Adler University, founded in 1952, continues the pioneering work of the first community psychologist Alfred Adler by graduating socially responsible practitioners, engaging communities and advancing social justice.
The Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice, and researcher and author Dan Cooper, is developing an interactive website which will promote public dialogue on the dependent relationship between urban communities of color and rural prison towns.
In partnership with several West Side Chicago organizations, the Center is collecting interviews from stakeholders in Pontiac, Illinois, and Chicago’s Austin community and building a website to share their stories.
For more information about this project, please contact Daniel Cooper.
Chicago Community Bond Fund
The Chicago Community Bond Fund (CCBF), founded in 2015, pays bond for people charged with crimes in Cook County. (In fact, it has paid more than $900,000 to free 162 people from Cook County Jail.)
CCBF will produce short films and animated videos explaining the bond system, centering the voices of people impacted by pretrial incarceration, with the goal of increasing awareness and dialogue around the harms of pretrial incarceration.
For more information about this project, please contact Irene Romulo.
Chicago Torture Justice Memorials
Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM) (with Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago acting as fiscal agent), was founded in 2011 and is a cultural collective seeking justice for police torture survivors.
Following passage of reparations for police torture survivors in 2015, CTJM moved from speculative art-making to building a permanent public memorial to mark this deeply traumatic episode of racist policing.
Through exhibitions, pop-up art events, and living memorials, CTJM fuses art, activism, and radical popular education with a tenacious commitment to anti-racist politics. Made up of torture survivors, artists and cultural workers, educators, historians, writers, attorneys, and human rights activists, CTJM spearheaded a grassroots campaign along with Amnesty International, Project NIA, and We Charge Genocide that successfully pressured the city to pass unprecedented reparations legislation for more than 120 mostly black people tortured by former Commander Jon Burge.
Envisioning Justice support to CTJM was used for creating public memorials embodying the experiences and testimonies of police-torture survivors and to visualize the 30-year struggle for justice.
For more information about this project, please contact Mary Patten.
Founded in 2012, Chicago Votes is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization building a more inclusive democracy by opening the doors of government and politics to young people from all corners of the city. Over the past year, Chicago Votes’ team of 475 volunteers has helped register 3,190 eligible voters in Cook County Jail.
The Cook County Jail Votes project tells the story of Chicago Votes’ grassroots and advocacy efforts in CCJ through video content creation and promotion. As the sponsor of all election related activities in the jail, Chicago Votes leads voter registration drives once a month, and coordinates elections at the jail, civic education courses, and local administrative advocacy.
For more information about this project, please contact Jennifer Dean.
Jessica Pupovac is a Chicago-based freelance reporter and former NPR producer with a strong background in investigative reporting on criminal justice issues.
With Envisioning Justice support, Pupovac produced a series of data-driven, human stories illustrating women’s experience in prison. Check out the main story and the broader series with Chicago Reporter.
Her story was also featured on NPR (main story; and the series), as well as Jezebel, The Marshall Project (which also highlighted it in their weekly highlights newsletter), The Sentencing Project, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Urban Institute, and Uptown People’s Law Center.
For more information about this project, please contact Jessica Pupovac.
Filmmaker Joshua Jackson is producing a series of six 10-minute video episodes “From Prison to Professional,” telling the stories of formerly incarcerated people who have successfully combated the stereotypes of incarcerated and transitioned into respected professions.
The target audience includes returning citizens between the ages of 18 and 25. The first episode by the filmmaker, who works at Free Spirit Media and runs his own production company 720 Films, will be available in late 2019.
For more information about this project, please contact Joshua Jackson.
Juvenile Justice Initiative
Juvenile Justice Initiative, a statewide policy advocacy center founded in 2000 and focused on reducing incarceration and ensuring fair treatment for children and emerging adults in conflict with the law, is producing a short film “Reimagine Youth Adult Justice.”
The film will include highlights about humane justice systems in Germany, Northern Ireland, Massachusetts, Connecticut and elsewhere.
The final product will be a video and other tools targeted for stakeholders and the general public about a new vision for juvenile justice based on restoration and second chances.
For more information about this project, please contact Elizabeth Clarke.
Laurie Jo Reynolds
Laurie Jo Reynolds is an artist, policy advocate, and researcher whose work challenges the demonization, warehousing, and social exclusion of incarcerated and convicted people. She worked with former and current prisoners, their families, and other artists on Tamms Year Ten, the grassroots legislative campaign to close the notorious Tamms supermax prison in southern Illinois designed for sensory deprivation, shuttered by Governor Pat Quinn in 2013.
A True Person of No Status is an audio project is co-produced by the Chicago 400, a group of men who are “on public conviction registries experiencing homelessness as a result of Illinois housing banishment laws for people with past convictions. These men and women (78% who are African-American and all who are poor) describe their experiences following the maze of reporting requirements and restrictions while trying to take care of their families, hold down jobs, and support each other.
