It is widely recognized that criminal justice systems and practices discriminate heavily against black, brown, and poor people who are our neighbors on the south side of Chicago.  We are convinced that as Unitarians we can make a difference by standing for humanity in all matters, and by advocating for the elimination of policies and practices that are unjust and punitively counterproductive in dealing with deviant or criminal behaviors.

The Criminal Justice Task force meets at the church on the first Wednesday of each month to educate its members, the members and friends of this congregation, and others in the area who are interested, about injustices and other shortcomings in all aspects of the criminal justice systems in Cook County, the State of Illinois, and those operated by the federal government.  We use our knowledge about injustices and other shortcomings in criminal justice systems to advocate, through any potentially effective means, for changes that would lessen the injustice and shortcomings in criminal justice systems.  In the past year, we contributed to several successful advocacy campaigns.

In recent months, invited guests joined our meetings including from Cook County Public Defender, Illinois Justice Project, the Illinois Institute for Community Law and Affairs, Senator K. Raoul’s office, and the Woodlawn Reentry Project.

We are currently focusing on the elimination of money bail for criminal defendants in Cook County and collaborating with the Community Renewal Society in advocating for elimination of legal barriers to ex-offenders for employment in the health care industry.

We are collaborating with Unitarian Universalist organizations that are working on these issues, such as the UU Multiracial Unity Action Caucus, the UU Prison Ministry of Illinois, the UU Action Network of Illinois, other religious organizations active in justice witness, and other advocacy organizations such as Safer Foundation.

To request addition to the Task Force’s mailing list or for information contact Evan Freund at efreund@chicagobooth.edu or 773-624-0333.