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Recent posts

OP-ED: Uncharted Territory

john_maki

CHICAGO — At the end of last year, the Illinois General Assembly found itself in uncharted territory. In response to an ongoing crisis of gun violence in some of Chicago’s poorest communities, Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked Illinois state legislators for increased mandatory minimum prison sentences for illegal gun possession. This was textbook tough-on-crime politics and policymaking. At the beginning, I think everyone involved in the process assumed it would all proceed according to script. Even though my organization, the John Howard Association, was an early opponent, I also assumed that after the dust settled at the end of session, Illinois would have another set of longer prison sentences. Continue Reading →

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From Prison to Politics: Prophet Walker’s Journey

Prophet  Walker, left, in Los Angeles. Walker spent several years incarcerated for a crime committed at age 16. Now he's running for state assembly.

LOS ANGELES — The walls of Ironwood State Prison in Blythe, Calif., were hardly unfamiliar to Prophet Walker. As a teenager, Walker spent nearly half of his six-year prison sentence at Ironwood after he was convicted of assault causing great bodily injury and robbery at the age of 16.

This June, Walker, now 26, returned to Ironwood. However, this time it was not as a prisoner, but as a candidate for state office and a role model to the young men who stand where Walker stood just several years ago. Continue Reading →

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Reporter’s Notebook: Allegations Still Plague Religious Homes for Troubled Teens

Lester Roloff

AUSTIN, Texas — While reporting recently on abuse allegations at a home for troubled teens, I realized that the article I was writing had been written before. Continue Reading →

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After Waiting a Year for Assessment, Mentally Ill Teen Released to Group Home

Jamie

A year ago, Jaime Peoples was languishing at the Illinois Youth Center (IYC) juvenile detention facility in Kewanee, Ill., having spent a year awaiting a full mental health assessment, according to his mother, Celia. Continue Reading →

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