Our Work

Prisoners' Rights

Click here to see our class action lawsuits.

Uptown People’s Law Center has been involved in prisoners’ rights issues for well over thirty years. UPLC is the only group that actively represents prisoners in both class action matters as well as individual cases. UPLC has a database of correspondence with well over 4,000 prisoners. We receive close to 150 letters a week from people in all of the Illinois prison facilities, as well as federal, other state and county facilities. UPLC led the fight that closed Tamms supermax prison.

UPLC assists prisoners in various matters, including denial of adequate medical care, excessive force matters, denial of religious rights, discrimination, access to the courts, due process and cruel and unusual punishment. Through the pro bono network, UPLC is able to find legal representation for many of these cases. UPLC does not represent individuals in criminal appeals.

UPLC receives hundreds of phone calls from family members of prisoners, who we try to assist as much as possible. As part of our Prisoners’ Rights Program we provide other attorneys advice about litigating prison cases and other related information. Our lawyers and paralegals have an extensive knowledge of the prison system, prison litigation and information about Illinois Department of Corrections.

With your support, UPLC changes prison conditions and helps prisoners obtain basic human rights, from getting prisoners off gym floors and into beds, to helping prisoners with serious medical needs get treatment.

Tenants' Rights

UPLC believes that all people deserve safe, decent and affordable housing. To that end, we assist clients in fighting unwarranted evictions and recovering security deposits. We also work with tenants whose landlord has allowed the building to fall into disrepair. Our advocacy includes educating people of their rights under the Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance. Our work focuses primarily on helping people who live in public housing, project-based Section 8 housing and the Chicago House Authority’s voucher program.

Social Security Disability

Uptown People’s Law Center provides direct representation to clients seeking public benefits from both the state and federal government.
We represent disabled adults seeking Social Security disability insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income benefits in the metropolitan Chicago area. The Law Center advocates for clients at the initial application, reconsideration and hearing levels. Our staff will ensure the Social Security Administration has all necessary information in order to make their determination, including your complete medical record.At the application and reconsideration level, we will guide you through the process, keeping track of your deadlines and assisting you in the completion of the Administration’s many forms. If your case reaches the hearing level, our staff will obtain any additional evidence, review your complete medical record, and write a memorandum for the judge detailing your health problems and why you cannot work. We will prepare you for the hearing, including advising you what to expect and go over your testimony. At the hearing, your representative will be prepared to cross-examine the medical and/or vocational experts, advise the judge of applicable law and cite to your medical records.The Law Center can also help individuals seeking state benefits, including medical assistance and SNAP (food stamp) benefits. The Department of Human Services frequently changes the eligibility rules for state public assistance programs. We can help you navigate their rules, apply for benefits and appeal a denial.