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The Good News

Submissions from around the Archdiocese

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Communities & Relatives of Illinois Incarcerated Children to receive Kinship Award from Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation

By Teresa Brinati

Communities & Relatives of Illinois Incarcerated Children (CRIIC) is the recipient of the 2017 Kinship Award from the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation (PBMR). The Kinship Award recognizes community contributions and social justice efforts that have strengthened the ministry’s mission of providing hope, healing and hospitality to at-risk youth, and the families of those who have lost loved ones through violence or incarceration. CRIIC will receive the Kinship Award on April 26, at PBMR’s annual gala, taking place at Chez, 247 E. Ontario St., from 6 to 9 p.m.

Founded in 2012, CRIIC is a community-based support group in Chicago for those who have loved ones serving life without parole or extreme sentences imposed on them before their 18th birthday. The group is organized by Julie Anderson, whose son was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 at the age of 15. Through monthly meetings, CRIIC keeps track of current legislative efforts and litigation as well as offers support and encouragement. In a world where families with incarcerated loved ones often feel ashamed, guilty and judged, the CRIIC monthly meetings provide members with a forum to share and offer each other comfort.

CRIIC has organized nearly a half-dozen trips to Menard Correctional Center in southern Illinois, approximately 370 miles from Chicago. Anderson said that it is often difficult for families to visit on their own. On one one of the first trips, she recalled, a grandmother saw her grandson whom she had not seen in eight years.

CRIIC is also involved in criminal justice reform, focusing on conditions of confinement and bringing back second chances for children in Illinois, which would allow those sentenced before their 21st birthday to have a review after serving 20 years. Illinois currently does not have any type of review.

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