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Expanding Rehabilitation: Scheduled Photos of Inmates

This petition had 276 supporters

Expanding Rehabilitation: Scheduled Photos of Inmates

It is said a picture is worth a thousand words.

Anathema Art has designed a program to create a cost effective solution to the lack of photos available for loved ones of incarcerated people. Starting with the Illinois Department of Corrections, Anathema hopes to successfully implement a Photo Day program, and hopefully expand to other prisons in the future.This program will not cost the taxpayers of Illinois any additional funds; Anathema will donate the supplies necessary to start a Photo Day program, including the printer, photo paper, and digital camera.

A single photo can convey a powerful message, just as it can heal, promote positive thinking, maintain bonds, and enhance memories. Photos of loved ones have long been used in psychology to reduce grief and pain, but just as they can provide comfort, the lack of current photos can cause a negative consequences in both the loved ones and the incarcerated person. Friends and families of incarcerated people often do not have current pictures, and do not get see how their son, daughter, friend, brother, or sister looks as their sentence passes over years or sometimes decades.

Many incarcerated people have families at a distance too great to travel regularly, either because of time or financial cost. With every year that passes without contact, an inmate’s family becomes older, and may no longer be able to travel due to the inhospitable conditions inside the prisons or personal health or mobility issues such as arthritis, lupus, diabetes, and other common ailments. These family members rely on a single mugshot-like photograph attached to their convictions provided by the Illinois Department of Corrections. This photo creates and maintains a negative impression on families and friends, instead of allowing them to focus on their dearly missed loved one and create new positive memories.

For those family members that can visit, these opportunities to take family photographs allow for a respite from the knowledge that their family will remain apart until the sentence is completed. It creates a positive focus during visits, and reminds loved ones and inmates of happier times, which can then motive the prisoner to seek further rehabilitative opportunities.

Over 80% of the prison population will be released into society at some point, and Anathema’s aim is to build and strengthen familial bonds and support networks rather than creating a wedge between society and prisoners. It is more important to find opportunities that encourage rehabilitation, like this program, rather than treating prisons like a revolving door of incarceration. These photos are just as important for the mental healing of the families as they are for the inmate himself to prepare for a successful and healthy reentry into society, which benefits everyone.


If you agree with our explanation above, and would like to support Anathema Art’s Photo Day program, please sign the petition below. If you have friends or family that believe in this cause, share this petition with them. Every name we get is one step closer to convincing the Illinois Department of Corrections to let us implement a no-cost program that has so many benefits to prisoners, their family and friends, taxpayers and society as a whole. Let’s make this happen!

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