John Howard Association of Illinois

John Howard Association of Illinois JHA works to achieve a fair, humane and cost-effective criminal justice system in Illinois by promoting adult and juvenile prison reform. The John Howard Association, or JHA, independently monitors correctional facilities, policies and practices, and advances reforms needed to achieve a fair, humane and effective criminal justice system in Illinois.
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JHA was founded in 1901 to provide critical citizen oversight of the state’s adult and juvenile correctional facilities, and continues this work today. It takes its name from John Howard, an 18th century humanitarian from Europe, who is largely considered the father of prison reform. JHA is the only independent citizen corrections monitor in the state of Illinois, and one of three such organizations in the USA.

Operating as usual

04/01/2021

After a full year of being unable to go inside Illinois prisons to monitor, JHA was pleased to visit Lincoln and Graham Correctional Centers this week to observe and learn more about how people who live and work inside IDOC facilities are managing during these incredibly difficult times. Stay tuned for information and impressions from these visits, and thank you to those who worked with us to make the visits possible.

Learn more about Second Chance Hiring at this event on 4/21. Everyone benefits when people leaving prison have opportuni...
03/30/2021

Learn more about Second Chance Hiring at this event on 4/21. Everyone benefits when people leaving prison have opportunities to succeed.

"According to the department, 63% of Illinois inmates have gotten the first vaccine dose, more than doubling the accepta...
03/29/2021
Illinois Prisons Are COVID-19 Hotspots. So Why Have Only 27% Of Workers Taken The Vaccine?

"According to the department, 63% of Illinois inmates have gotten the first vaccine dose, more than doubling the acceptance rate of the people meant to guard and protect them."
https://www.wbez.org/stories/illinois-prisons-are-covid-19-hotspots-so-why-have-only-27-of-workers-taken-the-vaccine/406da0cd-dbe5-4851-a42f-73e2932b9e58

Experts say the low vaccination rate endangers inmates, correctional officers and the communities where staff live.

03/27/2021
www2.illinois.gov

JHA is pleased that IDOC has created and shared a plan for resuming visitation. They say that visits are expected to resume in April and scheduling will begin soon. Read their plan here: bit.ly/31mg9Wz

Thank you to everyone who has called, emailed, and written to JHA with reports on and concerns about conditions and trea...
03/26/2021

Thank you to everyone who has called, emailed, and written to JHA with reports on and concerns about conditions and treatment in prisons. Our ability to monitor issues is enhanced when people share information with specificity with us; we use this information to follow up with administrators as well as to advocate for and advance improvements. Please continue to share your information with us via our website here: www.thejha.org/contactform

Everyone is someone. "Do No Harm" seems like a simple declaration, but when it comes to our prison system it’s a goal fo...
03/17/2021
Confession: My compassion for prison inmates has been incarcerated for life

Everyone is someone. "Do No Harm" seems like a simple declaration, but when it comes to our prison system it’s a goal for reform and a statement acknowledging our shared humanity.

https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/opinion/ct-ptb-davich-no-compassion-for-prisoners-st-0317-20210316-l74rzrotj5gxhdzlixly3abr3q-story.html

Should we care more about the crime or the criminal? Punishment or rehabilitation? For me, it comes down to such broader themes, balancing the abstract with the concrete, and weighing personal lives versus the public good.

It was one year ago that COVID-19-related restrictions, including the suspension of visits to people in prison, went int...
03/14/2021

It was one year ago that COVID-19-related restrictions, including the suspension of visits to people in prison, went into effect. JHA urges IDOC to find new and different ways to safely resume volunteer-led programming and visits, and to communicate plans to do so as soon as possible. Read our statement marking one year of prison lockdowns here: http://bit.ly/JHAoneyearCOVID

The same transparency being sought for police behavior MUST also apply to corrections officers.  There is far less oppor...
03/11/2021
Illinois Prison Guard Pleads Guilty for Role in Beating Inmate to Death

The same transparency being sought for police behavior MUST also apply to corrections officers. There is far less opportunity to capture evidence and far more possibility of abuse inside prisons and jails. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/09/us/illinois-prison-guard-civil-rights.html

Willie Hedden is one of three guards at the Western Illinois Correctional Center charged in the May 2018 assault of Larry Earvin, who was handcuffed at the time.

