Freedom-Making In An Age Of Mass Incarceration

Join the Human Rights Lab and White Snake Projects for a panel discussion about what freedom-making means within the deeply carceral context of contemporary America.

Date: April 13, 2021

Time: 6-7:30PM CDT

Register: Click Here

Q & A will follow the moderated conversation.

Art & Imagination Inside Prisons

Join us for a virtual roundtable exploring art-making inside the prison industrial complex.

Day: August 6th

Time: 6-7:30PM CTD

Register: Click Here

Pritzker Commutes Life Sentence Of Man Who Claims Burge Cops Tortured Him Into Confessing

Reed’s criminal defense attorney said he’ll continue to push to have Reed’s conviction vacated.

Reed, who’s in Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet, was convicted of the fatal shootings of Pamela Powers and Willie Williams on the South Side. Reed said he was forced to confess. He said detectives beat him so badly they dislodged a metal rod in his leg.

Those detectives worked for Burge, who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in 2010 in connection with his testimony in a lawsuit accusing him of torture. Burge served a four-year federal prison sentence and died in September 2018.

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Illinois Led Nation In Criminal Exonerations For 3rd Straight Year: Report

Illinois recorded more criminal exonerations than any other state in 2020, according to a new report, which found nearly all of those cases were tied to a disgraced former Chicago police detective and his team.

The National Registry of Exonerations released its annual report, which found Illinois led the nation in criminal exonerations for the third year in a row. Of the 22 exonerations recorded in the state last year, the vast majority were drug possession or sale convictions tied to ex-CPD Sgt. Ronald Watts.

“Illinois’s ranking continues to be driven by the large number of exonerees tied to misconduct of corrupt police officers led by Sgt. Ronald Watts of the Chicago Police Department, who planted drugs on people after they refused to pay officers attempting to extort money from them,” the report states.

According to the report, 17 of those 22 exonerations were tied to Watts, who led a tactical team that has been accused of manufacturing dozens of drug cases over the course of several years against residents and guests of the Ida B. Wells housing project in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

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Halfway Home: A Beautiful Book By Reuben Jonathan Miller

Miller writes about the aftereffects of mass incarceration in his new book, Halfway Home. The book is based on 15 years of research in which he followed the lives of about 250 incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women, and spoke with their family and friends.

Among the families Miller writes about is his own; Miller grew up poor on Chicago’s South Side and spent four of the first five years of his life in foster care after his mother abandoned him and his brothers. Two of his brothers and his father have been in prison.

Miller hopes that his work will help break down some of the barriers that affect so many people in America.

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#FreeHer Campaign Wants Clemency For 100 Women In Biden’s First 100 Days

More than 200,000 women and girls are incarcerated in this country — 10,000 of them in federal prisons — and Danielle Metz used to be one of them.

Metz was married to an alleged drug kingpin and had two small children, 3 and 7 years old, when she was sentenced in 1993 for drug conspiracy and money laundering convictions. She had never been in legal trouble before, “not even a traffic ticket,” she says. “I was sentenced to three life sentences and when I came in the system they didn’t have parole or anything like that anymore. So I was just doing time day for day. The process was really hard. My family didn’t know what to do in the beginning. I had exhausted my appeals. Clemency was my only hope.”

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California Panel Urges Changes To Reduce Criminal Sentences

California led the nation in tough-on-crime policies 30 years ago, but in recent years has been among the states at the forefront of easing criminal penalties. Two lawmakers on the committee announced they had put some of the recommendations into legislation that would have to pass the Democratic-led Legislature and be signed into law by Newsom.

“If all 10 recommendations were adopted, they would impact almost every area of California’s criminal legal system, from driving infractions to life in prison, and probably everybody behind bars would be affected in some way.”

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