Photo by Karl Clifton-Soderstrom, from North Park University’s program

IL-CHEP is a coalition of programs and educators dedicated to providing quality higher education opportunities for people who are incarcerated in Illinois. We strive to support our students as they build meaningful lives and prepare for a successful future in civic life.

Equally important, we encourage public dialogue and action to reduce our state’s and country’s reliance on incarceration.

Our next quarterly meeting will be Wednesday June 3 from 1 – 4pm. IL-CHEP meetings are open to the public. Please contact us at for more information and to receive call-in information.

COVID19 and Higher Education in Illinois Prisons

As of March 2020, all prison higher education programs in the state have suspended programming in response to the CoronaVirus. We are uncertain when programs will resume. We will post updates on this website.

What can you do to support incarcerated students, prison education programs, and all who work and live in prisons at this time?

  • Support IL-CHEP’s effort to get sanitizer and soap into IL prisons. We were asked by the Illinois Department of Corrections whether we could supply this and we are doing our best, working with several Illinois distilleries that have turned operations over to sanitizer production. Learn more and contribute here.
  • Sign onto our letter asking IL Governor J.P. Pritzker to undertake a review of our elderly and infirm jail and prison populations with an eye to immediate compassionate releases or medical furloughs for these individuals. Access the letter here. Follow the ongoing activities of organizations fighting for releases on the “Week of Action” Facebook page.

**Keep up with our response to the threat that COVID19 poses to individuals in prisons and jails through the Freedom to Learn IL blog.