Welcome to the John Howard Association of Illinois

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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.

JHA’s vision for Illinois is to achieve a smaller, rehabilitative criminal justice system that supports incarcerated individuals so they may return to society as productive citizens.

Read more about our impact here.

New JHA Prison Survey Reports Released

JHA has just released multiple 2016 Prison Survey reports, including data taken from both inmates and prison staff.  To view reports from facilities including Big Muddy, Graham, Lawrence, Lincoln, Menard, Pontiac, Southwestern Illinois and Taylorville, please visit our Prison Survey Data page.


Important article on juvenile prisons

This article by Vincent Schiraldi underscores the impossibility of juvenile prisons being rehabilitative and the need to de-carcerate our youth.  Large penal institutions are not conducive to rehabilitation; they are often centers for abuse and criminal experimentation and education.  In Illinois, the recent spike in the number of youth being prosecuted for minor behavioral infractions at IYC Harrisburg and receiving inordinately long and unfair sentences in adult prison is a clear example of how large juvenile prisons leave youth far worse off.

It is time for this State to take the next critical step to improve outcomes for our justice involved youth, which is to close our large youth prisons and invest in small residential facilities for those who cannot receive needed treatment and support in their communities.  Community based supports and programming, fostering family relationships and involvement, and providing increased access to quality education and job skill training is what will help our disenfranchised and often under privileged youth lead different, law abiding lives – not putting them in prisons that differ from our adult correctional system in name only.