Posts byJohn Maki

Field Notes: ‘You Are Conscious, but You Are Not Intelligent’

This post first ran on JJIE.org Last week, the John Howard Association, Illinois’ only nonpartisan prison watchdog and justice reform advocate, released “In Their Own Words,” a report that chronicles the journey of six young serious offenders through Illinois’ criminal justice system, from arrest to incarceration. Below is Jordan’s story (his name is changed to
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OpEd: New Territory for General Assembly in Attacking Chicago Gun Violence

At the end of last year, the Illinois General Assembly found itself in uncharted territory. In response to an ongoing crisis of gun violence in some of Chicago’s poorest communities, Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked Illinois state legislators for increased mandatory minimum prison sentences for illegal gun possession. John Maki is the executive director of the John
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OpEd: What the Case for Reparations Means for Jail and Prison Reform

I have been thinking recently about Ta-Nehisi Coates’ brilliant and haunting essay in the June issue of The Atlantic Monthly, “The Case for Reparations,” and what it means for jail and prison reform. Weaving together history, biography and social science, Coates contends that the unacknowledged legacy of slavery and white supremacy still exerts a harmful influence on
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OpEd: It's Time to Abolish Automatic Transfer to Adult Court for Juveniles

In Illinois’ statehouse, legislators are debating a proposal that would give judges the power to determine whether kids should be tried in juvenile or criminal court, regardless of the crime they are accused of committing. This would change Illinois’ current law that empowers prosecutors to automatically transfer kids they charge with certain violent offenses to
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Op-Ed: Kids and Mythical Knockout Craze

Here we go again. It seems as if every couple of years, we are compelled to repeat the same story—wildings in the 1990s, flashmobs in the 2000s, and now the knockout game in which kids try to sucker punch and knockout a stranger. These stories always begin with isolated reports of unprecedented violent behavior by
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