Transparency and oversight of what happens inside prisons and the behavior of correctional officers is hugely important ...
03/10/2021
Illinois Prison Guard Pleads Guilty In Prison Beating Death Case

Transparency and oversight of what happens inside prisons and the behavior of correctional officers is hugely important to the health, safety and well-being of everyone who is incarcerated. More protection is needed. Accountability is essential. #shinealight
#oversight #transparency #accountability

https://www.wbez.org/stories/former-illinois-prison-guard-expected-to-plead-guilty-in-prison-beating-death-case/a49c9741-35f6-4080-84b2-68c7c858e89b

Willie Hedden pleaded guilty to federal charges accusing him and two other officers of beating Larry Earvin while he was handcuffed in May of 2018.

The case for prison transparency and accountability around the world has been made abundantly clear with the pandemic. P...
03/09/2021
COVID-19 pandemic exposes how little we know about prison conditions globally

The case for prison transparency and accountability around the world has been made abundantly clear with the pandemic. People in prison will eventually be released. It’s critical we ensure they don’t come out of prison far worse off than when they went in.

Oversight is a critical lever for reform.

https://theconversation.com/covid-19-pandemic-exposes-how-little-we-know-about-prison-conditions-globally-154225

The COVID-19 pandemic has vividly illustrated how little we know about how prisoners are treated behind bars around the world. The Prison Transparency Project aims to change that.

03/08/2021
John Howard Association of Illinois

"When you are looking at prisoners today, you don't know what they are going to be later on. But what you've got to be willing to do is make the investments in their humanity." - Gerrel Jones.

Miss JHA's event last week? Hear more from Gerrel here - watch the video below.

Gerrel Jones is an author, educator, and influencer who works tirelessly to improve his community. In 2016, he founded Pneuma Gallery Inc, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to reduce violence recidivism and family dysfunction while building community. His work with prisoners and re-entry has been nothing short of remarkable. In fact, that work began while he was in prison - sentenced to LIFE for a brutal homicide in 1992 - and is the reason for his release in 2012. His understanding of criminal dysfunction and how to overcome it has added a lot to the broader conversation surrounding criminal justice reform and could very well be a major catalyst for significant change.

03/05/2021
An Evening with Gerrel Jones - March 4, 2021

Gerrel Jones is an author, educator, and influencer who works tirelessly to improve his community. In 2016, he founded Pneuma Gallery Inc, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to reduce violence recidivism and family dysfunction while building community. His work with prisoners and re-entry has been nothing short of remarkable. In fact, that work began while he was in prison - sentenced to LIFE for a brutal homicide in 1992 - and is the reason for his release in 2012. His understanding of criminal dysfunction and how to overcome it has added a lot to the broader conversation surrounding criminal justice reform and could very well be a major catalyst for significant change.

JHA New Release!  A Snapshot of Life in Prison: A summary of concerns, questions, and perspectives provided by incarcera...
03/03/2021

JHA New Release! A Snapshot of Life in Prison: A summary of concerns, questions, and perspectives provided by incarcerated people and their loved ones at the beginning of 2021. http://bit.ly/JHACommsMar2

Here is a way to get more information about the COVID-19 vaccine to your loved one in prison:  You can have this fact sh...
03/03/2021
What People in Prison Need to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Here is a way to get more information about the COVID-19 vaccine to your loved one in prison: You can have this fact sheet mailed for free - it provides incarcerated people with information that will help them protect their health. Read how here: https://www.themarshallproject.org/2021/03/02/what-people-in-prison-need-to-know-about-the-covid-19-vaccine

Over 100 incarcerated people around the country told us their questions about the vaccine. Here’s information about whether it’s safe, when it could be available and more.

Jail and prison oversight not only increases transparency so the public knows how people are treated and taxpayer dollar...
03/01/2021
GEO 's legal tab for prison tops $9M

Jail and prison oversight not only increases transparency so the public knows how people are treated and taxpayer dollars are spent, but it expedites addressing issues to improve treatment and reduce litigation. https://www.delcotimes.com/news/geo-s-legal-tab-for-prison-tops-9m/article_9cf905fe-7850-11eb-8b13-6be1e815fb77.html

The private operator of the George W. Hill Correctional Facility said it's paid $9 million in 123 claims filed against the company, its employees and county representatives over the past

It's today at 2pm ET!  Join JHA's Jenny Vollen-Katz as she discusses prison oversight with FAMM and other guests.  Join ...
02/25/2021

It's today at 2pm ET! Join JHA's Jenny Vollen-Katz as she discusses prison oversight with FAMM and other guests. Join via FAMM's Facebook Live or YouTube. FAMM

Tomorrow on Heart to Heart 🧡 We will look at the efforts by families, legislators and advocates to pass prison oversight laws and create mechanisms to keep prisons safe.
Join us Thursday, Feb. 25 at 2:00 pm ET via Facebook and YouTube.

