Chicago Reparations Fund

In an effort to apply restorative justice in cases where police officers and other parts of the criminal justice system coerced confessions from individuals held in custody, the City of Chicago in May 2015 established a reparations fund.

Program Details

The program provides some compensation to the victims of a two-decade long practice of coercion carried out by local police officers and condoned by the Office of the State's Attorney. The centerpiece of the program is a $5.5 million fund setup to provide upwards of $100,000 in reparations to each victim. Additionally the program calls for the Chicago Public Schools to include lessons on this subject in their local history curriculums, formal apologies to all victims and their families on behalf of the city, and funding for healthcare and counseling to victims still suffering forty years later. 

Other Details 

From 1972 through 1993, at least one former Chicago Police officer used excessive force to coerce over 110 men - predominantly African American - into confessing to crimes. For nearly a decade, the State's Attorney Office condoned the practice and continued using evidence obtained through such methods in court. City Aldermen Proco Joe Moreno and Howard Brookins introduced an ordinance to the City Council in October 2013, which was passed unanimously in May 2015, establishing the Reparations for the Chicago Police Torture Victims ordinance.  

Prior to the establishment of this $5 million fund, the City of Chicago had spent over $100 million in investigations, lawsuits, and settlements as a result of the police actions. False confessions from victims were a driving force behind former Illinois Governor George Ryan's 2000 decision to place a moratorium on capital punishment in the state.

Contact:
City Solutions and Applied Research

202-626-3163
brooks@nlc.org

Updated July 2015