Category Archives: Prisoners

A Muslim on the Inside

“Praise the Gods, Martin Luther King is dead.” Monroe Haynes was an 18-year-old in Vietnam fighting a war he did not understand, with people he did not know, when he heard his commander proclaim this statement. Just barely an adult, … Continue reading

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New Bill Takes Effect Cutting Cost of Calls from Illinois Prisons

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 8, 2018 FOR MORE INFORMATION: Brian Dolinar, Program Director, Independent Media Center, (217) 621-5827, briandolinar@ucimc.org The Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (UCIMC) is proud to announce that as of January 1, 2018, a new state law took … Continue reading

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“You’re Still in Jail”: How Electronic Monitoring Is a Shackle on the Movement for Decarceration

(A longer version of this article originally appeared in Truthout.) By James Kilgore Despite the “law and order” vows of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, states and counties continue to take steps to reduce prison and jail populations. In August, Cook … Continue reading

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Interview with Marlon Mitchell from FirstFollowers

.  The local group FirstFollowers is only two years old, but it is already making in impact in our community.  In this interview Marlon Mitchell talks with Carol Inskeep about their mission and the ambitious range of projects the group … Continue reading

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Orange Crush: The Rise of Tactical Teams in Prison

Since Ferguson, there has been a public outcry over militarized police who shoot down African Americans on the streets of our cities, but less is known beyond prison walls about guards who regularly brutalize those incarcerated. In Illinois, there is … Continue reading

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Fighting Mass Incarceration Under Trump: New Strategies, New Alliance

By James Kilgore Yusef Shakur is a Detroit community organizer who spent several years in Michigan state prisons. “The prison-industrial complex has found the right person to feed it,” he said in response to the election results. “Trump is of … Continue reading

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Regulation of Prison Phone Calls Sweeps the Nation

The Justice Department’s recent recommendation to end the use of private facilities for US citizens in federal prisons has been hailed as a victory by reformers, but the widespread privatization of everyday services in prison, like hygiene products, food, laundry … Continue reading

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Statement on the Upcoming Ballot Referendum on “Public Facilities”

Statement delivered by Build Programs, Not Jails before the County Board on August 18, 2016.  Last week [on Tuesday, August 9, 2016] the County Board’s Committee of the Whole voted in favor of placing a referendum on the November ballot … Continue reading

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IMC Helps Pass Prison Phone Justice Bill in Illinois

State Representative Carol Ammons and Wandjell Harvey-Robinson attended the signing of HB6200 on August 22, 2016. The bill will cut in half the cost of phone calls from Illinois prisons. Thank you to Rep. Ammons and Wandjell for fighting for … Continue reading

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Prison Boycott in Illinois Targets Costs of Incarceration

During the month of April, at least 100 of those incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center, about an hour outside of Chicago, participated in a boycott of the overpriced phone calls, commissary goods, and vending machines. “Mass incarceration is a luxury … Continue reading

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Jail is Not Drug Treatment

If you were to believe those like Champaign County Board Chair Pattsi Petrie, who spoke recently at a meeting of Champaign County’s Racial Justice Task Force, those in the local jail are dangerous people that shouldn’t be let out on … Continue reading

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Racism and Mass Incarceration in the US Heartland: Historical Roots of the New Jim Crow

If asked what state had the highest rate of incarceration rate of black men, most people would likely cite somewhere in the old Confederacy, perhaps Mississippi or Louisiana. They would be about 1000 miles too far South. According to labor … Continue reading

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Incarceration figures

Some figures compiled in the Coalition for Prisoners’ Rights Newsletter (April 2016). Reprinted with Permission. I. Number Incarcerated in U.S., 2014 1.5 million people at an annual per person cost of $80 billion–approximately $51,250 each. (A “free world” minimum wage of $15/hr … Continue reading

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Supporting the Voices Inside: The Freedom Archives

“When the prison doors are opened the real dragon will fly out.” -Ho Chi Minh The movements to end mass incarceration were re-invigorated in early September as a settlement in the class action lawsuit Ashker v. Governor of California was … Continue reading

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Children With Incarcerated Parents Played Key Role in Phone Justice Victory!

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted recently to cap the rates of phone calls from prisons and jails after years of profiteering by telecommunications companies that have made millions off of those incarcerated and their families. In her comments before … Continue reading

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The Criminalization of Poverty

When most people think of mass incarceration they think of massive prisons–Stateville, Sing Sing, Angola. But mass incarceration has a local face: jails. In our own county Build Programs, Not Jails has fought for three years to halt plans to … Continue reading

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Art Contest for People Incarcerated

TMK Cleaning service is announcing an art contest for those incarcerated! We will accept submissions from January 1, 2016 through April 4, 2016. This is a contest to enter your best art through poetry, short writing, painting etc. Only published … Continue reading

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Islam and the Inmate: Mislabeled “Menaces”

By Anatta Oknokwo “Allahu Akbar!” Mack Trimble, Jr. enthusiastically calls his fellow inmates to prayer.  Soon the chapel of Jackson State Prison will hum with the melodic recitation of the Holy Qur’an as the community of Muslim males prostrate before … Continue reading

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“Inside Voices”: Poetry from the Champaign County Jail

INSIDE VOICES In a class facilitated by educators, Rachel Lauren Storm, Becca Sorgert, and Meadow Jones, incarcerated men have participated in a weekly poetry lab offered at the Champaign County Jail since January of 2012. Inside Voices is a ongoing column … Continue reading

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How Privatization Destroyed Award-Winning Suicide Prevention Program in Champaign County Jail

Several years ago, while working at our local Books to Prisoners, I met a volunteer who had formerly worked as a mental health counselor in the local jail. This was just after there had been three jail suicides within a … Continue reading

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