The group is working in alliance with advocates for survivors of sexual assault and advocates for people with criminal records, who want to call attention to policies that claim to advance public safety, but in fact have the opposite effect. Public conviction registries and housing banishment laws do not prevent future violence, do not benefit survivors, and present a dangerously skewed understanding of violence and how to build safe communities.
Instead, these laws target and scapegoat those who have already been held accountable for their actions and create such significant barriers to jobs and housing that about 1 in 5 people on the registry in Chicago are homeless.
For more information about this project, please contact Laurie Jo Reynolds.
Mikva Challenge develops youth to be empowered, informed and active citizens who will promote a just and equitable society. Founded in 1998, it supports reaching out to under-resourced communities and schools, youth voice being included in decision-making, community involvement as being essential for young people to have a voice and remaining nonpartisan so that young people form their own opinions.
Mikva’s Juvenile Justice Council, or JJC, has 25 young people, including court-involved young people, that meet regularly with key justice system stakeholders to push for actionable juvenile justice reforms. With Envisioning Justice funding, young people would create videos and blogs to communicate their city-wide advocacy on juvenile justice reform.
For more information about this project, please contact Miriam Martinez.
Rachel Wallis is a working artist and activist, with five years’ experience teaching sewing and quilting, both in prisons and to the general public. The “Inheritance Quilt Project” tells the stories of incarcerated mothers, and the impact of incarceration on their families.
Through storytelling and design workshops, incarcerated mothers are telling the stories of the intergenerational relationships in their families, and designing quilts will strengthen their relationships with the next generation. Carried out in partnership with Reunification Ride and Mothers United Against Violence and Incarceration, workshops took place at Logan weekly from Sept. 1 through Oct. 15, with quilting circles through the end of December.
For more information about this project, please contact Rachel Wallis.
Read/Write Library (RWL), founded in 2006, preserves and provides access to local community media in order to inspire and promote diverse forms of cultural production, civic engagement, and ownership of the historical record. Through its public programs and free browsing hours, a growing collection of more than 6,000 publications, and open source catalog, the library recognizes contributions all Chicagoans make to co-creating their city and reveals connective threads across neighborhoods, generations, and cultures.
RWL is producing “Incarceration and Information,” three pop-up libraries featuring work from their collection produced by people who are incarcerated and their allies on the outside and materials from the Illinois Deaths in Custody Project, which have only ever been exhibited digitally, never in person.
These libraries ask audiences to consider how and why information is controlled in carceral spaces and the impact on individuals, families and communities when those close to them are isolated not just physically, but socially, emotionally, and politically.
Each will run for a minimum of one month with public programs such as a panel or hands-on research and discussion workshop.
For more information about this project, please contact Helen Taylor.
Storycatchers Theatre is producing “Changing Voices,” a partnership with the Chicago Police Department to better train new CPD recruits.
Founded in 1984, ST guides young people to transform their traumatic experiences into powerful musical theatre, inspiring them to develop the courage and vision to become leaders and mentors.
The goal of Changing Voices is to generate dialogue between police recruits and young people navigating reentry to high-crime neighborhoods.
For more information about this project, please contact Meade Palidofsky.
StoryCorps, founded in 2003, preserves and shares humanity’s stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world. Since its founding in 2013, StoryBooth at the Chicago Cultural Center has partnered with more than 200 community organizations to collect and preserve more than 3,300 interviews.
With Envisioning Justice support, StoryCorps partnered with nine community organizations to record and preserve stories of individuals impacted by the criminal justice system; created four edited audio segments to be used by SC partners; amplified stories at one community listening event; and provided training for partnering organizations to continue to use stories to enrich their work.
For more information about this project, please contact Amy Tardif.
The Voices and Faces Project
The Voices and Faces Project, founded in 2006, is an award-winning nonprofit storytelling initiative created to bring the names, faces, and testimonies of survivors of gender-based violence and other human rights violations to the attention of the public.
In “Testimony and Transformation,” Voices and Faces is partnering with Brothers Standing Together and the Goldin Institute to bring together previously incarcerated Chicago men seeking to use their stories to change the public understanding of incarceration.
The initiative includes a two-day testimonial writing workshop for as many as 20 formerly incarcerated men, a public reading with moderated community dialogue, and an on- and offline media engagement strategy promoting the stories of participants.
The audience for the reading and community discussions is policymakers, community leaders, faith-based groups, local and regional media, and the general public.
For more information about this project, please contact Anne Ream.
Victory Gardens Theater
Victory Gardens Theater, founded in 1974, cultivates new theatrical work and playwrights from Chicago and beyond that represent a diversity of form, culture and perspective. In February and March 2019, VG produced “Pipeline,” by MacArthur Fellow Dominique Moresseau.
Victory Gardens Theater partnered with Storycatchers Theater, St. Leonard’s Grace House and advocates of criminal justice reform to raise awareness of the societal costs of systemic injustices.
Additional partners included the North Lawndale Coordinating Council, the Homan Square Foundation, El Valor, Mujeres Latinas, ABJ Community Services, Latinos Progresando, and the North Lawndale Employment Network.
For more information about this project, please contact Chay Yew.