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Loved Ones Self-Advocacy Trainings

Making a difference for those doing time on the “outside.”


We offer trainings for people with incarcerated loved ones in Illinois. We teach you to navigate the prison system and to advocate for your loved one.

As part of Restore Justice’s Communities and Relatives of Illinois’ Incarcerated Children (CRIIC) support group, this virtual training series was set up to help people navigate the Illinois Department of Corrections. Together, we come up with possible solutions to or explanations for issues our incarcerated loved one are experiencing. 

Advocating for families with loved ones who are incarcerated

For years, Restore Justice has fought for (and successfully secured) increased visitation rights and other compassionate practices that recognize the humanity of people who are incarcerated as well as their loved ones on the “outside.”

We also worked to establish a Family Liaison in the IDOC. The Family Liaison handles complaints and issues from people who are visiting their loved ones who are incarcerated. 

Upcoming Sessions

Advance registration for these sessions is required, and a Zoom link will be sent after you register. Registration links will be provided here once session dates and times are confirmed, generally at least a month before the session date.


Sign Up For Our Newsletter So You See the Training Dates

When we schedule the Loved Ones trainings, we will send the dates out to people on our mailing list.


Past Sessions

Below are summaries and links to video recordings or written summaries of previous Loved Ones Self-Advocacy Trainings.


Why should your loved one who is incarcerated file a grievance and what does that process look like? Speaker Alan Mills, from Uptown People’s Law Center, explains the step by step process, while Marshan Allen and Pablo Mendoza, both formerly incarcerated, explain how to write a successful grievance.


This training covers who can file for clemency and how to file without the help of a lawyer. Speakers Mira DeJong, Staff Attorney, and Rachel White Domain, Director of Women and Survivors Project, both work with Illinois Prison Project and have years of experience filing clemency petitions. Lisa Daniels also speaks about her expertise as a member of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, the body responsible for reviewing clemency petitions.

Medical Issues

This training gives an overview of medical care in IDOC facilities. Our speakers are Alan Mills and James Swansey. Alan is the Executive Director of Uptown People’s Law Center, a nonprofit community legal clinic located on the North Side of Chicago. UPLC is a legal organization that fights for justice for tenants, the disabled, and prisoners in Illinois. James Swansey was 17 years old when he was arrested and charged with a double homicide and armed robbery. James was incarcerated over 27 years and is currently the Program Manager at Restore Justice Foundation. While incarcerated, James worked in the health care unit where he helped care for those who could no longer care for themselves.


This training features Doug Stevens, the Transfer Coordinator at IDOC, and Camille Lindsey, the Chief of Staff in the Director’s Office of IDOC. The speakers will provide attendees with an overview of transfers within IDOC. Topics include how to find out about eligibility for transfers, who to contact at IDOC for more information about transfers, and what you or your loved one who is incarcerated can do related to transfers.

Higher Education in Prison

This training features Sarah Ross, from Illinois Coalition for Higher Education in Prison (ILCHEP). Also speaking is Angel Pantoja, a staff member of ILCHEP who was incarcerated for 23 years. While incarcerated, Angel took classes and served as peer educator.