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.

The class, comprising men doing natural life or very long sentences, invited Prof. Heyrman to discuss issues of mental health in prisons and the unacceptable delay prisoners are forced to endure while awaiting routine physical and emotional health attention and treatment.

The class prepared four detailed programs for Heyrman’s visit – The Fatherhood Initiative; A Virtual Class; their newsletter; and Prison Conditions. In addition, five class members performed an original play they wrote expressly for Heyrman’s visit. Titled “Where’s the Doctor,” it dramatized the difficulties and consequences of Stateville prisoners’ inability to obtain timely medical attention. Through a series of questions the class members prepared for Heyrman and the dialog that followed, the class expressed their desire to establish a relationship with Heyrman, possibly leading to programs that address these issues. Heyrman said he was impressed by the presentation, and expressed his interest and intention to help and cooperate.