Posts Tagged ‘#criminal justice’

Sep 11

Introducing the Chicago Community Bond Fund, or, Why We Should Let Most People Out of Cook County Jail

By Chicago Community Bond Fund — CCBF is a revolving fund that will pay bond for people charged with crimes in Cook County Jail (CCJ). In addition, we will engage in education about the role of bond in the criminal legal system and ultimately advocate for the abolition of money bond. CCBF supports individuals whose lives and communities have been impacted by structural violence and whose bonds are completely out of proportion to their ability to pay.

Nov 02

Introducing… Chain Reaction

By Jane Hereth and Lewis Wallace — “Chain Reaction: Alternatives to Calling Police” was a grassroots effort organized in Chicago from 2011–2013 by members of Project NIA and the Chicago Prison Industrial Complex Teaching Collective. We founded this participatory research and popular education project with the goal of supporting conversations about alternatives to calling police on young people. When police intervene in situations […]


Dead or Alive? Women-and-Kids

By Erica Meiners — In November 2013, Erik Muñoz found his partner Marlise collapsed on their kitchen floor. After arriving at the John Peter Smith Hospital she was declared dead, but since she was fourteen weeks pregnant the Texas hospital refused to remove her from any “life sustaining” measures. The health of her fetus superseded her advanced life directives […]

Drawing by Rachel Washington

Reflections on Three Workshops About Incarceration

By Bianca Diaz — Since June 2013, I have been doing an internship with Project NIA’s founder, Mariame Kaba, on writing and illustrating a children’s book for kids with incarcerated parents. Project NIA’s mission is to reduce our society’s reliance on arrest, detention and incarceration when addressing youth crime by providing opportunities for all of us to see that […]

Captivity as Service? Interview About Detention Centers for Undocumented Children

By AREA — A short piece about the intersection of the detention/prison industrial complex with the nonprofit industrial complex. Undocumented children are being incarcerated in increasing numbers, and often in adult facilities where they face extreme and brutal conditions. There is an urgent need to get these children released from the grip of Homeland Security. And yet the case of children detained as "unaccompanied minors" illustrates some of the contradictions: in order to ameliorate conditions for detained children, nonprofits become funded to administer their captivity. In this and many other ways, the sphere of advocacy becomes complicit with, and financially co-interested in, the very structures it is supposedly working against.

Oct 14

CPS School Closings and the Politics of Fear

By Michael Johnson — This essay was first published in 2013 on the Prison Culture blog at I have been closely following the latest round of school closings as a community organizer with the Resident Association of Greater Englewood (RAGE). Throughout the process, I have noticed a tendency by those arguing against the closures to rely on particular arguments […]

pencil rubbing by Jacob Klippenstein

No Children Allowed

By Jacob Klippenstein — When I was at the Cook County Criminal Courts (2650 S California Ave) I saw signs on a couple of the courtrooms. I noticed them first outside Room 307 when I heard a child reading line by line, “No children… allowed… in the… courtroom.”  Since phones and cameras are now banned from the courthouse, I […]

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Fearless Leading by the Youth: An Interview

By Victoria "Torii" Crider — This interview transcript was edited down to about one-third the of original length. This transcript comes from an interview that Rozalinda Borcila and Jacob Klippenstein recorded with Torii Crider, an organizer with Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY) at the Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) office (at 61st and St. Lawrence) on July 31, […]

Jan 08

View From The Ground

By Daniel Tucker — 07/11/05 AREA Please introduce The View From The Ground project and provide some background on how it has functioned. Jamie The View grew out of a particular history, a particular set of relationships, a particular place and time. Throughout the 90′s, I was deeply engaged in the life of the Stateway Gardens public housing development. […]

Introducing: Roll Call Chicago

By Cassie Fennell — It’s hard to imagine a sea change emerging from the ranks of men and women with little to no earning power, little to no voting power, and few reliable sofas on which to stretch out their limbs each evening. Yet since winter, members of Roll Call, a group of ex-offenders and their allies, have met […]

Awful Acts and the Trouble with Normal

By Erica Meiners — In my Canadian hometown, where my dad’s neighborhood store, Iron Mountain, still sells WD-40 next to the tampons, Clifford Olson “snatched up girls like you,” my principal Mr. Gayle told my best friend Carla Salvail and I. “He will capture you and then…” Olson permeated the spring and summer of 1981. School assemblies lectured us […]

Surveilling Crime Control

By Mess Hall — (…with insights and inspiration from Mess Hall and Rogers Park residents.) Mayor Daley has declared that in the not-too-distant future, there will be a surveillance camera on every block of the city. But as of today, Chicago’s blue-light surveillance cameras are almost exclusively located in low-income communities of color. Rising investments in this surveillance technology, […]

Reflections on Criminal Justice Reform and Philanthropy

By Deborah Harrington — Via email, AREA Chicago speaks to Deborah Harrington, President of the Woods Fund, to get her insights on criminal justice reform in Illinois. What (major) opportunities do you see for creating more coordinated city-wide work around criminal justice issues? How might funds and resources be used to help city-wide efforts realize their full potential? I […]

Covering the Landscape: Justice, Change, and Philanthropy in Chicago

By Jeanne Kracher — Since the 1960s and 70s, I think there has been a change in community consciousness, including in the communities that have been most affected in terms of who goes into prison. “Law and order” became the mantra. Even criminalized communities bought into law and order policies. There are realities about how crime changed in communities. […]

Chicago Justice Project

By Joseph Lipari — AREA Chicago talks to Joseph Lipari and Tracy Siska, creators of a web platform intended to network reports of police abuse throughout the city. Allegations that Chicago police officers engaged in acts of torture at the old Area Two and Three Headquarters date back to 1973. An official inquiry, released in May 2006 and focused […]

A Meadow In Lincoln Park

By Peter Zelchenko — I am pacing. I’m spending the night of August 21, 2008, pacing the floor of a 10’ x 8’4” x 10’ cell in the downtown police lockup at 1718 S. State. I’ve spent some time mentally calculating this, based on the size of a cinder block, eight by sixteen inches including mortar lines. I will […]