Since mid-March, people incarcerated in Illinois prisons have been on lockdown, locked in a cell for 23.5 hours a day.
COVID-19 guidelines are not being followed by prison staff, COVID-19 is still spreading, people are still dying.
On Tuesday, December 15th at 11am, the End IL Prison Lockdown Coalition will hold space outside of the Thompson Center, urging Governor Pritzker to immediately address the crisis of COVID-19 in Illinois prisons.
In 2019, more than 23,000 men and women were released from the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Last year, IDOC created a new program that’s main focus is to provide the necessary services to people returning to society.
Administrator for the Reentry Program, Jennifer Parrack, said it’s all about bridging the gap between life inside the correctional facility and when people are released on parole.
“We really knew that we were not adequately preparing our men and women to leave our correctional facilities and be successful,” Parrack said. “For our men and women that have worked really hard in our correctional facilities to better themselves and get prepared to have a better life to support their family members upon release, we really need to be working hard to assist them.”
In the spring of 2019, through the Northwestern Prison Education Program, playwright and Goodman Artistic Associate, Rebecca Gilman, taught playwriting at the Stateville Correctional Center.
The students embraced their first playwriting class and, for their final projects, each wrote a short play. Ranging from comic to tragic, the plays tackle subjects as unique, original, and inspiring as the men who wrote them.
Prior to the COVID-19 shutdown, we planned to offer three live performances of the Stateville Voices plays: one at the Goodman, one at Kennedy-King College and one at Stateville.
We still intend to present live readings at the Goodman and Kennedy-King once it is safe to do so. We also want to take the plays to Stateville when the prison is no longer on lockdown.
However, given that the population at Stateville has been one of the hardest hit by COVID19 in the country, we felt it was urgent to present a live virtual event featuring some of the Stateville Voices plays as well as a panel discussion looking at what life is like at Stateville at the present moment.
Live on Facebook and YouTube on Friday, July 3 at 5PM.
Joseph Dole is an Incarcerated Writer & Board Member of Parole Illinois.
While some advocates praised the department’s stated plan to protect prisons, they say that some individual facilities aren’t executing it.
The Illinois Department of Corrections promised last week that “hand sanitizer, antibacterial soap and cleaning supplies are being made available to all staff and incarcerated individuals.”
But family members of people in prisons report the supplies aren’t actually being distributed at every facility.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) — Two Illinois Department of Corrections facilities are locked down because inmates are sick.
The facilities are Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center in East St. Louis and Robinson Correctional Center in Robinson, Ill., near the Indiana border, about 240 miles south of Chicago.
A Department of Corrections spokeswoman told the I-Team about 60 inmates at Southwestern have flu-like symptoms.