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This is the blog for the Loyola edition of Stateville Speaks, a print publication written in collaboration with current Illinois prisoners about topics in criminal justice and prison life.  Join our facebook page!


This overhead view of Stateville would never be allowed into our print publication because all aerial views of prisons are censored.


Tamms supermax legislation

HB 2633 was introduced by Rep. Julie Hamos and 20 co-sponsors immediately signed on. Tamms bill factsheet and learn about this bill.

Lullabies Behind Bars

Check out this article featured in Ms. Magazine that describes innovative programs for women who enter prison while pregnant.

Women: Be a Pen Pal to a Prisoner

The Action Committee for Women in Prison (ACWIP) sponsors a pen pal program that matches up women serving long sentences with out women.  If you are uncomfortable using your own address, you can use ACWIP’s P.O. box and they will forward letters to your home address.  For more information contact penpal@acwip.net or visit http://www.acwip.net/penpals.htm.  The list of women waiting for pen pals gets longer each day.


Since I didn’t get to share my reflections with the class or the surprisingly large amount of people who came for the Stateville Speaks event, I’ll post mine here.

I enrolled in the Stateville Speaks class because I thought the subject material we’d learn would be interesting, the thought of working as a class to publish an edition of Stateville Speaks sounded exciting, and I had taken Laurie Jo before and I knew that she is a very unique teacher and deeply invested in prison system issues, especially Tamms.  Even though I’m a film major and I knew nothing about the prison system or journalism or really anything pertaining to the class, I knew it would be a good experience.  At first, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t so sure it was really a good choice for me to be taking the class.  Everything seemed chaotic and somewhat disorganized, and we had random guest speakers every week and all these letters to organize.. I just wasn’t really sure what we were doing or if any of the things we were doing in class would help with the publication.  Looking back though, everything we did in that class helped in some way towards our publication- whether it be sparking in interest in certain topics through the various readings we were given, or through the diverse speakers that we heard, or learning how to make a professional, kick ass publication through some gurus we heard from.  I can safetly say I learned something every time I stepped into the classroom, even though some days it wasn’t yet clear how it pertained to the publication. Now I understand that in order to create a truly great publication, we had to explore all areas of the prison system, and hear accounts from all different types of people involved in it.  One day I was crying to Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins’ tragic story of her sister’s death, the next I was learning what challenges the IDOC faces and how they go about their business,  another day I’d be learning how Akeem turned his life around by creating the Save Our Sons organization once he got out of prison for charges relating to drug distribution.   It was a fascinating class, and I think every single student got something out of every Wednesday.  I can’t believe Laurie-Jo was able to squeeze all of these great resources into one semester, but she did and I believe it has made all the difference in our publication. 

The event was amazing.  I had no idea the turnout would be so great, or that the speakers lined up to talk would do such a great job, or that the audience would be so genuinely interested in these topics, judging by their sincere questions and responses. It made me proud to have been in the class and to have been working on the publication because I felt like the important messages of needed change in the corrections sphere were actually getting across to a large amount of people.  Everyone involved, great job.  Seriously.  That was really something, and I’m glad to have been part of it.

Just wanted to say…

I was amazed with the presentation yesterday and all the support and response all our hard work is getting. Congrats to all of you for your fantastic work!

I received the following Facebook message yesterday from Peter Wagner, the Executive Director of the Prison Policy Initiative (in regards to my paper about Felony Disenfranchisement):

Thanks for the mention of the Census Bureau’s prison miscount in your Stateville Speaks editorial.

For what it’s worth, the prison miscount’s impact on state and federal funding is actually extremely small. Most government programs are too sophisticated to be fooled by this; but the impact on the political process and redistricting is quite large. We have a report about prison-based gerrymandering in Illinois scheduled for release in January.

Stay tuned. http://www.prisonersofthecensus.org


-Peter Wagner

Mentally Ill in Custody

This is an article I found to be interesting and relevant to our discussion of problems with confining mentally ill individuals.


Pre-Release Party on Dec 10, 2008


Map of 25. E. Pearson

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