(WTTW News)

Reuben Jonathan Miller, a sociologist, criminologist and social worker, whose work studies the long-term impacts of incarceration on individuals and their families, was awarded a MacArthur fellowship. 

This 2022 photo provided by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation shows J. Drew Lanham, Ornithologist, Naturalist, and Writer, 2022 MacArthur Fellow, in Clemson, S.C. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the winners of their prestigious fellowships known as “genius grants” on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2022. (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation via AP)

The Chicago-based foundation announced Wednesday that it increased the “no strings attached” award amount each honoree receives from $625,000 to $800,000 over five years. Fellows do not need to report back to the foundation about how they spend the money.

King Moosa performs raps that reflect his lived experience. (WTTW News)

Though there are about 1,300 permanent punishments on the books in Illinois — and countless more that aren’t — there are only a handful of ways to get around them. They often involve a complicated mix of paperwork and expenses. The records sealing or expungement process, for example, involves filing a petition in court, costing around $157 per charge. 

Kimberly Moss trains with the Chicago Women in Trades program. (WTTW News)

Many people who’ve been impacted by the criminal legal system say they frequently face problems finding employment. Some local organizations are helping people build new skills, while others are aiming to address laws and licensing requirements.

Timesha Brown experienced trouble finding housing after she was released from prison. (WTTW News)

The reasons women commit crimes are different, and often overlooked, researchers say. And since 58% of incarcerated women are mothers to children under 18, the permanent punishments they face affect not only them, but their entire families. 

After serving time in federal prison, Marlon Chamberlain now works with Heartland Alliance to reduce the legal barriers faced by people with criminal records.

In Illinois, an estimated 3.3 million people have criminal records, which can include everything from an arrest to years spent in prison. But even once their criminal case has run its course, the punishment continues. Those who know the system best are working to make change for those looking to rebuild their lives.

Stateville Correctional Center (WTTW News)

In Illinois there are more than 1,400 laws regulating the lives of people who are formerly incarcerated. A new book by Reuben Jonathan Miller examines these laws and how they affect the lives of people with felonies once they are out of prison.

Demonstrators loyal to President Donald Trump, are sprayed by police, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, during a day of rioting at the Capitol. (AP Photo / John Minchillo)

There were signs for weeks that violence could strike on Jan. 6, when Congress convened for a joint session to finish counting the Electoral College votes that would confirm Democrat Joe Biden had won the presidential election.

(cocoparisienne / Pixabay)

Just about every teenager gets safe-driving tips from their parents when they get their first driver’s license. But for black teens, the freedom and independence that comes with driving necessitates an added conversation.

A chaotic scene in downtown Chicago on the evening of Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Hugo Balta / WTTW News)

The line between peaceful political protest and chaotic violence can be become blurred in an instant. Activist Jahmal Cole and educator Reuben Jonathan Miller of the University of Chicago weigh in.