People can and do change.  Our system must account for this and stop throwing lives away with extreme and inhumane sente...
02/22/2021
Report: One in seven prison inmates serving a life sentence

People can and do change. Our system must account for this and stop throwing lives away with extreme and inhumane sentencing practices.
https://www.messenger-inquirer.com/news/report-one-in-seven-prison-inmates-serving-a-life-sentence/article_29707b31-d8e3-55fe-82bb-dc44b164c572.html

A report released last week said the number of prison inmates in the U.S. serving either a life sentence or a sentence of 50 years or more is now higher

Even as reforms are implemented and closures are on the horizon, meaningful and independent oversight of prisons is crit...
02/22/2021
On June 30, 2023, CA’s Youth Prisons Will Close Their Doors, But Right Now There Are Essential Steps To Be Taken for Youth Safety |

Even as reforms are implemented and closures are on the horizon, meaningful and independent oversight of prisons is critically important - this is true everywhere, not just in California.

https://witnessla.com/on-june-30-2023-cas-youth-prisons-will-close-their-doors-but-right-now-there-are-essential-steps-to-be-taken-for-youth-safety/

DJJ Watch On June 30, 2023, CA’s Youth Prisons Will Close Their Doors, But Right Now There Are Essential Steps To Be Taken for Youth Safety February 19, 2021 by Celeste Fremon1 Comment Written by Celeste Fremon Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2021-22 state budget nails down plans for the closur...

Great article on the need to vaccinate everyone inside prisons: “...science and public health information should compel ...
02/22/2021
Commentary: Why Vaccinating Prisoners Should Be a Priority

Great article on the need to vaccinate everyone inside prisons:
“...science and public health information should compel policymakers to offer inmate vaccinations at the same time as they're vaccinating teachers and essential workers.”

https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-02-19/vaccinating-prisoners-against-covid-19-should-be-a-priority

Ensuring inmates are vaccinated against COVID-19 can help protect communities inside and outside of prison walls.

JHA mourns the passing of James Ridgeway, and expresses our appreciation for his momentous work exposing the trauma and ...
02/17/2021
Justice Journalist James Ridgeway, Co-Founder of Solitary Watch, Dies at 84 | The Crime Report

JHA mourns the passing of James Ridgeway, and expresses our appreciation for his momentous work exposing the trauma and pain caused by solitary confinement. While there have been recent changes in Illinois, we can and must do better in treating the people in our prisons as people.

https://thecrimereport.org/2021/02/15/justice-journalist-james-ridgeway-co-founder-of-solitary-watch-dies-at-84/

Ridgeway's website, focusing on inmates confined in administrative segregation, capped a 50-year career that made him “one of the legends of modern muckraking.”

JHA is pleased that the COVID-19 vaccine is now being administered in IDOC to the men and women who live and work there....
02/17/2021

JHA is pleased that the COVID-19 vaccine is now being administered in IDOC to the men and women who live and work there. Thank you to the National Guard and all the other medical technicians who are making this possible.

IDOC, in partnership with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois National Guard, launched its COVID-19 vaccination program this morning at East Moline Correctional Center! Staff and incarcerated people at all IDOC facilities will have the opportunity to receive their first dose by mid-March. 💪💉 #VaxUpIL #ThisIsOurShot

JHA applauds these efforts in NJ.  Independent oversight and advocacy are critical to the safety and well-being of vulne...
02/12/2021
Weinberg, Greenstein, Pou to Introduce Legislation Creating Independent Public Advocate for Prisons, Veterans Homes, Psychiatric Hospitals and DDD Centers - Insider NJ

JHA applauds these efforts in NJ. Independent oversight and advocacy are critical to the safety and well-being of vulnerable populations and humane system functioning.

https://www.insidernj.com/press-release/weinberg-greenstein-pou-introduce-legislation-creating-independent-public-advocate-prisons-veterans-homes-psychiatric-hospitals-ddd-centers/

Weinberg, Greenstein, Pou to Introduce Legislation Creating Independent Public Advocate for Prisons, Veterans Homes, Psychiatric Hospitals and DDD Centers Reform bill would create broad-based community advisory boards to provide oversight of prisons and state institutions TRENTON – Senate Majority...

