Category Archives: Justice

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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October Surprise: Harold “Killer” Koh to Lecture at UI Law School in Election Week

Harold Hongju Koh, Hillary Clinton’s former legal advisor at the State Department  has been invited as an ‘endowed speaker’ at the U.I. College of Law, twelve days prior to the November election. Koh, currently a Yale Law School professor and … 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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State’s Attorney Rietz Goes Easy on Violent Police and Jail Officers

Rape On March 30, 2015, there was a ceremony in the Champaign City Building during which Officer Jerad Gale was given the award for being “Officer of the Year.” About a year later, in May 2016 this same officer pleaded … Continue reading

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In Memory, Honor, and Love of Gene Vanderport

It is difficult to write about an untimely death of someone whom one has known for almost half a century. Gene was my student, my comrade, and my friend since the late 1960s. Only a couple of years after my … Continue reading

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The Myron Scruggs Case and the Champaign Police Department

by Belden Fields An  Ugly Image From the Past In the late 1960s, I joined the newly created chapter of the Champaign County ACLU and became the chair of its investigations committee. I received a call from a woman member … 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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Black Lives Matter C-U Summer Activities

Social justice collective, Black Lives Matter, the Champaign-Urbana chapter, has been gaining further traction within their outreach. From demonstrations and panel meetings, to youth involvement and local radio shows, Black Lives Matter’s efforts continue to make striving progress throughout the … 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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Barbara Kessel Accepts Humanitarian Award

Barbara Kessel’s acceptance statement of the 2016 James R. burgess, Jr.-Susan Freiberg Humanitarian Award given by the 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr. Countywide Celebration Committee: “I am happy for this opportunity to remind the audience that as we sit here … Continue reading

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