PUNISHMENT PANDEMIC

Every morning, more than a hundred men at Cummins Unit go to work on the Hoe Squad.

Dressed in white, they pile into an open trailer, and a tractor pulls them deep into the prison’s fields. Cummins sits on nearly eighteen thousand acres of land and has a hundred and ten thousand chickens, two thousand cattle, and forty-one horses.

The men on the Hoe Squad pull weeds, dig ditches, and pick cotton, cucumbers, and watermelons. Arkansas is one of only a few states where prison labor is free.

(Other states pay a nominal wage, such as ten cents an hour.)

A dozen field riders—officers on horseback, wearing cowboy hats—patrol the inmates, and, if anyone lags, they threaten to call the truck: a major will drive the inmate to a group of isolation cells known as…

The Hole.

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EQUALITY WINS

The Supreme Court on Monday ruled 6-3 in a landmark decision that gay and transgender employees are protected by civil rights laws against employer discrimination.

A set of cases that came before the court had asked the justices to decide whether Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination on the basis of “sex,” applies to gay and transgender people.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, who wrote the opinion for the six-member majority, said that it does.

“Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender,” Gorsuch wrote. “The answer is clear. An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

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DAVE CHAPPELLE: 8 Minutes & 46 Seconds

“Are you guys having a good time? Or is this weird?” Both, Dave. Both.

But we needed this, chairs outlined in red, Social Distanced. We needed this, you hitting the stage.

You never put your hands in your pockets, Dave. Only to reach for a lighter.

You’re a warrior.

8 Minutes & 46 Seconds!

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HASHTAG BLACK LIVES MATTER: Origin Story

The story of 3 brilliant black women who wrote a love letter to black people and reshaped the narrative.

How they brought people at the margins together to build their power.

Exposing how the police are there to help unjust systems thrive.

Recognizing the power of Social Media but always remembering we have to show up…physically.

Stepping away from the false narrative of respectability politics, into the gloriousness of our wretchedness.

Thanks you Alicia Garza. Thank you Opal Tometi. Thank you Patrisse Cullors.

#BlackLivesMatter

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POLICE BATONS, RUBBER BULLETS, TEAR GAS & NOW THE FINAL INSULT…MICROWAVE POPCORN!

As many as 13 Chicago police officers broke into Rep. Bobby Rush’s Chicago campaign offices to lounge on chairs, drink coffee and make popcorn while looters vandalized nearby businesses in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Rush and Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on Thursday.

The two Illinois Democrats stood together at a news conference to call out the actions, which took place at the end of May. While they spoke, images of officers “in repose,” as Rush said, were flashed on a screen.

“Looting was going on, buildings were being burned, officers were on the front lines truly taking a beating with bottles and pipes, and these guys were lounging — in a congressman’s office,” Lightfoot said. “The utter contempt and disrespect is hard to imagine.”

The mayor added that “it’s almost inconceivable with what was going on … where looting continued into Monday morning, having started Saturday night.”

“Look at this guy, sleeping on a congressman’s couch,” Lightfoot said, pointing to an image of an officer.

Rush added: “They even had the unmitigated gall to go and make coffee for themselves and to pop popcorn — my popcorn — in my microwave while looters were tearing apart businesses within their sight and within their reach.”

“When you swear an oath to serve and protect, you are a Chicago police officer — not a police officer only for certain neighborhoods and only for certain times,” said the mayor, whose voice shook with emotion and who at one point wiped away tears.

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HERE’S YOUR WALL, MR. PRESIDENT.

As the protests over police brutality and the killing of George Floyd ramped up in the past week, the administration of Donald Trump increasingly fortified the area around the White House.

Entrances to Pennsylvania Avenue and E Street NW, the Ellipse, and Lafayette Square are barricaded by about 1.7 miles of mesh metal fences and guarded by police.

Meanwhile, Mayor Muriel Bowser has expressed concern that some of the measures may be permanent.

The barriers have been a jarring sight for many Washingtonians, long used to free access to spaces that serve as a symbol of democracy and where First Amendment protests have played out for over a century. Throughout the week, protesters could often be heard pressed up against the fence, chanting…

“This Is What Democracy Looks Like.”

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CONFEDERACY OF RACIST BUFFOONERY

Protesters in Richmond toppled a statue of Jefferson Davis that stood since 1907.

Police watched as a tow truck took the statue away. Protesters toppled the statue.

The statue of Davis, who was president of the Confederacy, was the 3rd to be torn down.

A statue of Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham was toppled from its pedestal. A statue of Christopher Columbus was torn down and dumped in a lake.

Good. Riddance.

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Attorney-Client Calls Restored: Stateville & Hill

Illinois Department of Corrections officials say they have restored attorney-client phone calls at Stateville and Hill prisons, acknowledging that pandemic-related restrictions on inmate movement had forced officials to temporarily suspend the calls.

The calls, which require access to a part of the prison that has privacy and phone lines that are not monitored, had been put on hold due to COVID-19 precautions. Attorneys said they had been informed they might have to wait until the first week of May to speak to a client.

