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The John Howard Association of Illinois is the only independent prison monitoring organization in the state.

We go inside every state correctional facility in order to observe conditions of confinement, find out about the treatment of prisoners and talk to people inside our prisons about their concerns, issues and the realities of incarceration in Illinois prisons.



Defying Injustice. Defending Humanity.

The John Howard Association independently monitors correctional facilities, policies and practices, and advances reforms needed to achieve a fair, humane and effective criminal justice system.



Illinois has one of the most overcrowded, understaffed and underfunded prison systems in the U.S. We believe that people who are incarcerated should be treated humanely and with dignity and respect. Our vision is for Illinois to achieve a smaller, rehabilitative criminal justice system that supports incarcerated individuals so they may return to society as productive citizens.



For more than 118 years, the John Howard Association has served as Illinois' only independent citizen correctional oversight organization. We uncover problems large and small in our correctional facilities and advocate for reforms that lead to meaningful change for prisoners and their families. System-wide reform leads to more successful correctional outcomes for our communities, and better use of limited resources and taxpayer funds.

JHA’s work leads to changes inside our prisons and throughout our system that impact thousands of lives for the better.

John Howard Association in the News