JHA Conference Submission on Prison Education for Colorado College

Educational access within prisons must be expanded. In Illinois, we have evidence that Correctional Post-Secondary Education has a $38.75 return on investment on every dollar for the State. Given this figure, it would stand to reason that the public and lawmakers would embrace education in prisons as a cost-saving investment of State funds; unfortunately, this is not the case.

Read More
Gary Ricke2019
Testimony in support of IDOC's proposed budget for SFY 2020 to IL Senate and IL House Appropriations Committees

Please do not reduce IDOC’s funding because the population is down. The lower population can be attributed to a reduction in new court admissions, which is most likely the result of the dramatic drop in arrests for criminal offenses that has occurred over the past few years. IDOC has no control over how many people are sentenced to prison, and the downward trend of arrests can reverse at any time.

Read More
Gary Ricke2019
IDOC Must Promulgate Proposed Administrative Rules for Earned Discretionary Sentencing Credit Without Further Delay

Uncertainty breeds stress and discontent. This is especially true for prisoners who do not know when they will be exiting prison doors, which is the primary concern of most. Additionally, uncertainty about when prisoners will be leaving prison makes planning for reentry unnecessarily more difficult for prisoners, their families, and the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC).

Read More
Gary Ricke2018
JHA Public Testimony on Correctional Oversight

As Illinois’ sole citizen prison oversight organization, JHA believes that more oversight and scrutiny of our correctional system is critical in order to identify the unmet needs of incarcerated individuals, provide increased transparency in a profoundly troubled environment that is rife with human rights violations, and to hold our corrections system and administrators accountable for the treatment, programming, and care of the over 41,000 people in state custody today.

Read More
Gary Ricke2018
JHA Public Testimony for the House Appropriations-Public Safety Committee Hearing

In order for Illinois’ prisons to be safe for adults and youth in its custody, as well as the staff and administrators that work inside them, immediate improvements in conditions, treatment, accountability, communication, and structural changes must be made. Noting that IDOC and IDJJ are different in size, scope and where each system is on a continuum of change, JHA offers the following recommendations to achieve a safer system that will produce better individual outcomes and increased public safety.

Read More
Gary Ricke2017
Illinois’ Response to the Opioid Epidemic: A Public Health Issue Requiring a Medically Based Response

On September 6th, Governor Rauner signed Executive Order 2017-05, establishing the Governor’s Opioid Prevention and Intervention Task Force. Concurrently, the Governor’s Office issued the State of Illinois Opioid Action Plan. The purpose of the new Task Force is to implement the Action Plan with the stated goals of preventing further spread of the opioid crisis, treating and promoting the recovery of individuals with opioid use disorder, and responding effectively to avert opioid overdose deaths.

Read More
Gary Ricke2017
Testimony for the Sex Offenses and Sex Offender Registration Task Force

JHA has long urged Illinois to revisit the effectiveness of our sex offender management laws and address barriers to reentry. These issues were stressed in JHA’s 2013 report on the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) facility Big Muddy River Correctional Center, where more than 50% of the population, nearly 1,000 men, are identified as sex offenders, including the civilly committed Sexually Dangerous Persons (SDP) population.

Read More
Allie Kelly2017
Statement on the Federal Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act

In July of 2017 the Dignity for Incarcerated Women Act, S. 1524, was introduced by U.S. Senators Corey Booker (NJ), Kamala Harris (CA), Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Illinois’ senior Senator Richard Durbin. As Illinois’ only independent, non-partisan prison watchdog and advocate for a fair, humane and effective criminal justice system, the John Howard Association of Illinois (JHA) applauds this step.

Read More
Allie Kelly2017
Fee Waivers for Birth Certificates and State ID Cards for Illinois’ Prisoners is Smart Policy and a Wise Investment

The John Howard Association applauds Governor Bruce Rauner for signing Senate Bill 1413 into law. This new law allows men and women to receive their birth certificate for no fee upon their release from the Department of Corrections, which removes one of the largest obstacles for returning citizens to obtain state identification cards once they leave prison.

Read More
Allie Kelly2017