Sticker shock on pricey public records leads to waiver, new projects

A couple of weeks ago, we put out the call at Spot.us for help in raising the whooping $7,000 that Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown's office said it would charge The Chicago Reporter for pulling some criminal court records that we had been trying to track down. It turns out, folks in high places were listening.

We were advised to resubmit our request to Cook County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans' office. We did.  And he's since agreed to waive the fees. That said, the project is moving forward.

In the end, our goal is to explore what's driving the mass incarceration of poor people of color--and men in particular--from here in Chicago. The first investigation in the lineup is politicking from the bench. We want to know whether judges and prosecutors are more inclined to impose stiffer charges and sentences to boost their stats during election years. Check it out:

In the next year, we plan to do a series of stories with the data. We have all sorts of ideas for how we can tell the story of the mass incarceration of people from our own neighborhoods. That's where you, and your support, come in. Read more about the upcoming stories and learn how you can help the projects here.

© Community Renewal Society 2012

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