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John Howard Association

Changing Direction: A Roadmap for Reforming Illinois' Prison System

John Maki | Posted 12.02.2014 | Chicago
John Maki

After decades of using incarceration as the country's primary response to crime, leading Republicans and Democrats are embracing safe, fair, and cost-effective prison reform. As Illinois prepares to elect its next governor, voters should ask the candidates what their vision and goals are for the state's crowded and under-resourced $1.3-billion prison system.

Our Fearful Inheritance: What the Case for Reparations Means for Jail and Prison Reform

John Maki | Posted 08.12.2014 | Chicago
John Maki

In the story of North Lawndale and what it represents, the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center stands for more than the bleak prospects of the neighborhood's young people. The facility is at once a product of the history that Ta-Nehisi Coates chronicles in "The Case for Reparations" and one of most perversely effective methods we use to avoid acknowledging it.

Director Candice Jones and 4 Opportunities for Reform in the Illinois Dept. of Juvenile Justice

John Maki | Posted 04.14.2014 | Chicago
John Maki

As Illinois' only non-partisan juvenile and adult prison watchdog, the JHA congratulates Candice Jones on her appointment to become the new Director of the IDJJ. While Illinois has made important progress in building a better juvenile justice system, IDJJ's mission still remains more of an aspiration than a reality.

A Victory for Safe, Smart and Cost-Effective Criminal Justice Law and Policy

John Maki | Posted 01.23.2014 | Chicago
John Maki

The Illinois House has adjourned without voting on pending legislation that would increase mandatory-minimum prison sentences for illegal gun possession. This is a victory for safe, smart, cost-effective criminal justice law and policy.

Mandatory Minimums Will Not Solve Chicago's Epidemic of Gun Violence

John Maki | Posted 12.14.2013 | Chicago
John Maki

The question the public and lawmakers need to address is who would you rather meet on the streets of Chicago?

System Failure: Sexual Victimization in Illinois Juvenile Prisons

John Maki | Posted 08.13.2013 | Chicago
John Maki

In a recently released national study, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) found that 15 percent of youth incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) reported they were victims of sexual assault by staff or other detained youth.

Do Elderly Inmates Belong in Illinois' Prisons?

Rev. Amy Ziettlow | Posted 11.22.2012 | Chicago
Rev. Amy Ziettlow

Although effective prison hospice programs exist, a more cost-effective, compassionate choice would be partnering with hospice agencies outside of the prison system who would bring holistic care to the inmate while facilitating life closure.

State Lawmaker: Early Release Prisoner Program Should Return

Posted 04.12.2012 | Chicago

With Illinois on the brink of closing some 14 of its correctional facilities amid already widespread reports of overcrowding, a state lawmaker is push...

Advocates Praise, Union Criticizes Quinn's Planned Youth Prison Closings

Posted 02.27.2012 | Chicago

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's plan to close ten of the state's correctional facilities, two of which are juvenile detention centers, has drawn a mixed...

Top Ten Things to Know About Illinois' Prisons in 2011

John Maki | Posted 02.26.2012 | Chicago
John Maki

Although Illinois' adult prison system has long exceeded its design capacity of 33,663 inmates, the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) reached more than 49,000 for the first time in 2011.

'Alarming' Rise In Assaults At Illinois' Largest Maximum-Security Prison

Posted 12.05.2011 | Chicago

A report by an oversight group evaluating Illinois' largest maximum-security prison found an "alarming" rise in staff and inmate assaults, likely a pr...

Director Tony Godinez and the Challenges Facing the Illinois Department of Corrections

John Maki | Posted 07.05.2011 | Chicago
John Maki

Director Godinez is exceptionally qualified, with almost 40 years of corrections experience. This experience should serve him well as he confronts the significant challenges facing IDOC.

Top Ten Things to Know About Illinois' Prisons

John Maki | Posted 05.25.2011 | Chicago
John Maki

While states across the country are reducing their prison populations, Illinois has added more than 3,000 inmates, the equivalent of a large prison.