In Prison Reform, Money Trumps Civil Rights

In her recent op-ed article in the New York Times, "In Prison Reform, Money Trumps Civil Rights," Michelle Alexander, professor at Law at Ohio State University, addresses the racial issue, and calls for a renewal of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. To a large extent, her points coincide with the purposes of The Changing Minds Campaign: 1. To educate ourselves about the situation, which has only gotten worse over the last 25 years. 2. To understand the nature of the barriers we face ("the usual suspects"), some of whom Alexander enumerates. 3. To change our own minds -- that is, to believe that we can help effect change. 4. To persuade others to change their minds and join the campaign. The article is worth reading, as it states succinctly the truth from a racial perspective, which is also the essence of Ms. Alexander's book, "The New Jim Crow."

May 17th, 2011|News, Articles & Essays, Policy|0 Comments

“Mission Impossible” for new IDOC Director Godinez?

The Illinois Institute joins many in congratulating Salvador “Tony” Godinez on his appointment as the new Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), and we wish him every success in his new post. At the same time, we cannot help but wonder if he has much of a chance for real success. Although Godinez’s experience is impressive (40 years of corrections experience, most recently the Director of the Cook County Dept. of Corrections), the challenges he faces are daunting at best, and there is little on his record showing significant accomplishments in making the kind of major changes and improvements that are badly needed in Illinois prisons and jails.

May 17th, 2011|News, Articles & Essays, Policy|0 Comments

Prof. Heyrman Puts Focus on Mental Health Issues at Stateville

On March 30, Prof. Mark Heyrman of the University of Chicago Law School, a nationally recognized authority on mental health in various institutions, including prisons, was the invited guest of the Stateville Prison class, Life Transformation Through Communication, which has been led by IICLA President Jim Chapman for nearly 20 years.

April 19th, 2011|News, Articles & Essays, Policy, Stateville Class|0 Comments

JPI Critical of Federal Budget Focus

The Justice Policy Institute has released a fact sheet criticizing the Obama Administration’s proposed Dept. of Justice budget, which supports continuation of failed policies as opposed to programs and policies that have proven to be more effective.

April 12th, 2011|News, Articles & Essays, Policy|0 Comments