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Pictured from left: Loyola law student Jarrett Adams; Laura Caldwell (JD ’92), founder and director of Loyola’s Life After Innocence project, and Antoine Day are renovating a Chicago property to create housing and services for exonerees.

FROM PREVIOUS PAGE Life After Justice, a project spearheaded by exonerees

Jarrett Adams and Antoine Day, is a spinoff of Life After Innocence. Adams, who served nearly 10 years for a rape he didn’t commit, earned his undergraduate degree in criminal justice after his release and is now a second- year law student at Loyola and a full-time investigator with the Federal Defender Program. He is planning a career in criminal defense, an area he says is in great need of dedicated attorneys. “My family couldn’t afford an attorney, and my public

defender decided not to investigate—not even talking to witnesses,” Adams says. “I’m not bitter, but I’ve got a goal, a destination to reach. . . Now I have an opportu- nity to keep other people from experiencing what I’ve experienced. I don’t expect to change the world, but I do expect to further the trend of helping people the way I was helped.” Day, wrongly convicted of murder and attempted

murder, spent 13 years in the criminal justice system. Putting his own experience to the service of others, he’s now outreach coordinator of prison reentry at the Howard Area Community Center Employment Resource Center. In this position, Day mentors at-risk teens and parolees, implements job training and placement programs, and runs neighborhood stabilization and anti-violence programs. Safe, stable housing is a critical unmet need of

exonerees, many of whom leave prison with no place to stay. Life After Justice aims to provide a base of housing plus an overlay of training and counseling services to help exonerees find jobs, address their emotional issues, and otherwise adjust to their new freedom. Located on Chicago’s West Side, the Life After Justice building originally belonged to Day’s aunt. Renovations to the property are set to begin soon. “A lot of guys are getting exonerated and have

nowhere to go,” says Day, who originated the idea of Life After Justice and enlisted Adams’s collaboration. “They’re put in situations that are really dangerous for them. When they come out, they need someone to trust, someone they can build a relationship with.” Adds Adams, “This isn’t going to be just a house, but

a launching pad, with an emphasis on mentoring and therapy. We’re taking broken men and helping them put their lives back together.” As Life After Innocence approaches its fifth anniver-

sary in January, Caldwell, students and supporters, and their clients are celebrating progress and looking to go to the next level. “When we started, I had four students and three clients,” Caldwell recalls. “Now, I look down the table in our clinical space and see an adjunct profes- sor, 10 to 12 students enrolled in an established, effec- tive program, and an exoneree who’s now a law student. It’s beyond my wildest expectations. And we see how much more we can still do.”


Supported by Loyola alumni John Cullerton (JD ’74), Illinois State Senate president, and Michael Madigan (JD ’67), speaker of the Illinois House, Life After Innocence pushed for legislation that automati- cally expunges—rather than seals—the records of exonerees when they obtain Certificates of In- nocence. The Illinois Gen- eral Assembly passed the legislation last year, add- ing some mental health benefits for exonerees.



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