Category Archives: Prisoners

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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