A new review of restrictive housing programs used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons makes the case for “meaningful” reforms to solitary confinement practices, says U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).
“The fact remains that the United States holds more prisoners in solitary confinement than any other democratic nation in the world,” the senator said in a statement Friday, when the independent report on U.S. prison segregation policies, conducted by CNA Analysis and Solutions, was released.
“The findings and recommendations of this report provide further evidence that we must fundamentally reform our approach to solitary confinement,” Durbin added.
“You don’t have to pray, believe in the same God or even a God to come to a prayer vigil,” Pastor Thomas R. Gaulke told a small group assembled in a meeting room at First Lutheran Church of the Trinity in Bridgeport.
Gaulke and the group were finalizing an agenda for a prayer vigil that some 60 people attended last night for the families and friends of loved ones who have been incarcerated. The vigil, which took place in an empty lot on 31st street near the 9th District Chicago police station and the Bridgeport Homes housing project, came together as part of a collaboration between faith leaders like Gaulke and community organizing groups, including Bridgeport Alliance, IIRON and Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation.
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has pledged to work with Chicago community and faith leaders in their effort to establish pilot restorative justice “hubs” with a focus on mental health services on the South and Southwest Sides as a means to keep people with mental illness out of the county’s jail.
The Reclaim Campaign, comprised of Chicago community and church leaders, wants to see more community-based alternatives to incarceration created in order to reduce the number of nonviolent inmates at the jail. Specifically, the group has called for community mental health centers, or hubs, to work towards preventing those with mental illness from being unnecessarily incarcerated.
At a packed public meeting Monday evening hosted by the Reclaim Campaign at the South Side’s St. Gall Church, Teresa Fraga, with the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council and Gamaliel of Metro Chicago, said a restorative justice hub would serve as “a community-based, accessible, affordable institution that provides health care to the uninsured, the underinsured and the undocumented.”
The country has made great strides in the 50 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law, but much remains to be accomplished, U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) said at a panel discussion on the topic in Darien Monday morning.
July 2 marked 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and natural origin.
“As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and all the steps forward … we really have to continue to ask ourselves: What are the great civil right struggles that we face today,” Foster asked at the talk with community members, held at the Indian Prairie Public Library in DuPage County.