Decarcerate Illinois

We call on Illinois lawmakers to take a realistic view of what community safety means and how to achieve it. Our current systems have been failing individuals, families, and communities for generations. The needs of survivors are not being met and the current system disrespects and harms accused and convicted people, making them and their families unsafe. We can no longer condone the harms of our current laws and allow them to continue to separate families and perpetuate harm for generations. Let's act!

From commitment to action! Please support bills that offer a truly progressive step forward in ending our reliance on carceral policies and toward proven policies for community safety for all.


A Decade of Prison Sentences from 2 Percent of Neighborhoods Cost $5.3 billion

Mar 11, 2013 | by admin

Taxpayers are spending billions to incarcerate Chicagoans who hail from a small fraction of the city’s blocks

Read this incredible expose on what are called “million-dollar blocks” by the New York based Justice Mapping Center. Here in Chicago, there are 968 census areas where more than $1 million worth of prison sentences were handed out from 2000 through 2011.

Angela Capato details her findings about mass incarceration from Chicago in this article about government transparency:

  • In just more than a decade, more than 147,000 prison sentences were handed out to Chicagoans, costing taxpayers an estimate $5.3 billion. The bulk of those folks came from just 2 percent of the city’s blocks;
  • Three decades after the “war on drugs” was first waged, fear continues to not only drive new harsher laws but send more black men into state penitentiaries;
  • A growing number of those adult felons are actually children. Not only does the number of 17-year-olds arrested in Chicago trump all other major cities, they nearly equaled the total of arrests in Los Angeles, Houston and Philadelphia combined;
  • Enough people have been convicted of a felony in Cook County during the past decade to fill the seats of Soldier Field more than three times over. Four out of five of those defendants were represented by public defenders who carry crushing caseloads that are the highest in the nation.