Difficult prison divorces easing with judge’s help

Last May, as part of a novel program fueled by the notion of equal access to justice for everybody, Chicago judge Dickler began hearing cases from the incarcerated via a videoconference call.

Column (Illinois)

Mary Schmich
Chicago Tribune
February 12, 2016

Tags: Courts, Divorce, Prisoners Rights

Organizations mentioned/involved: Cabrini Green Legal Aid (Chicago) (CGLA)


Some people may wonder why the incarcerated need divorce or why, as criminals, they deserve to negotiate time with their children.

“It’s trying to make sure that when people get out, they can get a fresh start,” says Alexis Mansfield, a former Chicago Public Schools teacher who now works for Cabrini Green Legal Aid, a driving force behind the program.

Some of the prisoners who have participated in the incarcerated litigants call, she says, were married to people who shot or stabbed them. They need to disconnect from harmful people, though keeping them connected to their children can be vital.