Laurie Jo Reynolds is an artist and policy advocate whose work challenges the demonization, warehousing, and social exclusion of people in the criminal legal system, often long-term efforts that begin at the margins of political viability. As a 2010 Soros Justice Fellow, she advocated for best practices to stop sexual abuse and reduce recidivism, educating legislators about the harmful impact of public crime registries, residency restrictions, and exclusion zones.
Previously, Reynolds focused on Tamms, the notorious Illinois state supermax prison designed for sensory deprivation. She was the organizer of Tamms Year Ten (TY10), a legislative, media and public education campaign to explain the cruelty and lasting harm of solitary confinement. TY10 was launched collaboratively in 2008 by men formerly and currently incarcerated in Tamms, their family members and artists. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn reformed Tamms in 2009, and courageously shuttered the prison in 2013. In 2014, Reynolds served on Quinn’s campaign staff. She is currently working on both cultural and policy fronts to assess the unintended consequences of the Illinois sex offender registry after 20 years, and to support efforts to bring back discretionary parole for long-term prisoners. Reynolds teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago.