Stand for Inmate’s Rights & Prison Reform
Stand for Inmate’s Rights & Prison Reform
Why this petition matters
Obviously a prison isn’t the Holiday Inn, nor is it meant to be a pleasant place to live.. but it still is a place that houses millions of people, who are just as human as you and I- people who deserve to be treated with human dignity. Many of us either know someone distantly who’s been to prison or have had very dear, loved ones there, or work in prisons or have first-hand experienced being incarcerated.. I have a loved one who is currently incarcerated at Lawrence Correctional Center in Illinois. He’s not one to complain but over time he’d mention things here and there about the prison that are absolutely unacceptable. I’ve done some research myself and found that Illinois prisons are notorious for their inhumane living conditions…
Issues that are detrimental to health such as heavy mold in the showers as well the cells— (inmates with covid incur even higher health risks), vermin running freely throughout the facility, unattended ant and roach infestations, brown water running from the faucets, no temperature regulation in the heavy cold of winter or heat of summer, no access to cleaning supplies (yet they’re expected to clean their cells), and one of the absolute MOST imperative topics- mental health is given zero attention. They do not have counseling available, and when they sent someone to ask inmates how their mental health was, my loved one expressed that he was struggling heavily with depression and didn’t know what to do, or how much more he could take and was met with annoyance and the representative stated “Well, that’s not my job I can’t help you”. He has also spoken to me about several instances where staff members taunted and egged on inmates who were about to attempt suicide..
Additionally there are endless communication barriers. Yes, this is to be expected given the circumstances, but loved ones on the outside (myself included) pay for video visits, phone calls, messages, just to be met with every hurdle and obstacle imaginable. Video visit quality is below poor, freezes up constantly, goes black or remains frozen for nearly an entire (paid for) visit. Mail is lost frequently and/or never delivered, phone calls drop often, loved ones on the outside who call the facility are often treated poorly or not taken seriously when attempting to address an issue regarding their loved one who’s incarcerated, the list goes on.
Again, nobody expects prison to be pleasant, but so many things about it are absolutely egregious. Many inmates work a job while incarcerated, and it’s clear that they’re attempting to earn good time, and be productive during their sentence. Despite their efforts, inmates are spoken to as if they are less than human. Yes they’ve made mistakes or have done wrong in their lives, but who hasn’t? That absolutely does not excuse or permit treating another human being as dirt, as scum with no human dignity.. From personal accounts of my own loved one, who again, rarely complains- racist remarks and actions are an every day occurrence, unfounded accusations and tickets are written against inmates who are purely trying to get through the work day- for which they barely receive any compensation… In many instances, a ticket was presented at a hearing, yet none of my loved ones witnesses were called to back up the truth, that he did not do what he was accused of doing. Following these “hearings” he would given a phone restriction for months where he could only make 2 calls per week. Again, this was a result of something he did not do.
Practice of religion is another issue, made nearly impossible by the prison. Religious items used for prayer that were mailed to my loved one had been held on to for “inspection” for nearly a month, then they were finally delivered after several calls were made to the prison. In commissary, often times pork is the only meat available, when several religions ban consumption of pork. During certain holy seasons, which require followers to pray at specific times, inmates have been banned and/or mocked by staff when trying to say these prayers. There is supposed to be a chaplain or a staff member specifically in charge of all religious matters in the prison, yet he is only present a few times per month.
I could go on for much longer, but there is simply too much to put into this. I appreciate anyone who took the time to read this and I encourage you to read these articles I have attached, siting even more atrocities. Additionally I included links to organizations that address these types of injustices, check them out!
Abused/ Beaten to Death by Staff:
Stateville Prison F-House:
Tamms is Torture:
The John Howard Association
The Illinois Justice Project
Illinois Prison Project
If you want to take action in any way, even the smallest of ways, please consider signing this petition and check out these organizations that fight for inmate’s rights, and for better treatment of those who are incarcerated.