Laurie Jo Reynolds
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. She is currently working on cultural and policy fronts to assess the unintended consequences of public crime registries in Illinois and to support efforts to bring back discretionary parole for long-term prisoners. Her upcoming projects include Prison Aesthetics and Policy, an interdisciplinary effort to research the aesthetic and sensory experiences of prisoners; and Honey Bun Comedy Hour, a pedagogical performance depicting the horror, boredom and small mercies of the prison life and community supervision. Reynolds is a Creative Capital grantee, a 2014 Blade of Grass Foundation Fellow, a 2015 Opportunity Agenda Communications Institute Fellow, and the 2013 recipient of Creative Time Foundation’s Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change. In 2014, she and her cat Leon completed a residency at the Museum of Arte Útil at the Van Abbemuseum, Netherlands. Before coming to UIC, she worked as staff on Governor Quinn’s re-election campaign.