Please vote for your favorite piece in each of the categories – Artists in Prison and Artists in Solidarity – vote by October 7th.
Winners will be announced by October 15th.
We extended the deadline until September 30th for incarcerated artists with the caveat that the sooner they get their pieces in the more chances they have for votes.
Because of Covid we had more trouble getting the word out as people in prison were more restricted from each other so they couldn’t as easily pass the word along.
In compassionate release cases, judges have to decide if an inmate’s situation presents “extraordinary and compelling reasons” to reduce their prison sentence.
In some cases reviewed, judges found that an inmate’s medical conditions met the standard given the pandemic.
Judges are making medical assessments about how much of a threat COVID-19 poses to an individual inmate and then deciding how to balance that against the public safety risk of sending that person back into the community; inmates are usually released to home confinement or under the supervision of a probation officer.
And judges are reaching different conclusions about how to measure an inmate’s risk of exposure in state and federal prisons, which have seen some of the worst clusters of COVID-19 cases nationwide.
State Representative La Shawn Ford said he wants to abolish history classes in Illinois until a new curriculum is developed.
“We’re concerned that current school history teachings lead to white privilege and a racist society,” Ford said.
Ford met with local leaders, calling on school districts to throw out their history books and instead focus on civics and teaching students how to be part of the democratic process.
Ford introduced a bill in the Illinois House amending the school code to require the study of the American Civil Rights Movement.
Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key.
The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed.
You can lose it.
Former public defender Keeda Haynes, who was also formerly incarcerated, is running for Congress in Tennessee, challenging a nearly two-decade Democratic incumbent and hoping to become the first Black woman the state sends to Congress.
After her release, Haynes completed her law degree and practiced as a public defender in Nashville for over six years. Haynes thinks her time in prison — and her experience defending others caught up in the country’s racist criminal justice system — are precisely what would make her a great congresswoman.
“I am running because looking around I can see that people that look like me, that have the same issues I have, we were not being represented in this district.”
1. Release on medical furlough anyone with physical conditions making them vulnerable to death by COVID until such time as authorities deem the threat from the virus is over. Illinois abolished the death penalty: no one should be given a death sentence by Covid-19.
2. Restore the 180 days earned discretionary credits of Good Time where eligible.
3. Release anyone over 55 with less than a year on their sentence.
4. Release anyone within three months of their sentence completion.
5. All releases should have the least restrictive conditions possible, so as to allow those released to be able to seek medical attention and contribute to family finances.
6. Provide testing for all prisoners who want to be tested, and regularly test all staff. Combine this with robust contact tracing, when anyone tests positive. Make the test results public, including number of tests, number of positive/negative/pending, and deaths.
7. Stop quarantining sick people in solitary confinement cells, and house them in a setting such as the health care unit where they can be observed and receive any needed medical treatment on a timely basis.
8. Close down prisons, like Vienna, that can no longer be run as a safe institution.
Ear Hustle Podcast talks with people experiencing the COVID-19 outbreak at San Quentin, and other California prisons, firsthand.
Former intelligence contractor and whistleblower Reality Winner has tested positive for COVID-19.
Winner is currently incarcerated in a Federal Medical Prison in Fort Worth, Texas, where an outbreak has sickened hundreds of inmates and killed at least two.
Winner is seeking compassionate release during the coronavirus pandemic, citing underlying medical conditions.
Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson introduced the “Justice for Black Lives” resolution, which calls on the County Board to redirect money previously spent on Cook County Jail to the Black and Brown communities most harmed by mass incarceration.
While the resolution was being introduced and discussed, hundreds of people rallied outside Cook County Jail.