“When a woman is in crisis, you do not put them in a cage.”

Raised by hardworking parents who put her and her siblings in Catholic school, Payne fell victim to the rough streets of the Ida B. Wells public housing complex, where her family was forced to move after her father became ill when she was 11.

Profile (Illinois)

Annie Sweeney
Chicago Tribune
July 18, 2018

Tags: Criminal Justice

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


Payne, a community organizer for Cabrini Green Legal Aid, saw firsthand inside prison how many women suffered like she did with little or no help. An addiction program she relied on was cut. She watched women with other problems — mental health issues, for example — struggle as prison officials used punitive measures to control them.

“When a woman is in crisis, you do not put them in a cage,” she said.

Payne said women need programming that will keep them from returning to prison, arguing, for instance, that six months before release all inmates should be linked to a social service provider in their community. She also favors more programming before women even get to prison.