“Obviously these are extraordinary circumstances but people who are in custody still have a constitutional right to communicate,” said Sheila Bedi, a professor of law at Northwestern University and one of several Chicago attorneys who filed a lawsuit against IDOC over the COVID-related risks to thousands of inmates inside Illinois prisons.

Bedi said Monday that she was alerted that she would be able to speak to a client Wednesday.

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PUBLIC MEETING: AKA SOLIDARITY

Greetings Parole IL Supporters and Family,

In light of COVID-19, we’ve decided to take proactive steps to encourage social distancing, a practice encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to limit the spread of the disease.

As such, our meeting March 22nd, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. will be moved to a virtual platform.

This will allow us to continue with our planned agenda. There are two (2) ways to join the meeting…

1

Via Webcam

We will be utilizing Zoom Conferencing technology.  The link to the Zoom meeting is…

 https://zoom.us/j/766752246

(Will also be posted on Parole IL Facebook Page.)

Please note: You may need to download and install the software. Instructions on how to do so can be found…

https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362033-Getting-Started-on-Windows-and-Mac

2

Via phone

You can join the meeting by calling…

+1312.626.6799 (Chicago)

+1.929.205.6099 (New York)

Meeting ID: 766 752 246

The meeting will begin at 2:00pm but feel free to join a few minutes early to hang out.

We will be holding space to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on our loved ones who are incarcerated, and to be in community with you all to process what’s happening, share resources, and discuss ways to support each other on the outside and inside.

We hope you are doing well.

We thank you in advance for your flexibility and understanding as we try out this platform.

❤️

Earned Discretionary Release Bill

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly:

Section 5. The Unified Code of Corrections is amended by changing Sections 3-3-3 and 3-5-1 and by adding Section 3-3-3.1 as follows:

(730 ILCS 5/3-3-3)

(from Ch. 38, par. 1003-3-3)Sec. 3-3-3. Eligibility for parole or release.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in Section 3-3-3.1 and exceptExcept for those offenders who accept the fixed release date established by the Prisoner Review Board under Section 3-3-2.1, every person serving a term of imprisonment under the law in effect prior to the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1977 shall be eligible for parole when he or she has served:

(1) the minimum term of an indeterminate sentence less time credit for good behavior, or 20 years less

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time credit for good behavior, whichever is less; or

(2) 20 years of a life sentence less time credit for good behavior; or

(3) 20 years or one-third of a determinate sentence, whichever is less, less time credit for good behavior.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in Section 3-3-3.1, no Noperson sentenced under this amendatory Act of 1977 or who accepts a release date under Section 3-3-2.1 shall be eligible for parole.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in Section 3-3-3.1 and exceptExcept for those sentenced to a term of natural life imprisonment, every person sentenced to imprisonment under this amendatory Act of 1977 or given a release date under Section 3-3-2.1 of this Act shall serve the full term of a determinate sentence less time credit for good behavior and shall then be released under the mandatory supervised release provisions of paragraph (d) of Section 5-8-1 of this Code.

(d)

(Blank).No person serving a term of natural life imprisonment may be paroled or released except through executive clemency.

(e) Every person committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice under the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 and confined in the State correctional institutions or facilities if such juvenile has not been tried as an adult shall be eligible for aftercare release under Section 3-2.5-85 of this Code. However, if a juvenile has been tried as an adult he or she shall only be eligible for parole or mandatory supervised release as an adult under this Section.

(Source: P.A. 98-558, eff. 1-1-14; 99-628, eff. 1-1-17.)
(730 ILCS 5/3-3-3.1 new)Sec. 3-3-3.1. Earned Discretionary Release; parole hearings; sentences of 20

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years or longer; life imprisonment; early release.

(a) Notwithstanding to the contrary any provision of this Code, Article 122 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963, Article X of the Code of Civil Procedure, or Section 2-1401 of the Code of Civil Procedure, a person serving a term of imprisonment in a Department of Corrections institution or facility is eligible for Earned Discretionary Release and a parole hearings under this Article if he or she has served the greater lesser of:

(1) a term of imprisonment of at least 20 years; (2) 25% of his or her sentence; or

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(3) the minimum term of imprisonment for the most serious offense for which the person was

convicted.A person serving a term of natural life imprisonment is eligible for Earned Discretionary Release

and a parole hearings under this Article after serving a term of imprisonment of at least 20 years. A person seeking early release under this Section may petition the Prisoner Review Board in the same manner as a person eligible for parole under Section 3-3-2.1 of this Code and the parole hearing(s) shall be conducted as otherwise provided in this Article and the Open Parole Hearings Act unless otherwise provided in this Section.

(b) Veterans, as defined in Section 10 of the Veterans and Servicemembers Court Treatment Act, who have been honorably discharged are eligible for additional sentence credit as determined by the Prisoner Review Board.

(c) A riskneeds assessment instrument shall be used to evaluate every committed person described in this Section at the time of his or her admittance to an institution or facility of the Department for the offense or offenses that resulted in the person’s sentence in order to determine the risk factors and identify goals or behavior that the committed person needs to achieve or change in order to be released.

