2008-09: Police Misconduct.
In the context of the ongoing investigation of police torture over the course of decades in Chicago, we investigated the way that even the most entrenched societal divisions, such as those in Northern Ireland, can be healed to create real and effective justice The timing was also fortuitous given events in the UK, which in June 2009 passed a law (allowing detainees to be held longer without trial). We travelled to London and partnered with key actors locally, including the People’s Law Office and author John Conroy.
2009-10: Drug Policy.
Timed to correspond with the introduction of several new key pieces of legislation in Illinois, we investigated the relative effectiveness of the US-led international war on drugs and other types of approaches to the use and misuse of psychoactive substances. This is one of the most widespread and yet least visible social justice challenges facing Chicago today – while the vast majority of those incarcerated in county facilities are in for nonviolent drug offences, many of those needing access to help for addiction do not seek it due to fear of legal reprisals. We travelled to Amsterdam and partnered with key actors locally, including Roosevelt’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy, Heartland Alliance, and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
2010-Present: Wrongful Conviction and Miscarriages of Justice.
As the Illinois legislature was poised to consider a repeal of the death penalty, spurred on in large part by the tireless work of the Chicago- area projects, such as Northwestern's Medill Innocence Project, its Center on Wrongful Convictions, and Loyola's Life After Innoncence Project, we took up investigating the points in the criminal justice system where the process fails and innocent people are sent to jail or put to death. The US and UK have been the pioneers for innocence projects. Results are measured one life at a time, but this may be the most important metric of all. We travelled to London in Fall 2010 and will do so again in Fall 2011, and are partnering with key actors locally, including Roosevelt alum David Protess, former head of the Medill Innocence Project at Northwestern, John Marshall Law School, and Rob Warden of Northwestern Law School’s Center on Wrongful Convictions. In addition, we are sponsoring a Fall 2011 speaker series that brings together key scholars in this field from across the country including Elizabeth Loftus of UC Irvine and Jay Koehler of Northwestern.