Juvenile Life Without Parole, and the Hope and Horror of Re-sentencing by Susan Du
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Tuesday afternoons around lunchtime, Precious Blood Ministry in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood opens for a group of mothers chatting up to the door, balancing home-made lasagna and chocolate chip cookies. They come from the West and South Sides of Chicago, and they’re good friends despite their circumstances for coming together, which isn’t just to discuss the polar vortex over sloppy joes.
The group’s leader is a redheaded real estate agent named Julie Anderson, whose brawling voice precedes a plain-spoken personality highlighted by intermittent, self-deprecating quips at the expense of her own Catholic idiosyncrasies. Others include mother-daughter pairs and grandmothers who make the trek down to Precious Blood every week alone. One woman carries a petition along with a photo of her son everywhere she goes. Another reads aloud to the group a letter she wrote to a prison inmate whom she has never met.
Regardless of this year’s unusually frigid winter, about 10 women show up regularly.