Erin Allen: Good morning is Tuesday I'm Erin Allen and this is The Rundown. Well yesterday was Martin Luther King Junior Day, and some folks across Chicago celebrated with art, music and something you’re obviously into – podcasting. My colleague Kristen Schorsch spoke to a few folks celebrating in Hyde Park.
Kristen Schorsch: At the Hyde Park Arts Center, 7-year-old Grace Hobson sat at a table coloring pictures of MLK and the Great Migration in beautiful shades.
Grace Hobson: Teal, silver and a grayish blue thing.
Kristen Schorsch: Nearby a group of teens shared stories about the South Side for a podcast.
Teen Podcasters: What do you all believe is something you can only get here in Chicago. Hmm good italian beefs. Where do you go? Do you go to Eli’s? Portillo’s. Portillo’s, yes!
Erin Allen: Around the city, residents also performed service projects to honor King and his legacy.
While they were doing their thing in Hyde Park, the United Way had an online celebration yesterday called the MLK Day of Understanding and Service. Sociologist Reuben Jonathan Miller talked during a webinar, and he tied MLK's vision of community with the need to help formerly incarcerated people re-enter society. My colleague Esther Yoon-Ji Kang is reporting that he says the U.S. has too many laws that shut out formerly incarcerated people.
Jonathan Miller: We've written 44,000 laws, policies and sanctions, that keep people who've caused harm, who I'm afraid of... keep them a mile from me away from my work, away from the polling places where I vote, away from the boards that I sit on.
Erin Allen: The MacArthur Genius Grant winner says fair housing, guaranteed income pilots and laws like the Pre Trial Fairness Act – are keys to helping returning citizens.
Prison justice advocates believe that reducing long prison sentences could be another way to address problems in our system of incarceration. My colleague Shannon Heffernan is reporting on a new study that says in Illinois, shorter sentences would not cause a major public safety risk. The Council on Criminal Justice, which is a nonpartisan think tank, partnered on the study with the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council. They're a state government agency that looks that criminal justice policy and they found that if long prison sentences were reduced by 30% it likely would result in more arrests. But the increase would be very low, less than 0.1% of all arrests and most of those would be for non violent crimes. One of the major reasons for such a small increase is that people tend to age out of criminal behavior. Since the sentences are so long now, people end up being older by the time they get out. Now the change would, however, decreased the population of Illinois prisons by about 2000 people, which potentially saves the prisons money and resources.
So last week I mentioned the CTA is changing its schedules to eliminate so called ghost buses. The ones that say they're coming on the app but never actually come. They're hoping that this would make the service overall more reliable. Which may sound like good news, but don't get too excited yet. Block Club Chicago is reporting this would mean for fewer buses at rush hour, longer average wait times and busier buses. On top of that, burned out bus drivers are nervous about the changes because it'll stretch them thinner and put them on more dangerous routes and less desirable shifts. That's because the CTA is running the routes longer into the day now. In other words, the service has only been moved around, not cut. A lot of bus operators say that when the changes were made they were neither briefed nor asked for their input. But CTA spokesperson Maddie Kilgannon says the new schedules were agreed upon by the bus union. Kilgannon said the new schedules are quote "temporary." They're going to use this time to study the impact of the changes.
And while we're on the subject, if you ended up on our website a few months ago airing out your grievances about the CTA, or your compliments, we finally tallied up your comments and those of hundreds of other Chicagoans and we shared them with the CTA. Go to WBEZ dot org to see the results and some responses from CTA officials, and if you missed my conversation with the reporter who wrote the story on this, the episode is called "WBEZ survey about CTA showing lots of frustration." You can find it on the WBEZ website as well or wherever you get your podcasts.
And a few quick hits before we get to weather. If you've never heard of oath keepers it's a far right anti government group. And more than a year ago NPR reported that Chicago police officer Phillip Singto had been listed as a member. And recently some documents came through showing that he had admitted to being a part of the group for three or four years but apparently he won't be punished for that. A Chicago police internal affairs investigation concluded that the allegation against him was quote "not sustained."
And over the past few weeks I've been updating you on a measure to protect folks who come to Illinois seeking and providing abortion care. Well late last week Governor JB Pritzker signed the bill into law. So now providers and out of state patients are protected against legal attacks from other states for abortion care performed here. As for weather today is cloudy and it's windy staying in the low forties all day going down to the mid thirties by tonight and that's it for The Rundown today. I'm Erin Allen happy to be back here with you. I'll talk to you bright and early tomorrow morning.
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