In the News

Groundbreaking Sealing Expansion Bill Signed

PRWeb — August 24, 2017

“As the leading organization that helps people seal their criminal record, we anticipate that this law will change the futures for thousands of individuals who felt there was no hope,” said Beth Johnson, Legal Director of Cabrini Green Legal Aid.

Chicago, Illinois, August 24, 2017, Governor Rauner signed HB2373, which creates better opportunities for people with criminal records by expanding the number of convictions that are eligible to be sealed under Illinois law. This legislation makes Illinois the nation’s leader in removing collateral consequences for people impacted by the criminal system and focuses on reducing recidivism to ensure that Illinois families can achieve positive outcomes associated with stable housing, access to employment and educational options.
Under HB2373, most records can now be sealed and marks a big shift in allowing people to move beyond their past. The bill has a limited number of convictions that will remain ineligible for sealing, which include: records related to driving under the influence, domestic violence, harm to animals, and sexual assault. Before today, Illinois law allowed for only nine convictions to be sealed.

Read the full story

IMPACT 100 Chicago Awards $652,000 to Chicago area Nonprofits

IMPACT 100 Chicago — June 30, 2017

“To say we are impressed by the work these nonprofits are doing to better the lives of disadvantaged individuals in our Chicagoland communities is an understatement,” said Michele Polvere, board chair, Impact 100 Chicago and one of the organization’s founders.

Palatine, Ill., June 30, 2017 – Impact 100 Chicago, a women’s philanthropic organization, awarded $652,000 to 11 Chicago area nonprofit finalists, including six individual $100,000 Impact
grants and five merit awards. The awards were presented at Impact 100 Chicago’s annual Grant Award Celebrations in May and June.
More than 200 area nonprofits applied for an Impact 100 Chicago grant during the 2016-2017 grant cycle. Impact 100 Chicago members¾women from across the city and suburbs¾ pool their $1,000 membership donations and vote to select the $100,000 Impact grant winners. Since its inception in 2010, Impact 100 Chicago has awarded more than $2.5 million in high impact grants that have a transformative effect on the receiving organizations and those they serve.

The six $100,000 Impact grants were awarded to:
Brighton Park Neighborhood Council
Cabrini Green Legal Aid
CASA of Cook County
Chicago Debate Commission
Chicago House and Social Service Agency
The People’s Music School

Read the full story
“Studies have shown that the greatest indicator of success post-incarceration is social connectedness, having connections with friends and family,”

Alexis Mansfield, Cabrini Green Legal Aid

Mothers in prison: Who is being punished?

WGN-TV News — March 1, 2017

CHICAGO -- Mothers in prison.

The children they leave behind.

And, the caregivers who step in to help when fathers often are not in the picture.

In this WGN-TV Cover story, reporter Gaynor hall takes you on a bittersweet ride that shows inmates aren't the only ones being punished.

A previous version of the "Reunification Ride" program was suspended because of state budget cuts. Now, they exist entirely through donations. Each trip for 50 people costs about $2500. And they hope to raise enough money for two buses in May for Mother's Day. Most of those children could not afford to travel downstate to see their mothers without the program. You can find out much more by clicking these links.

Read the full story

For Moms in Prison, Distance Can Hurt as Much as Time

Huffington Post — December 23, 2016

“When I’m here, it reminds me of what I need to focus on and what I have to go home to,” said Limari Siberon, who was visited by her young son and mother. As she watched her son color, Siberon held back tears thinking about the time she is missing with her son. “There’s no greater punishment than to be away from your child.”

LINCOLN, Ill. ― On board a pair of buses making the nearly three-hour journey to central Illinois from Chicago a week before Christmas, everyone has a number. The passengers are bundles of sleepy children, some accompanied by grandparents, who offer up a “one,” “three,” maybe “four.” The numbers represent the months ― and in some cases years ― since they have seen their mothers at the Logan Correctional Center.

Maria Moon has a number as well, and it’s specific: Three years and four months. That’s how long it’s been since she was at Logan, where she was incarcerated for 13 years.

“I always knew I’d be back,” Moon said. She was confident that her eventual return would be to create a positive change. “From the get go, I knew I’d be back here.”

Moon now works with Cabrini Green Legal Aid, a Chicago group that helped organize the Reunification Ride program for the past year.

Read the full story