Blog Article

The RE:ACTION Workbook offers unique activities for incarcerated Illinoisans

In March of 2022, Illinois Humanities launched Envisioning Justice RE:ACTION, an exhibition and activation kit using the arts and humanities to imagine a future without mass incarceration. Since, the platform has reached thousands of users and published responses from Illinoisans who use the exhibition and Activation Kit to challenge their perspectives, learn something new, and create something from their experience.

Now, Illinois Humanities presents the RE:ACTION Workbook, a tangible tool with new activities created by folks with lived experience of incarceration, for incarcerated individuals.

Copies of the Workbook will be distributed to folks incarcerated in Illinois jails and prisons thanks to the work of our collaborators and grantee partners who facilitate programs on the inside. You can also download the Workbook or request printed copies from the RE:ACTION website.

Meet the contributors

Illinois Humanities is proud to collaborate with a talented group of artists and activists to create the 10 new activities that comprise the RE:ACTION Workbook, each designed for incarcerated individuals to deepen their reflection, healing, and creativity. Each contributor to the Workbook has personal experience of incarceration and has done remarkable work driving policy change and shifting the narrative around issues related to mass incarceration. Their thoughtful contributions have been a guiding light for this project and have made its lasting impact possible.

The RE:ACTION Workbook features work by Sandra Brown, Denzel Burke, Heather Canuel, Leanne Childs, Joseph Dole, Omar Johnson, Renaldo Hudson, Pablo Mendoza, Erika Ray, and Brandon Wyatt. Learn more about the Workbook’s contributors here.

A Workbook activity created by Erika Ray takes participants through a meditation and writing exercise.

Statewide partners put the Workbook in the hands of incarcerated Illinoisans

Now that the Workbook is available to the public, we’re working with other nonprofits in Illinois to make this resource accessible to incarcerated individuals in Illinois and beyond. As a part of these programs, participants will complete individual and group exercises that enlist guided conversation, writing, drawing, and more. Participants can then send the art, writing, and personal responses created during Workbook activities to Illinois Humanities using pre-stamped envelopes embedded in the Workbook, and their response can be published on the Envisioning Justice RE:ACTION website.

Our thanks to these partners for their ongoing work to create transformational programs for folks incarcerated in Illinois: The Education Justice Project, the Illinois Coalition for Higher Education in Prison, Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project, REAL Youth Initiative, WIN Recovery, and the Women’s Justice Institute. Learn more about our distribution partners here.

At the heart of this project is Illinois Humanities’ belief that system-impacted people – including the currently incarcerated – must be involved in the efforts to mitigate the harms of mass incarceration and build solutions that address its root causes. We look forward to developing more relationships with incarcerated individuals and organizations with programs on the inside of carceral facilities.

Stay tuned to learn more about our partners and the programs they facilitate using the RE:ACTION Workbook.

Have questions or ideas for a partnership? Contact Tyreece Williams, program manager for Envisioning Justice, at