Category Archives: incarceration

Donald Trump v. Shamar Betts

I, Shamar Betts, incited a riot through a Facebook post encouraging my people to join alongside the rest of the world in an attempt to express our feelings on the tragic death of George Floyd in May of 2020. Although … Continue reading

 44 total views,  1 views today

Posted in African American, African Americans, BLM, Court System, incarceration, January 6 insurrection, Justice, Prisoners, Racism, Trump, Voices of Color, Youth | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Donald Trump v. Shamar Betts

Reckless Law, Shameless Order: Behind the Scenes

  One afternoon in April of 2021 Faranak Miraftab called me to ask if I was interested in holding an art workshop with formerly incarcerated artists in continuation of the “IDENSCITY,” a conceptual art space that I had been developing … Continue reading

 157 total views

Posted in African Americans, African Americans, Arts, Immigrants, incarceration, Local Arts, Prison Arts, Prisoners, Voices, Voices of Color, Women | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Reckless Law, Shameless Order: Behind the Scenes

Two Stories from Statesville Prison

Saving Your Mind: Mental Health in the Age of Corona “This is some next-level shit. I thought I’d seen it all in my 20 years in prison,” said Murder (no real names used), my Quarantine Sanitation Specialist co-worker, as we … Continue reading

 175 total views,  1 views today

Posted in Arts, incarceration, Local Arts, Prison Arts, Prisoners | Comments Off on Two Stories from Statesville Prison

Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners’ Mission to Bring Books (and Bibliophilia) Behind Bars

When it comes to helping people make a fresh start after incarceration and avoid returning to prison, few approaches are as effective and vital as education. Many people who wind up in the prison system do not have enough literacy … Continue reading

 234 total views

Posted in Education, incarceration, Libraries, UC-IMC, UCIMC | Comments Off on Urbana-Champaign Books to Prisoners’ Mission to Bring Books (and Bibliophilia) Behind Bars

Shamar Betts Case Moves to Federal Appeals Court

On April 8, the case of Urbana resident Shamar Betts moved to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Betts was arrested in June, 2020 in the midst of a national crackdown on protests against the murder … Continue reading

 492 total views,  1 views today

Posted in African Americans, BLM, incarceration, Justice, Racism | Comments Off on Shamar Betts Case Moves to Federal Appeals Court

“It’s a Money Grab”: Billions in COVID Relief Going to Fund Police and Prisons

If you’re from inner-city Birmingham, Alabama, there’s a “99-percent chance” you have a family member or friend who has been incarcerated, according to Veronica Johnson, deputy director for the Alabama Justice Initiative, which has been fighting against a proposal to … Continue reading

 181 total views

Posted in African Americans, COVID-19, incarceration, Justice, Police, police accountability, Policing | Comments Off on “It’s a Money Grab”: Billions in COVID Relief Going to Fund Police and Prisons

Fines, Fees, and Escalating Bail Bonds: Champaign County Urgently Needs to Implement the Pretrial Fairness Act

The Champaign County Bailout Coalition (CCBC) is a grassroots organization that uses community donations to pay low bail amounts for incarcerated individuals who don’t have access to financial resources in their moment of crisis. Founded in 2018, CCBC now pays … Continue reading

 380 total views

Posted in Champaign County, Court System, incarceration, Justice, Poverty | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Fines, Fees, and Escalating Bail Bonds: Champaign County Urgently Needs to Implement the Pretrial Fairness Act

Taking the Band-Aid Off of Mass Incarceration

On a bad day, those of us seeking justice can find little to be hopeful about. The recent acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse again reminds us that the law is designed to protect white lives. Even after widespread protests and demonstrations … Continue reading

 311 total views

Posted in African American, BLM, Champaign County, incarceration, Justice, Police brutality, Policing, Section, State Government | Comments Off on Taking the Band-Aid Off of Mass Incarceration

Hunger Strike, Ceiling Collapse, Lawsuit Spotlight Deteriorating Conditions at Logan Women’s Prison in Illinois

“I’ve been incarcerated since the age of 18, I grew up in the penal system,” shares Mishunda Davis. “I went from the Cook County jail to Dwight prison, to Lincoln, and I have never seen as many condemned buildings as … Continue reading

 532 total views,  1 views today

Posted in incarceration, prison strikes, Women | Comments Off on Hunger Strike, Ceiling Collapse, Lawsuit Spotlight Deteriorating Conditions at Logan Women’s Prison in Illinois

