On March 21, the Stateville Correctional Center Debate Team hosted a public debate about parole in Illinois. The debate was premised on the urgent need for a fair parole system. Illinois has the most overcrowded prisons in the nation–operating at 151% capacity, and prisons cost the state $2 billion and counting each year. If nothing is done, over 5.000 Illinoisans have no hope but to die in prison. Agreed on the need to bring a fair parole system to the state, the team addressed an historic debate about the best way to evaluate people for release: a statistical evaluation of each person’s likeliness to recidivate; or a clinical evaluation, which focuses on the rehabilitation that an individual has achieved during their incarceration. The debate was attended by Illinois educators, activists, religious leaders, and over 10% of Illinois state legislators.
- Pre-debate speech on rehabilitation, by Lester Dobbey
- Pre-debate speech, Bernard’s Story, by Bernard McKinley
- Pre-debate speech on the need for parole legislation not to be influenced by prosecutors, by Joseph Dole
- Pre-debate speech on the misuse of natural life sentences, by Oscar Parham