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Core Issues

MacArthur Justice Center has become a national champion of criminal justice reforms, including:

Police misconduct

The MacArthur Justice Center has successfully represented many of the men tortured by former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge and the men under his command and is seeking full and fair evidentiary hearings for the dozens of men, who are still in prison in Illinois and have made credible claims of convictions tainted by torture.

Death penalty

On the litigation side, the MacArthur Justice Center represents capital defendants at all stages of the process. On the public education side, the Center has been a leading voice against the use of capital punishment and worked with a coalition of community leaders, grassroots advocates and other lawyers in an effort that culminated with the 2011 abolition of the death penalty in Illinois.

Parole revocations

Men, women and even children routinely have their constitutional rights violated in parole revocation hearings in Illinois. Class action lawsuits are underway against the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, Department of Corrections and the Juvenile Justice Department for routine violations of the constitutional rights of youth and adults.

Prison conditions

A June 2013 consent decree in federal court in New Orleans requires steps be taken to ensure prisoner safety and adequate staffing at the Orleans Parish Prison.  During the implementation of the consent decree, the MacArthur Justice Center represents the more than 2,000 men incarcerated at the prison where violence, sexual assaults, neglect and the denial of needed mental health services have been well documented.

Rights of detainees

The MacArthur Justice Center has been at the forefront of challenges to the detention of terrorism suspects without trial or access to the courts, and the Center’s lawyers have appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue for the right of non-enemy combatants not to be detained without access to the courts and due process of law.