“Shutting Down a Supermax: An Interview With Alan Mills of the Uptown People’s Law Center” @ Solitary Watch

Posted on July 17, 2012

July 16, 2012: “Alan Mills is the Legal Director of the Uptown People’s Law Center in Chicago, Illinois.  The Center has been involved in ongoing litigation on behalf of Illinois prisoners challenging the procedures used to send inmates to Tamms, the state’s supermax facility.  Shortly after Illinois Governor announced plans to close Tamms, he spoke with Solitary Watch about the path that led him to prisoner’s rights work and the Tamms litigation.

Thanks for agreeing to talk to us.  You’ve done a lot of prisoner’s rights work; can you tell us about your background and how you got involved in this sort of litigation?

Oh, man.  [Laughs.]  You may have to edit it down.  It comes from my youth I suppose—my mother was very active in the Civil Rights Movement in Baltimore in the mid-sixties.  One of my first memories is stuffing envelopes for a demonstration.  And during that process she became interested in jails, and then when I was in college she spent a lot of time working on prison and jail issues in Maryland.  So that’s an issue I’ve been interested in since I was a little kid.

Then once I got to the People’s Uptown Law Center, the Law Center has always had the firm belief that people who are in prison need to be treated as members of your community.  We are a community-based law center, and people go to prison from the community and people from prison come back into the community………………..”

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