From the Desk of John McLees…
The good work being done by many organizations to understand the operation of our criminal justice system, and to improve it, continues to accumulate.
In addition to checking out the events and opportunities for volunteering and training listed here for the new year, there are a number of year-end reports that deserve our attention, including:
- The John Howard Association Report on conditions at the Logan Correctional Facility, one year after Women’s Correctional Services Act passed– Read the report on Logan here and find WBEZ report here
- Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority Report on the Experiences of Justice Involved Girls:
- 2019 Report Chicago Community Bond Fund – 2019 Year-End Report
- Vera Institute of Justice reports on People in Jail in 2019: https://www.vera.org/downloads/publications/people-in-jail-in-2019.pdf
- NYT coverage of the report at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/13/us/rural-jails.html?action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage
- The Sentencing Project’s Annual Newsletter for 2019 https://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/sentencing-projects-2019-annual-newsletter/
- The Sentencing Project – Report on federal sentencing after one year under the First Step Act – https://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/one-year-after-the-first-step-act/
- The Brennan Center for Justice – 2019 Report of Crime Data in Major American Cities –https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/takeaways-2019-crime-data-major-american-cities
Please note in particular the first annual report of Governor Pritzker’s Justice Equity and Opportunity Initiative – https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/ltg/Documents/JEO-Draft-Report.pdf, issued last week by Illinois Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton, which sets forth the Governor’s ambitious agenda to eliminate cash bail, divert low level drug offenses from the criminal justice system, and reduce the use of mandatory minimum sentences.
The Illinois legislative session will be gearing up soon with many specific proposals for justice reform. We hope that you will consider kicking off the season by writing to your Representatives to ask for their support of House Bill 1615, which would limit the scope of prosecution for Felony Murder, which now results in convictions on very serious charges of those who did not participate in the criminal act in question. If you don’t know the name of your Representative, you can find it here: https://www.illinoispolicy.org/maps/, and for your convenience here is a draft letter on this topic that you can modify and send. CLICK HERE.
Please also take advantage of the new year to check out and subscribe to some of the regular reports on justice-related issues and opportunities, including the following:
- The Weekly Envisioning Justice Digest of Illinois Humanities – https://envisioningjustice.org/– Sign up here
- The Weekly News Report of the Illinois Justice Project – https://www.iljp.org/news
- The Week In Review from The Marshall Project – https://www.themarshallproject.org/
- Vera News of the Vera Institute of Justice – https://www.vera.org/
- The Weekly Crime Report of John Jay College of Law – subscribe at https://thecrimereport.org/register/
- The Newsletter of the Social Justice Resources Center– subscribe at: https://socialjusticeresourcecenter.org/
- The Newsletter of the Tutor Mentor Institute – to subscribe Click here.