Public Forums and Events

Building Bridges to Successful Reentry

image showing panelists

As a response to mass incarceration and to address racial inequities in the criminal justice system, the Center has been working to increase access to higher education for returning citizens. In connection with this effort, the Center hosted a virtual public forum featuring a panel of five people who have expertise with incarceration and reentry through their research, employment or lived experience, including Illinois State Representative Lamont J. Robinson, Jr., 5th District.

Their wide-ranging discussion explored the challenges and disenfranchisement experienced by returning citizens, the barriers they face when attempting to access education, and what can be done to increase educational and vocational opportunities to ensure post-prison success and reduce recidivism.

Please follow the link below to learn more about the panelists and to view a video of this important discussion.

Video and Panelist Bios

Removing Barriers to Reentry for Older Returning Citizens

census taker

In response to the growing problem of our nation’s aging prison population, the Center is conducting a series of Summits on Older People in Prison and Returning Home, bringing together policymakers, community members and other stakeholders to:

  1. identify the unique needs of and difficulties faced by older prisoners as they reenter the community, and
  2. refine both social policy and service responses.

The Summits garner participation from high-level Illinois policymakers including the Director and Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), the IDOC Chief of Mental Health Services, the Deputy Director of the Office of Health Care Regulation (Illinois Dept. of Health), and the Deputy Director of the Illinois Dept. of Human Services (Division of Mental Health).

Key to the ongoing success of the Summits is participation from people who were once incarcerated and have experienced the difficulties of reentry, as well as family members of incarcerated persons. Their lived experiences provide real-world input into the formulation of more effective policies and services.

Helping Families Remain Intact and Self-Sufficient

Congressman Davis

Congressman Danny K. Davis convened a Child Welfare Public Policy Working Group, hosted and co-sponsored by the Jane Addams Center for Social Policy and Research on Thursday, May 30, 2019.

A panel of Chicago community stakeholders provided unique perspectives on a range of related issues, from how the Family First legislation will change funding for programs, to the legislation’s emphasis on evidence-based practice. The core focus, however, was the goal of optimizing outcomes for children, and keeping families intact and self-sufficient.

Understanding Young Black Men's Violent Victimization Experiences

panel discussion

JACSW Associate Professor Henrika McCoy is the principal investigator on a three-year national study named SURVIVE (Suburban, Urban, Rural Violence: Investigating Victim Experiences), which increases our understanding of the violent victimization experiences of young Black males ages 18 to 24 in areas throughout the United States. The study utilized community members who interviewed young Black men in a variety of urban, suburban and rural parts of the U.S.

On June 13, 2019, McCoy and the SURVIVE team conducted the public forum SURVIVE: Taking the Next Steps, sponsored by the Jane Addams Center for Social Policy and Research. The purpose was to present preliminary findings from the study, and to seek input from the community as to next steps and implications for social work practice and public policy. A highlight of the event was a panel discussion during which the community-based interviewers related stories they’d heard from young Black men about how violence impacts their lives.

A Vision for an Equitable Future in Chicago

millennial panelists

On January 21, 2019, in honor of Martin L. King, Jr.’s 90th birthday, the Center partnered with Global Strategists Association for the event Millennials for Social Change: Building a New Political Agenda to Improve the Lives of the Disadvantaged.

The event brought together millennial leaders to discuss the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, and their own insights and visions for equity in the city of Chicago. The conversation focused on the need for millennials in marginalized communities to be politically engaged, to utilize their electoral power, and to build movements within and on behalf of their community.

Prior Events

Panel Discussion on Sex Trafficking (2016)

Transforming Justice: Mobilizing Incarcerated Mothers and Young Women through Community Action (2016)

Perspectives by the Policed: A Forum on Building Community Justice (2015)

Dads, the Streets, and the Criminal Justice System (2014)

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