Welcome to CLAIM

Join us to Celebrate CLAIM!

Join us for an extraordinary evening as we honor allies and advocates who have helped advance CLAIM's mission. You won't want to miss a special performance by CLAIM's Visible Voices advocacy group as we hear stories of hope and transformation, in collaboration with the Goodman Theatre's Education and Community Engagement Team.

Click the image below to go the event page!


Equal Voice Highlights Visible Voices

Equal Voice iconAfter getting out of prison Marquitta Nelson never imagined she would voluntarily go back, but earlier this year she did. She was fulfilling a promise sMarquitta Nelsonhe made to herself. Marquitta and other members of Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers (CLAIM), met with wardens and corrections officials at Dwight Correctional Center to advocate for improved healthcare for pregnant prisoners, more services for families of prisoners and discussed ways the community can be helpful. Being there brought back a flood of memories about her experience and her fears. “Fortunately for me, I found a way out, and I feel it is my duty to reach back and help the women who are sitting in Reception having the same thoughts I had years ago.”

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UN Expert Report

 Rashida ManjooThe following is adapted from a media release from the U.N. Office of the High Commission on Human Rights. CLAIM's Gail Smith took part in a meeting of experts in May at the University of Chicago with Rashida Manjoo, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women. On October 28, Ms. Manjoo issued a report warning of the disproportionate rate of increase of women’s incarceration compared to their male counterparts, as well as harsher detention conditions for them than men. “Women are being incarcerated for many reasons including incarceration for illegal activities which they commit in response to coercion by abusive partners,” Ms. Manjoo said during the presentation of her special report on the ‘Causes, Conditions and Consequences of Women’s Incarceration’ to the UN General Assembly. “A strong link exists between violence against women and their detention, whether prior to, during or post-incarceration. For instance, evidence suggests that incarcerated women have been victims of violence at a much higher rate prior to entering prison than is acknowledged by the legal system generally.”

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Support Our Work!

Please donate to CLAIM today! Please help CLAIM protect family rights, improve policy, and provide legal aid and client education programs to maintain the mother-child bond. This spring, we encourage you to consider donating to -- or even sponsoring -- our special "Celebrate CLAIM!" event on May 9 (form available here)! We welcome sponsorships via PayPal; please email completed forms to jessica@claim-il.org. If you would like to purchase a ticket to the event, please visit celebrateclaim.brownpapertickets.com. Thank you!


Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers (CLAIM) provides legal and educational services to maintain the bond between imprisoned mothers and their children.

CLAIM advocates for policies and programs that benefit families of imprisoned mothers and reduce incarceration of women and girls.

For current updates, please visit our Facebook page.

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Quick Facts

  • More than 16,000 women go to jail annually in Cook County Jail and about 82% are mothers.
  • About 80% of women detained at Cook County Jail are charged with non-violent crimes and only 1.8% of the 3,100 women admitted to Illinois prisons in 2009 were classified as a high security risk.

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Because children need their mothers.

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