Join the NIU Women’s Studies Program as they investigate the effects of incarceration Tuesday, March 24, beginning at 7:15 p.m. in the Capitol Room of the Holmes Student Center.
The discussion, “Caring for Incarcerated Persons and Their Families,” is free and open to the public. The event is also part of the NIU’s examination of social justice and incarceration issues throughout Women’s History Month.
During the event, a panel of distinguished guests will discuss many of the issues prisoners and their families deal with daily.
The panelists include Mark A. Clements, who served 28 years inside the Illinois Dept. of Corrections for a crime he did not commit. He was later exonerated and is now Administrator of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty.
Other panelists include Rev. Will Andrews, a Methodist minister, who has volunteered at prisons in four states and currently teaches in Statesville Correctional Facility; Dr. George A. Gutierrez, Professor Emeritus from NIU and one of four chaplains at DeKalb County Jail; and Elizabeth Scipior, a participant in Kairos Outside, an organization providing support for women who have loved ones who are incarcerated.
The panel will share their experiences as well as answer questions. Also, representatives of the Education Justice Project, and Correctional Ministries and Chaplains Association will be tabling with information and resources.
“We hope this is the first of a series of programs around the issue of jail over-crowding, and all the other issues people incarcerated and their families struggle with every day,” said Bonnie Amesquita, one of the organizers of the event. “We hope the program will be the beginning of a community conversation on the issue.”
There are currently more than 49,000 people in Illinois prisons. Additionally, on any given day, there are at least 731,000 people in jails across the country. The United States holds more than 1.5 million persons behind bars. For each person who is incarcerated there are loved ones, families, and children who are affected on the outside.
Today, a majority of Americans support moving away from ineffective, costly policies that drive up the prison population, such as mandatory-minimum sentencing and imprisonment for non-violent and drug offenses.
Cosponsors include, DeKalb Interfaith Network for Peace and Justice; NIU Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; NIU Center for Black Studies; NIU Latino Resource Center; NIU Women’s Rights Alliance; NIU Departments of History, Sociology and English; and NIU University Honors Program. The event is also co-sponsored by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of DeKalb, the Social Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of DeKalb, First Congregational UCC DeKalb, Federated of Sycamore, Mayfield UCC, Four Square Gospel and the New Hope Baptist Churches.