Bill Ryan is a long-time prisoner rights activist. Originally from Maysville, Kentucky, he was born on a tobacco farm to a family of Irish sharecroppers and grew up in the segregated south. Professionally, Ryan worked for the Department of Child and Family Services. He became an activist in the early 1990s, and has organized against the death penalty, and now for elderly prisoners and parole reform. He keeps in contact with numerous incarcerated people across the state.

 

Renaldo Hudson grew up surrounded by drugs and violence, a childhood that left him struggling to cope with daily life. After two trials, the first declared a mistrial, Hudson was sentenced to death in 1987 for the 1983 murder of 73-year-old Folke Peterson. While on death row, Hudson began painting, and started his friendship with Ryan. Hudson has served over half his life in prison, and continues to appeal for clemency.

 

Janet Jackson is serving a life sentence for arranging the murder of her husband. She was found guilty of first-degree murder during a May 1987 jury trial. Jackson has said her husband beat her, and she suffered from battered woman syndrome. Since her incarceration, Jackson has been awarded a bachelor’s degree, a master’s, as well as a doctorate in Theology. She currently walks with a cane and suffers from severe pain in both knees.

 

Katrina Burlet is Director of the Justice Debate League. She graduated from Wheaton College with a degree in political science, where she was an active debater. Burlet interned for Republican congressman Peter Roskam. In 2017 she was banned from all Illinois Department of Correction facilities, and is currently suing the state in response.

 

Matt Jones is the Associate Director for the Illinois State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor, where he oversees government Affairs, records disclosure and external communications. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Illinois.

Copyright 2019 Scrappers Film Group

Stateville Calling also features scenes and interviews with Arkee Cheney, Nick Clooney, Paulette Fiedler, Charles Hoffman, Alice Kim, Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, Joy McCormack, Alan Mills, Rep. Elaine Nekritz, Dr. David Olson, William Peeples, Kathleen Ryan, Paula Sims, Emma Smith, Rep. Arthur Turner, Rev. Thomas Winikates, and Dr. Nancy Zarse.