For decades, BPI has worked to strengthen neighborhoods around Chicago and throughout the region. This experience leads to an inescapable conclusion: In its current form, our criminal justice system is both a consequence of and a contributor to racial and economic injustice. Deeply flawed, it is in need of urgent reform, for the sake of both the health and well-being of our communities and the individuals who live in them.
In 2016, BPI served on the Legal Oversight and Accountability Working Group of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, and was active in the effort to enact two vital structural reforms, creating the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, and the Office of Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety. Currently, BPI is working with a coalition of community organizations from across the city to develop a meaningful community-driven process to help to build trust between the community and the police department and to ensure that reforms that move forward are informed by those affected most by policing in the city.
Mass incarceration is among the most pressing social justice issues of our time. Over-reliance on prison and jail, coupled with the racial and economic inequities within the criminal justice system, have devastating consequences for individuals, families and communities, and questionable public safety benefits. We cannot achieve a just society without systemic reform.
BPI’s overarching goals in justice reform are to reduce Illinois’ prison and jail populations, reduce recidivism, and increase reentry opportunities. Current BPI initiatives include:
In Illinois, more individuals are assigned to community supervision programs (probation, parole, and mandatory supervised release) than are incarcerated. BPI’s work focuses on:
For the tens of thousands of people who exit Illinois prisons and jails in Illinois each year, securing quality affordable housing is often an impossible task. BPI is working to expand opportunities for reentry housing in Illinois, including reducing the barriers of a criminal record to housing access.
Past initiatives have included:
October 2016: The Mayor and Chicago City Council approves an ordinance creating two new stronger and better funded entities to investigate police misconduct:
April 2016: The Mayor’s Police Accountability Task Force produces a series of hard-hitting recommendations to reform a badly broken system.
February 2016: State legislators approve the closure of the Kewanee Youth Detention Center as the number of youth in prison drops.
2014: BPI partners with the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) to craft a comprehensive operating plan designed to:
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