Parole Reform White Paper

Reforms to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board: Qualifications and Duties by Sarah Aagard, Rosalind Dillon, Joseph Dole, & Raul Dorado   INTRODUCTION   In 1977, Illinois ended an 80-year tradition in criminal justice by removing the opportunity for parole.[1] Now, there are over 5,500 prisoners in Illinois serving life sentences or de facto life sentences.[2] Most of them will die in prison. The proportionate penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution provides that: “All penalties shall be determined both according to the seriousness of the offense and with the objective of restoring the offender to useful citizenship.”[3] Parole is meant to …Read More →

Testimony for the Nov 8 House/Senate Hearing on Parole, by Shari Stone-Mediatore

My name is Shari Stone-Mediatore. I was born in Chicago and grew up in Highland Park, Illinois.  And I am currently a Professor of Philosophy at Ohio Wesleyan University. I’ve taught philosophy to men and women convicted of violent crimes. I’ve also supported several men with life and de-facto life sentences in Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan in their efforts to pursue education, apply for scholarships, publish their writing, and participate in productive activities, such as art and essays contests. I’ve been amazed by these individuals and what I’ve learned from them. One thing I’ve learned is that there is no such …Read More →

Testimony for the Nov 8 Joint House/Senate Hearing on Parole, by Sarah Ross

Dear Members of the IL General Assembly, Please accept this letter as my support for re-introducing parole in IL. For the last 13 years I have taught classes in IL state prisons through both state-contracted community colleges and through a volunteer based non-profit, Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project. For the last 20 years I have worked with people impacted by the criminal justice system as survivors and offenders through my work serving survivors of domestic violence, supervising volunteers at a books to prisoner organization, volunteering alongside formerly incarcerated people in communities in art and education organizations. Over this time, I …Read More →

Essay by Ibi Cole

I was asked to write about a prisoner and about Parole in Illinois. But strange as it may be, before I expound on Parole, I felt more compelled to write about you… to write to you about you. Strange, I agree. But here goes… From the moment the cell doors slam on a person, I always imagine that what begins there, is some form of a count down: Count down for time to be released; count down to the time to die… or count down the time to get out. Get out. Get away. Go back home. There would be …Read More →