Illinois Coalition to End Permanent Punishments was created as an organizing and campaign hub for people directly impacted by the criminal legal system to come together, build a movement, and lead and implement advocacy campaigns to end the impact of a criminal record following people long after incarceration.

The main pillars of’s work are: organizing directly impacted people across Illinois to build and advance a movement; change the narrative around the needs and opportunities of people with records, and how vital they are to safety, stability, and prosperity for everyone; and advancing campaigns that will end the impact of permanent punishments. Permanent punishments (or collateral consequences) are legal barriers tied to having a criminal record, such as barriers to housing, education, and employment. Economic barriers related to public benefits and asset and wealth building are being prioritized and advanced first by the team. Campaigns will involve engaging people with records as a voting bloc, advocating to pass “clean slate” legislation in Illinois, and advancing the Fully Free campaign to end permanent punishments.

Key activities include:

1. Leadership development: Centering and supporting the expertise of people who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal system to drive change. This involves mentorship to build the capacity of directly impacted people who are engaged in the campaigns to become community organizers and policy advocates. Staff and consultants from and partner organizations will work together to provide professional development, and experiential learning opportunities in Springfield. Staffing and training regional organizers is a priority for 2023.

2. Organizing and coalition management: Organizing people with records across the state through a community-level and regional model, which will roll up into statewide coalitions of policy, direct service, and grassroots organizations to support the execution of the campaigns’ strategies. Each campaign has its own table to grow and engage in the work. Continuing to build and maintain robust coalition tables is the priority for 2023.

3. Communications: Communications strategies will continue to be important for all campaigns as we travel around the state, share the stories of our directly impacted leaders, and communicate the opportunities for change. This has been the weakest strategy to date for these campaign efforts (in their prior iterations), but we are building an infrastructure for communications strategies and staffing that will be paramount to building and advancing this movement over the coming years. Earned media, social media, and branding are priorities for 2023.