • by getting churches and other organizations of which we are members to join the large coalition of organizations that have endorsed this proposal, using the Endorsement Form attached here, and
  • acting now to get individuals to voice their support, by

-writing to Patricia Fron at [email protected] to obtain quantities of the individual endorsement cards that the coalition has prepared in the form shown at,

-distributing them to be signed by residents of Cook County and

returning the signed cards to Patricia by October 15 for sorting and forwarding to the appropriate Cook County Commissioner.