EJP alumnus spotlight: Michael Harrell

Michael Harrell knows the exact number of days he was incarcerated: 20 years, 5 months, 4 weeks, and 3 days. Six months after his release, Michael is now a Reentry Case Manager at Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, a nonprofit restorative justice organization. He helps trauma-impacted individuals acquire basic documentation and achieve their goals. Some…

Illinois Higher Education in Prison Task Force: Expert Testimony

Higher education in prison experts Tim Barnett and Sharon Varallo presented at the Illinois Higher Education in Prison Task Force on May 5, 2022. Sharon Vallaro is the Executive Director of the Augustana Prison Education Program (APEP), which allows incarcerated individuals at East Moline Correctional Center the opportunity to earn bachelor’s degrees. Professor Vallaro emphasized…

Mexican Scholarship recipient: Alejandro Sandria, avid painter

Alejandro Sandria’s nervous excitement is palpable as his wife translates. He is the recipient of an EJP scholarship, awarded this spring to a formerly incarcerated individual residing in Mexico. These need-based scholarships provide support for further study at a secondary or post-secondary institution. Alejandro plans to use these funds to pursue his own personal study…

Impact week with Keiahty Jones: The challenges of reentry

Keiahty Jones, EJP alumni incarcerated for almost 14 years, was able to go home in November. How would he summarize reentry? “It’s like walking on glass through a desert,” he said. Keiahty spoke about his experiences during prison and reentry as part of EJP’s 2022 Impact Week, which featured EJP alumni speaking to EJP supporters…

From surviving to thriving: Happy’s story on the importance of education to reentry

After being incarcerated for 22 years, one of David “Happy” Todd’s biggest challenges upon release was adjusting to his family and their way of living. Happy shared his reentry experiences with his family as part of EJP’s 2022 Impact Week, which featured EJP alumni speaking to small groups of EJP supporters via zoom. To them,…

EJP through the lens of prison abolition

As an organization committed not only to mitigating the negative impacts of incarceration but also to supporting  more just and humane responses to harm and violence, many members of EJP strive to enact abolitionist values throughout the work that we do.   Prison abolition is a multifaceted, complex subject that goes far beyond merely closing prisons….