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UPLC has been getting press attention lately for our work protecting prisoners' basic human rights. Thanks to supporters like YOU, every day we fight for justice not only for prisoners, but also for tenants and people with disabilities!

Op-Ed in 

"What Rauner should do about prisons"

We're thrilled that the Chicago Sun-Times published this opinion piece responding to Gov. Rauner's State of the State address by our Executive Director Alan Mills

"The governor called for hiring more guards, but that is not a solution. Illinois must dramatically reduce the number of men and women in our prisons. In the meantime, our state has an obligation to reduce the harm being done to the thousands of people who remain behind bars."

New Lawsuit Filed

Court asked to order Illinois to assess the risk of releasing longest-serving prisoners

Partnering with the MacArthur Justice Center and the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth, UPLC filed a new lawsuit seeking to require the parole board to use objective criteria. It has been more than two years since the deadline to begin a comprehensive risk assessment of state prisoners has passed, and the suit seeks a court order directing Illinois prison officials to follow the law and assess and consider paroling the longest-serving prisoners.

For more information, click here. There is also a Sun-Times article about the lawsuit, as well as one in the Chicago Law Bulletin.

Quoted in the
Chicago Tribune 

"State keeps 1,250 parolees behind bars
due to housing shortage"

Alan was quoted in a front-page story in the Chicago Tribune about people being kept in prison when they are supposed to be on parole.  

UPLC has argued for almost a decade that keeping people in prison when they are supposed to be on parole is a recipe for failure: When they are released, they have no housing, no supervision, and no resources. All evidence shows the best defense against more criminal activity is a stable home and family situation.

Partial Victory in the Seventh Circuit Prisoners allowed to seek damages for incident two years ago 

Two years ago, prison officials at Stateville, Pontiac, and Menard Correctional Centers confiscated all the prisoners' typewriters and second fans (in the middle of a heat wave that drove temps in some cells over 100°F). We sued, saying that if officials were going to take prisoners' property, they had to at least pay people the cost of the items they took.

First, the trial court threw the case out, ruling that prisoners were not entitled to any compensation at all. UPLC (with pro bono assistance from DLA Piper) appealed. Recently, the Seventh Circuit Court gave the prisoners a partial victory: it ruled that while it was too soon to ask for money in federal court, the prisoners COULD seek money in Illinois Court of Claims. UPLC is examining our options for how to assert these claims, so that these men can finally be compensated for the property taken from them.

You can read the opinion here

Our Executive Director Alan and our Director of Development & Communications Megan went to the main women's prison in Illinois, Logan Correctional Center. They met with six prisoners there. Click here to read
about their visit.

Visiting prisons more often is a goal of UPLC's for 2015!
Megan (above) and Alan attended the People's Hearing on the Torture Reparations Ordinance. UPLC supports reparations for police torture victims. To learn more about this ordinance, go to
Alan (shown above) and our Prisoners' Rights Coordinator Brian met with Communities & Relatives of Illinois Incarcerated Children (CRIIC) to discuss prison conditions. CRIIC is a group of friends and family of people sentenced to life in prison as juveniles.
Alan spoke at Loyola University School of Social Work's Social Change Summit. Social workers need to be involved in every step of the criminal justice system:
  • before arrest, ensuring drug and mental health treatment are available;
  • during incarceration, to be sure mental illnesses are addressed;
  • in pre-release, to help plan transition; and
  • post-release, in finding jobs, housing and medical care.
When you shop Amazon, be sure to use Amazon Smile-- choose Uptown People's Law Center as your charity, and we will get a percentage from most things you buy! It's an easy way to
support our work!
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