Chicago Appleseed - Fund for Justice

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The Chicago Council of Lawyers invites you to participate in Collaboration for Justice Advisory Committees through which you can get involved in meaningful systemic reform pro bono work. For more information, pleaseĀ CLICK HERE.

Featured Collaboration for Justice policy blogposts. Please CLICK HERE

County and City officials have taken bold yet prudent steps toward sensible, cost-effective public safety policies. The County has expanded use of electronic monitoring and the City is now considering issuing a fine in lieu of arrest for marijuana possession-a move many suburbs have already made. Both plans aim to relieve the mounting fiscal, political, and humanitarian costs imposed by crowded jails and overburdened police and courts. They also represent incremental steps toward fundamental, systemic reform.

Recently, Chicago Appleseed was asked about unsolicited anonymous comments about judicial retention candidates and whether they play a role in the data collection for the Judicial Performance Commission of Cook County’s (the JPC) evaluations. The integrity of our data is paramount and we strive to use only valid sources of feedback. Nonetheless, the most valuable commentary we can collect from survey respondents is candid, honest commentary. In our data collection effort, therefore, we balance the privacy needs of data sources against our need to verify their responses. You can read this entire statement over at our blog.

Chicago Public Schools enjoyed a 94.7% attendance rate on the district’s first day of school. The turnout this Tuesday marks a four-year high, and a jump from 92.9% last year. CPS attributes the turnout largely to coordinated efforts among the schools, community organizations, and families. One of the main causes of poor first-day attendance is […] Read more about this over at our blog.

Merit pay is a notoriously tricky business. Reward short-term returns and you hang the future out to dry. Or, as we’ve seen in a growing number of school districts across the country, you run the risk of teachers and administrators taking shortcuts (ie, cheating) to grab the brass ring. Mayor Emmanuel has proposed an incentive […]

Criminal Justice Court Reform: Even conservative states are adopting lighter sentencing policies in response to unsustainable prison costs, reports the New York Times. Matthew Iglesias questions the social, political, and economic rationale behind increasingly curtailing formerly incarcerated individuals’ right to work. To read our staff picks, please be sure to visit our blog. Do you have some interesting articles you’ve read this week? Share them with us in the comments field.

The ACLU posted a fascinating infographic this week. The above graphic compares the change incarceration rates and the change in crime rates from 1999 to 2009. Illinois’ prison population has skyrocketed since 1970, but has not grown considerably in the past decade, as illustrated by this chart produced by the John Howard Association, a Chicago-based prison watchdog organization. Over on our blog, you can read more about the facts behind why prison is not the answer.

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