New Release:  JHA's 2020 Annual Report highlights some of our most important work from this past year and previews some ...
02/11/2021

New Release: JHA's 2020 Annual Report highlights some of our most important work from this past year and previews some of the initiatives we will be undertaking in 2021. We will continue to fight for the health and safety of those living and working in prisons during this unprecedented time and to advocate for increased transparency and government accountability. http://bit.ly/JHA2020AR

More information on how people die in Illinois’ prisons and jails is critically important. HB 3653 increases transparenc...
02/09/2021
North Carolina Claims Prisoners Who Died of COVID Didn't Die of COVID

More information on how people die in Illinois’ prisons and jails is critically important. HB 3653 increases transparency by mandating that certain information be collected about deaths that occur in custody and be publicly reported. This will allow us to better hold prisons and jails accountable for the health and safety of people who are incarcerated. Please urge Governor Pritzker to sign this legislation immediately!

https://www.vice.com/en/article/z3vk9e/north-carolina-claims-prisoners-who-died-of-covid-didnt-die-of-covid

A VICE News investigation in partnership with North Carolina Health News found this undercount is likely not unique to North Carolina, and could be happening in dozens of states across the country.

Letters such as this one from someone incarcerated in Logan Correctional Center are extremely meaningful to us - and giv...
01/28/2021

Letters such as this one from someone incarcerated in Logan Correctional Center are extremely meaningful to us - and give us inspiration to keep going. #JHA120years

Shop Emmis Jewelry during the month of January and owner Jenn Dubinsky will donate 18% back to JHA to support our progra...
01/22/2021

Shop Emmis Jewelry during the month of January and owner Jenn Dubinsky will donate 18% back to JHA to support our programming! Emmis Jewelry is a unique collection of high-quality, affordable, and timeless boho-chic jewelry. Visit www.emmisjewelry.com and when purchasing, indicate in the comments that you'd like to give back to JHA.

JHA is thrilled that the Death in Custody Reporting Act is included in this bill.  This will improve and expand transpar...
01/21/2021
WBEZ

JHA is thrilled that the Death in Custody Reporting Act is included in this bill. This will improve and expand transparency, holding all government actors accountable for the lives of people who are detained and incarcerated.

A massive criminal justice bill now awaits Gov. JB Pritzker’s signature. Here are six key changes the legislation would mandate, including ending cash bail:

"As Illinois approaches the next round of Coronavirus vaccine distributions, prison reform advocates are defending Gover...
01/21/2021
ACLU defends Pritzker’s move to prioritize prisoner vaccinations

"As Illinois approaches the next round of Coronavirus vaccine distributions, prison reform advocates are defending Governor Pritzker’s decision to prioritize prisoners in line ahead of patients with high-risk medical conditions." https://www.wcia.com/illinois-capitol-news/aclu-defends-pritzkers-move-to-prioritize-prisoner-vaccinations/

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — As Illinois approaches the next round of Coronavirus vaccine distributions, prison reform advocates are defending Governor Pritzker’s decision to prioritiz…

JHA applauds @IDPH.Illinois and @GovPritzker for including prisoners and staff for 1B COVID vaccination. Prioritizing pe...
01/20/2021

JHA applauds @IDPH.Illinois and @GovPritzker for including prisoners and staff for 1B COVID vaccination. Prioritizing people who are at high risk for infection and death (e.g. those in congregate settings like prisons) is the right public health choice to best protect all of IL.

Prison health truly is public health; care of people who are incarcerated during COVID is necessary, important, what our...
01/14/2021
Why protecting prisons from COVID-19 is everyone’s problem

Prison health truly is public health; care of people who are incarcerated during COVID is necessary, important, what our common humanity demands, and protective for surrounding communities.
https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2021/0113/Why-protecting-prisons-from-COVID-19-is-everyone-s-problem

Prison populations are at greater risk in a pandemic and their treatment has drawn attention, particularly in planning for vaccinations.

New release:  JHA Statement on Criminal Justice Omnibus Legislation.  JHA applauds the sweeping changes to the criminal ...
01/14/2021

New release: JHA Statement on Criminal Justice Omnibus Legislation. JHA applauds the sweeping changes to the criminal justice system that Illinois legislators approved today. These reforms will move us towards a more fair, humane and effective criminal justice system. We urge Governor Pritzker to sign this bill into law immediately so that the many changes our system desperately requires will be put into effect without undue delay for the betterment of Illinois. Read our full statement here:
www.thejha.org/statements-and-testimony/011321

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Chicago, IL
60601

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