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(d) Each committed person eligible for Earned Discretionary Release under this Section on the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 101st General Assembly shall receive a riskneeds assessment within one year after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 101st General Assembly.

(e) Victims have the right to be present and involved in the initial outlining of the goals for a committed person described in this Section. Victims may have input into the goals that must be achieved by a committed person before the committed person may be released. The risk assessment instrument shall be the primary factor for determining what goals a committed person must accomplish before being released. Each interested party may have meaningful input before the determination of the petitioner’s final goals.

(f) On the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 101st General Assembly, prior evidence of the petitioner’s participation in rehabilitative programs shall be added to the petitioner’s master record file under Section 3-5-1 and shall be considered at the petitioner’s parole hearing(s).

(g) The source code of any riskneeds assessment instrument under subsection (d) shall be made available to a panel composed of representatives from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council for periodic review for racial, religious, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic biases.

(h) The Department has a duty to provide rehabilitative programming for each committed person described in this Section.

(i) A committed person described in this Section may not be barred from rehabilitative programming because his or her anticipated release is not in the near future.

(j) A committed person described in this Section during any period of his or her imprisonment in a Department institution or facility has the right to engage in rehabilitative programming after meeting with

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a counselor and developing an individualized plan of rehabilitation which shall be made available to the Prisoner Review Board prior to the parole hearing(s).

(k) On the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 101st General Assembly, each correctional facility shall comprehensively evaluate how well it facilitates relationships between committed persons in its custody and their family members. This includes, but is not limited to: visiting hours and procedures, phone call protocol and costs, letter writing, and other factors deemed relevant by the Director of Corrections.

(l) Every committed person described in this Section shall have the right to legal representation at his or her parole hearing(s). If the committed person cannot afford legal counsel, free legal service representatives may be utilized.

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(m) Every committed person described in this Section may attend and testify at his or her parole

hearing(s).
(n) Every committed person described in this Section, shall be provided full and complete access to his or

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her master record file at least 60 days prior to any parole hearing(s). The committed person has a right to challenge any false, misleading, or otherwise inaccurate information contained therein. The Department of Corrections shall establish an expedited process for committed persons to challenge such false, misleading, or otherwise inaccurate information so that it can be removed prior to any parole hearing(s).

(o) Nothing in this amendatory Act of the 101st General Assembly guarantees release. It only guarantees

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the opportunity of the committed person to present evidence at his or her parole hearing(s) to demonstrate his or her rehabilitation before the Prisoner Review Board and to seek Earned Discretionary Release.

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(730 ILCS 5/3-5-1)
(from Ch. 38, par. 1003-5-1)Sec. 3-5-1. Master Record File.

(a) The Department of Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Justice shall maintain a master record file on each person committed to it, which shall contain the following information:

(1) all information from the committing court;

(1.5) ethnic and racial background data collected in accordance with Section 4.5 of the Criminal Identification Act;

(2) reception summary;

(3) evaluation and assignment reports and recommendations;

(4) reports as to program assignment and progress;

(5) reports of disciplinary infractions and disposition, including tickets and Administrative Review Board action;

(6) any parole or aftercare release plan;
(7) any parole or aftercare release reports;
(8) the date and circumstances of final discharge; (9) criminal history;

(10) current and past gang affiliations and ranks;

(11) information regarding associations and family relationships;

(12) any grievances filed and responses to those grievances; and

(13) other information that the respective Department determines is relevant to the secure confinement and rehabilitation of the committed person.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (n) of Section 3-3-3.l, allAll files shall be confidential and access shall be limited to authorized personnel of the respective Department. Personnel of other

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correctional, welfare or law enforcement agencies may have access to files under rules and regulations of

the respective Department. The respective Department shall keep a record of all outside personnel who have access to files, the files reviewed, any file material copied, and the purpose of access. If the respective Department or the Prisoner Review Board makes a determination under this Code which affects the length of the period of confinement or commitment, the committed person and his counsel shall be advised of factual information relied upon by the respective Department or Board to make the determination, provided that the Department or Board shall not be required to advise a person committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice any such information which in the opinion of the Department of Juvenile Justice or Board would be detrimental to his treatment or rehabilitation.

(c) The master file shall be maintained at a place convenient to its use by personnel of the respective Department in charge of the person. When custody of a person is transferred from the Department to another department or agency, a summary of the file shall be forwarded to the receiving agency with such other information required by law or requested by the agency under rules and regulations of the respective Department.

(d) The master file of a person no longer in the custody of the respective Department shall be placed on inactive status and its use shall be restricted subject to rules and regulations of the Department.

(e) All public agencies may make available to the respective Department on request any factual data not otherwise privileged as a matter of law in their possession in respect to individuals committed to the respective Department.

(Source: P.A. 97-696, eff. 6-22-12; 98-528, eff. 1-1-15; 98-558, eff. 1-1-14; 98-756, eff. 7-16-14.)

Section 97. Severability. The provisions of this Act are severable under Section 1.31 of the Statute on Statutes.