Annual Luncheon: Sept. 27, 2018

Michelle Jones web.jpg

Annual Luncheon: September 27, 2018

Did you miss our Annual Luncheon on Sept. 27th?  Don't worry - you can still make a donation today! Please scroll down to the bottom of this page to find our donation form.  For questions, please call Dan Hoffman at 312-291-9183 x201.  

2018’s Annual Luncheon was held September 27th at the University Club of Chicago.  A packed house of more than 275 legislators, corrections officials, judges, executive and judicial branch officials and leaders, formerly incarcerated individuals, policy makers, board members, donors, funders, partners, supporters, volunteers, friends and staff were present to support the John Howard Association and our mission.  Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we were thrilled to raise more than $200,000 to support our monitoring and advocacy work – this is a JHA record.

We would like to thank JHA’s Prison Response Unit Assistant Beverly Houston, who shared her story in a short video presentation.  Beverly said, “When I left prison, I promised myself that I would do whatever I could to give back and assist those left behind at DCC, even if it was just sending cards on holidays. In some ways this was the beginning of the work I now do at JHA, understanding the importance of giving incarcerated people a voice.”  She went on to say, “I feel that JHA fills the void of information which is not accessible to incarcerated individuals.  Whether it’s sending case law to aid in an appeal, this year’s NFL draft picks or the lyrics to a song, this underserved population appreciates the efforts of JHA and feels, as I do, that JHA fills an important need by providing information they request. I regularly look back at where I have been and think about where and how the women I was incarcerated with are doing.  I also think about how to encourage incarcerated women to use JHA as a resource for information. This is part of how I can give back and provide support to women that are incarcerated.  Success means something different for me now, since I left prison I define it as having the ability to wake each morning and live for a purpose – JHA’s work and mission help me to achieve this.”

Keynote Speaker Michelle Jones gave a passionate speech about the importance of education for those who are incarcerated.  Speaking from her own experience (she earned both her Bachelor’s degree and a ministerial degree while incarcerated in Indiana), Michelle cited the statistics that 95% of all those incarcerated return to their communities and that recidivism is reduced by 40% when incarcerated people have access to education.  “Higher education is a way to help ensure they stay out [of prison]; it is a worthy cost to pay to avoid the alternative,” stated Michelle.  “This is one way in which the carceral state can begin to dissolve.”

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JHA Executive Director Jennifer Vollen-Katz presented the following awards, thanking the recipients for their contributions to creating a fair, humane and effective criminal justice system:

Elizabeth Stowick:  Volunteer of the Year Award Recipient
for her dedication and support of JHA’s work in fighting for criminal justice reform.
Elizabeth has been volunteering in JHA’s office since 2017, performing a variety of tasks
including returning phone calls to loved ones of those who are incarcerated

Sheldon Stein:  Outstanding Dedication Award
for his leadership, counsel and support during his tenure
as a member of JHA’s Board of Directors from 2009-2018.

State Representative Carol Ammons:  Changemaker of the Year
for her leadership and commitment to criminal justice reform
including sponsorship of legislation that directly impacts and improves
the lives of incarcerated people and their loved ones.

We would like to thank the following Annual Luncheon 2018 sponsors:


Bluhm Family Foundation
Cynthia Kobel
Project 1-11
Paul & Sarah Jane Titterton / GATX

Jawanza & Preeya Hughes
Kevin McCall / Jenner & Block LLP

Terry & Annette Faulk
Bozena & John McLees
Joni Stahlman
Winston & Strawn LLP

Camille Bennett / ACLU
Arthur and Arlene Don
Craig Huffman / Mesirow Financial
Jane Addams College of Social Work
MacArthur Foundation
PortionPac Chemical Corporation
Safer Foundation
Peter Senechalle & Michelle Olson
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Patricia Unsinn
Angela Weis

JHA would also like to thank participants in the Lakeland College Horticulture Program at Sheridan Correctional Center for growing, arranging and donating the beautiful centerpieces at our event. 

Emma HarrisonPast