Bail Systems as Wealth-Based Incarceration, or “No Money, No Justice”

  The Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits “excessive” bail, a prohibition that dates back to English common law, and is largely honored in the breach. In Champaign County Jail, on any given day this past winter, there were … Continue reading

Posted in Court System, IL, incarceration, Justice, National, Women | Comments Off on Bail Systems as Wealth-Based Incarceration, or “No Money, No Justice”

“It’s Scary Having a Fifteen-Year-Old Son”: Community Voices on Gun Violence in C-U

In the midst of the global pandemic, Champaign-Urbana has its own local epidemic: gun violence. As of July 20, police had received 95 reports in 2020 of shooting incidents in Champaign alone. This is more than double the total for … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, African Americans, Gun violence, incarceration, Poetry, Violence, Voices of Color | Comments Off on “It’s Scary Having a Fifteen-Year-Old Son”: Community Voices on Gun Violence in C-U

Disease and Denial in Prison

This letter was received from Stateville Prison in early April, reporting on conditions there during the COVID-19 crisis.q I am a student in Northwestern University’s Bachelors program. Like many other students, I also work, though in my case, both my … Continue reading

Posted in COVID-19, health care, incarceration | Comments Off on Disease and Denial in Prison

Blurs and Erases

We find ourselves at an interesting moment. Pivotal, in fact. As we collectively attempt to navigate uncharted waters, I am constantly thinking about how prepared I am. For a large portion of my life, lockdown was my reality. This in … Continue reading

 805 total views,  2 views today

Posted in African Americans, COVID-19, incarceration | Comments Off on Blurs and Erases

Champaign County Bailout Coalition Plans Noise Demonstration Rally

The Public i has received this press release from the Champaign County Bailout Coalition. We have published the statement in its entirety below. To download a copy of this statement, click here. Champaign County Bailout Coalition Noise Demonstration Rally Demanding … Continue reading

Posted in COVID-19, health, incarceration | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Champaign County Bailout Coalition Plans Noise Demonstration Rally

Champaign County Bailout Coalition Open Letter to County Officials Regarding COVID-19 Pandemic

The Champaign County Bailout Coalition (CCBC), a coalition of groups and individuals in focused on bailing out individuals in our Champaign County jails who cannot afford bail, has released an open letter which we have published below.

Posted in COVID-19, incarceration | Comments Off on Champaign County Bailout Coalition Open Letter to County Officials Regarding COVID-19 Pandemic

UC Books to Prisoners Ships Thousands of Books in Mega-Packing Day

On Monday March 16, with the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States beginning to skyrocket, many who were able were already taking steps to work remotely and shelter in place. But down in the basement of the Independent … Continue reading

Posted in incarceration, Nonprofit | Comments Off on UC Books to Prisoners Ships Thousands of Books in Mega-Packing Day

Criminal Justice Reform to Return Dignity to Community

This is an edited version of the statement by 103rd District Illinois State Representative Carol Ammons made to the Champaign County Board on November 21, 2019. For more on criminal justice reform ideas, see http://www.staterepcarolammons.com/. Good evening, members of the … Continue reading

Posted in incarceration | Comments Off on Criminal Justice Reform to Return Dignity to Community

The Trump Administration Just Opened a New Immigrant Prison in Rural Michigan

From his office at the Cristo Rey Church in Lansing, Michigan, Oscar Castañeda runs a campaign against a new federal immigrant prison, part of President Donald Trump’s escalation of immigration enforcement. In May, 2019, the Trump administration awarded a ten-year, … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, incarceration | Comments Off on The Trump Administration Just Opened a New Immigrant Prison in Rural Michigan

FirstSteps Community House

“Our community needs a transitional house … we’re gonna reach out and help people get employment, help them bond back with their families and be able to give back to the community.” — Casandis Hunt, peer mentor at FirstFollowers, talking … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Community, Housing, incarceration | Comments Off on FirstSteps Community House

Incarcerated Activists Raise the Bar on Parole

Over-incarceration in this country takes many forms. One form that is particularly egregious in Illinois is that of keeping people imprisoned for years, or even decades, beyond the time that they pose any risk to public safety—and even beyond their … Continue reading

Posted in incarceration, Justice | Comments Off on Incarcerated Activists Raise the Bar on Parole