Author Archives: Brian Dolinar

About Brian Dolinar

Brian Dolinar has been a community journalist since 2004.

Community Wins Free Phone Calls at the Champaign County Jail

This article originally appeared at Smile Politely on December 5, 2023; reprinted with permission. It has been lightly edited for style. “He calls first thing in the morning just to say good morning,” said Blaine Sherase Lee, whose son was … Continue reading

 705 total views

Posted in incarceration | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Community Wins Free Phone Calls at the Champaign County Jail

Securus is Charging Families Six Dollars for Phone Calls from Jail

This article originally appeared at Smile Politely on September 28, 2023; reprinted with permission. It has been lightly edited for style. Phone calls are a lifeline for those incarcerated to stay in touch with their families and loved ones. The … Continue reading

 329 total views

Posted in incarceration | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Securus is Charging Families Six Dollars for Phone Calls from Jail

A “Pattern of Problematic Conduct”: Urbana Officer Tests Police Accountability (Shortened Print Version)

This article originally appeared at WILL/Illinois Public Media on July 5, 2023. Reprinted with permission. It has been edited for space and style. See the full version here. “I had a big goose egg on my forehead,” Tianna Morrow recalled, … Continue reading

 646 total views,  1 views today

Posted in African American Women in Champaign-Urbana, African Americans, BLM, Justice, Police, police accountability, Police Brutality, Police brutality, Policing, Racism, Section, Violence | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on A “Pattern of Problematic Conduct”: Urbana Officer Tests Police Accountability (Shortened Print Version)

A “Pattern of Problematic Conduct”: Urbana Officer Tests Police Accountability (Full Version)

This story is part of a partnership, focusing on police misconduct in Champaign County, between the Champaign-Urbana Civic Police Data Project of the Invisible Institute, a Chicago-based nonprofit public accountability journalism organization, and Illinois Public Media. This investigation was supported … Continue reading

 466 total views

Posted in African American Women in CU, African Americans, BLM, Justice, Police, police accountability, Police Brutality, Police brutality, Policing, Racism, Section, Violence | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on A “Pattern of Problematic Conduct”: Urbana Officer Tests Police Accountability (Full Version)

No Such Thing As a “Safe” Jail: 31-Year-Old Woman Dies at Champaign County Jail

On October 13, 2022, Tillie Deitz, a mother of three young children, died in the Champaign County jail. As I found in my own review of publicly available documents, Deitz admitted to being a drug user upon entering the jail … Continue reading

 503 total views

Posted in Drug policy, incarceration, Police | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on No Such Thing As a “Safe” Jail: 31-Year-Old Woman Dies at Champaign County Jail

“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

 583 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

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

 1,001 total views,  2 views today

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

COVID-19: Coming to a Jail Near You

This article was first published in The Progressive on January 4, 2021. Reprinted with permission. Wayne Colson, Sr. recalls he felt “helpless” with his son sitting in jail as news of the COVID-19 pandemic was breaking. A loyal father, Colson … Continue reading

Posted in COVID-19 | Comments Off on COVID-19: Coming to a Jail Near You

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

Illinois Prison Phone Rates Are Lowest Following Grassroots Activism

“There were a lot of times my sons tried calling me,” recalled Annette Taylor, who regularly receives calls from her two sons in prison, “but there was no money on the account.” Those were some of the “hardest calls,” she … Continue reading

Posted in incarceration | Comments Off on Illinois Prison Phone Rates Are Lowest Following Grassroots Activism

Local Sheriff Cooperating with ICE

On the day Manuel went to have his electronic monitor cut off, he was feeling “uneasy” about being picked up by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). It only took minutes for the sheriff’s deputy at the county jail … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, incarceration | Comments Off on Local Sheriff Cooperating with ICE

After Four Months in Detention, 8 Year-Old Girl Reunited With Family in C-U

This eight-year-old girl (on the right in the photo) traveled 4,000 miles and spent four months in detention to get a hug from her mother. They were reunited last week at Willard Airport in Champaign. The news reports about children … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Refugees | Comments Off on After Four Months in Detention, 8 Year-Old Girl Reunited With Family in C-U

Open Scene Open Mic w/ DJ Silkee

Open Scene Open Mic w/ Host DJ Silkee Wednesday, Nov. 14, 6-8pm at IMC Join the Urbana Public Arts Program and Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center for the next installment of Open Scene Open Mic, a downtown showcase of poetry, spoken … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Open Scene Open Mic w/ DJ Silkee

Call For Artist to Design IMC’s New Outdoor Sign!

The IMC is now seeking proposals from artists to design and paint a new outdoor sign. We seek a diversity of applications by a variety of artists. The chosen design will serve as a main identifier for the public to … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Call For Artist to Design IMC’s New Outdoor Sign!

ICE on Main Street: Undocumented Immigrants Arrested in Urbana

  When Juan showed up for work one morning at Siam Terrace on Main Street in downtown Urbana, two men were waiting for him in the parking lot. They were dressed in plainclothes, but wearing guns on their hips. They … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration | Comments Off on ICE on Main Street: Undocumented Immigrants Arrested in Urbana

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

Posted in Justice, Prisoners | Comments Off on New Bill Takes Effect Cutting Cost of Calls from Illinois Prisons

Soros Fellowship Awarded to UCIMC’s James Kilgore for Electronic Monitoring Campaign

July 25, 2017 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE We are proud to announce that James Kilgore has been awarded the prestigious Open Society Foundation Soros Justice Fellowship for 2017-18. Building on work supported by Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (UCIMC) for the last … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Soros Fellowship Awarded to UCIMC’s James Kilgore for Electronic Monitoring Campaign

No Accident: White Cop Shoots Another Black Man in Champaign

The shooting of unarmed Black men by white police in the United States is a story that keeps repeating over and over. The recent case of a local 22-year-old African American man shot in the shoulder by Champaign police officer … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, Police, Policing, Uncategorized | Comments Off on No Accident: White Cop Shoots Another Black Man in Champaign

The Cops Killed Richie

No matter how much training or technology they get, the cops just can’t stop killing Black people. On a Wednesday morning, November 16, 2016, at approximately 8:30 a.m., Champaign police received a call about a “disorderly” subject, Richard “Richie” Turner, … Continue reading

Posted in African Americans, African Americans, Homelessness, Police, Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Cops Killed Richie

IMC Announcements

Final Open Scene Workshop with Hill L. Waters April 14 (6-8pm) and April 16 (2-4pm) Independent Media Center, 202 S. Broadway There is a last Open Scene workshop with Hill L. Waters (April 14-16), a Black feminist love praxis project … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on IMC Announcements