The main goal of Stateville Speaks has always been to provide a voice to those incarcerated, especially in Illinois, by allowing a platform for them to share it through their writings. It has also allowed us to disseminate information about laws and policies that may be of concern to those on the inside.
Over the past several years Stateville Speaks has been able to operate through the generous funding of Cynthia Kobel and the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Foundation. The newsletter has been able to be widely distributed because of her commitment to incarcerated individuals and their need to be heard. Additionally, because of her support, we have been able to provide no-cost subscriptions for any interested inmate.
Unfortunately, moving forward, Ms. Kobel and the Foundation will no longer be able to fund Stateville Speaks. Having said that, we truly wish to thank her for her past generosity, and we wish her well. We would also like to thank Northeastern Illinois University for providing us a space to house Stateville Speaks. Having a home base is important and has been a great help in maintaining order. However, the university does not provide funding for Stateville Speaks. We count on donors outside of the university to keep the program, (printing and postage) going.
Sadly however, our work here has not concluded, nor has it diminished. Over the years we have discussed many important topics, the abolition of death penalty, the closure of Tamms Supermax, police torture induced confessions, unfathomable living conditions and sometimes non-existent medical treatment. You brought to our attention Orange Crush, solitary/administrative detention/segregation, as well as the lack of programming or training for a possible re-entry, hopefully a successful re-entry into society.
While there are many, many significant topics that need discussing, none seem more vital than the chance to grow, change and make amends to society, none as vital as the restoration of parole. It is with that discussion looming before us that we are actively seeking other funding sources to keep the newsletter going. It is important to us at Stateville Speaks that we continue to provide an outlet, or voice for those incarcerated. So to any and every one out there if you are interested in donating, contributing or sponsoring, even one edition at a time, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at:
c/o Justice Studies
Northeastern IL University
5500 N. St. Louis Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625-4699
In the meantime, we will keep working at it on this end. We ask that you please keep it coming: the great essays, poems, drawings, insight and honesty. And as always, thank you for letting us be your voice. ■
Originally published in the Fall/Winter 2018 edition of Stateville Speaks.