John Cumbee, by Cheryl Wurst

My friend John has been in captivity for 27 years for a crime he did not commit in a county he was not in at the time of the offense. Even though he was a public servant with no criminal history, he was given a natural life sentence in a politically motivated prosecution. While in custody, he has successfully completed two comprehensive bible study courses and has earned 61 college credit hours toward his associate degree which he will receive this year. He has also completed 5 certificate courses through DePaul University (2), North Western University (2), and the Northeastern …Read More →

The Importance of a Second Chance, by Marni Yang

The Importance of a Second Chance It has been said that a society can be measured by the manner in which it treats the least of its citizens. With that in mind, the most marginalized portion of any society is arguably the prison inmate. No other demographic is afforded less consideration in terms of basic human rights, and less ability and resources to assert the few legal rights they retain. Illinois has one of the most archaic systems of corrections in the entire nation, with an abysmal track record in terms of treatment of its prisoners. The state has been …Read More →

William Peeples, written by Kimberly Fontanelle

Being raised by a mother with mental health issues and no support and a stepfather that was an alcoholic, became a quadriplegic and was no longer in his life, my brother became a product of his environment and got connected with the wrong people as well as drugs and alcohol, as addiction runs in our family on all sides. He had to become hard to protect himself as well as me. We had to survive mental, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of our Mother as well as whatever man she was with at the time. We had to …Read More →

Ignacio Alvarez, written by Nancy Alvarez

My brother was wrongfully convicted back in 2001. He was coerced by the detectives into testifying that he was at the place of the crime. At 22 years old he fell for their scare tactics used to get a false testimony, saying that something would happen to his girlfriend and unborn child. The lawyer that was paid to defend him also lied to him and failed to do his job. He has done great things despite being locked up. Ignacio is employed, has been taking college courses and is working towards a Master’s degree. At the moment he has a …Read More →

Miguel Morales, by Miguel Morales

First and foremost, I appreciate you taking the time out to stop and read through some of these postings. I’m writing you this in search for understanding and support on an important issue that we’re up against behind these walls. The muzzle has been put on us (prisoners) for far too long now. We’ve always been made to feel like we’re simply stuck and can’t do anything to change the way we’re being treated back here because of stigmas made against us, lifestyles we were living, choices made when we were younger, and because it works so much better for …Read More →

Debate Team Letter to Gov. Rauner

May 17, 2018 Open Letter to Governer Rauner from the Stateville Debate Team Dear Governer Rauner, We, the Stateville Debate Team, write this letter to implore you to reverse Assistant Director Gladyse Taylor’s (and thus the IDOC’s) unjustified decision to terminate the Stateville Debate Team and class, and reverse the unjustified ban of our teacher, Katrina Burlet, from Stateville Correctional Center and other IDOC facilities. –Who We Are – We are human beings whom society has demonized, dehumanized, discounted, and warehoused for decades in Illinois prisons. In the face of that, though, we each believed in, and worked to rehabilitate, …Read More →