Children With Incarcerated Parents Get Bill of Rights in Oregon

By Christopher Zoukis

One in 14 children in the U.S. has one or both parents in jail — and those children are four times more likely to end up in jail themselves. They also drop out of school at a higher rate and, if they are in foster care, are 65 percent more likely to become homeless once they age out.

Read More

Not So Hard Time: How Some Inmates Find Success Post-release

By Christopher Zoukis

The U.S. may have the worst recidivism rate in the world at 76.6 percent, but that doesn’t mean the system has failed every prisoner. There are a handful of inspiring stories about some that went to jail and used their time to turn their lives around, got out, and made lasting differences in their communities. Here are three of those stories.

Read More

U.S. Prisoners Among Least Rehabilitated in World

By Christopher Zoukis

It is often said that has the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Is that true? Yes. Statistics from sources like the World Prison Brief, an online database providing a look into prison systems around the world, show that America houses more than two million inmates — nearly 500,000 more than China, which is the next highest on the list.

Read More

Students Partner With Prisoners to Learn Problem-Solving Skills

By Christopher Zoukis

Anthony Covert made a bad decision. At just 18 years of age, he had a disagreement with a peer over a girl. The two decided to duke it out, but Covert upped the ante by bringing a stolen gun to the fight.

Despite shooting his romantic rival several times, the victim survived. But now, instead of graduating from the culinary arts school he was attending, Covert is now doing 30 years for attempted murder and first and second-degree assault.

Read More

Female Inmates Learn to Transcribe Books to Braille

By Christopher Zoukis

They may look hard to figure out for most, but a whole lot of raised dots are translating to new opportunities for a group of female inmates in New Hampshire.

The state’s department of education has joined up with the New Hampshire Department of Corrections to teach a handful of female prisoners how to transcribe learning and reading materials into Braille.

Read More

Pups in Prison a Promising Rehabilitative Tool

By Christopher Zoukis

It’s the 1920s, and Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary is both the biggest and the most expensive public building of the era. New rehabilitation tools are being tested here, such as isolation. A new prisoner is arriving today. He’s been sentenced for murder...of a cat. His name is Pep, and he’s a dog. And the charges were completely trumped up.

Read More

Inadequate Prison Food Linked to Bad Behavior

By Christopher Zoukis

According to research, despite the fact that eating a plant-based diet can help prevent and even reverse some of the top killer diseases in the Western world, and can be more effective than medication and surgery, the typical American diet remains high in animal protein, fat, dairy, sugar and junk food.

Poor diet leads to a host of medical issues, including higher levels of IGF-1, a growth hormone associated with cancer risk, heart disease, decreased lung function, inflammation, and even increased risk of dementia. Interestingly, poor nutrition can also play a role in violent and criminal behavior.

Read More

Is There Really Gender Bias in the Justice System?

By Christopher Zoukis

Have you ever watched Investigation Discovery? It’s a television network owned by Discovery Communications. Investigation Discovery, or ID, as it is commonly called, shows documentary-style programs and re-enactments focusing on violent crimes, complete with expert commentary from journalists, law enforcement officers and those impacted by the crimes. Psychologists also weigh in on the shows.

Read More

Prisons Under Trump: Going Forward, Backward or Standing Still?

By Christopher Zoukis

America has a reputation for dehumanizing rather than rehabilitating its prisoners. Jails are crowded beyond manageable levels. Privatization and for-profit measures have pushed more people into incarceration than ever before; for example, those with minor fines and misdemeanors. The prison population has a sixth-grade education level on average, and without access to prison education programs, released inmates often reoffend when their lack of education prevents them from accessing living-wage jobs.

Read More

What humanity learned from the Stanford Prison Experiment

By Christopher Zoukis

It was 46 years ago that psychologist Philp Zimbardo conducted one of the most important social experiments of our time — the Stanford Prison Experiment.

The experiment aimed to study the psychological effects of prison life, and students played the roles of guards and prisoners. Zimbardo structured the experiment to make everything seems as realistic as possible.

Read More

Prison exchange program brings diverse groups together

By Christopher Zoukis

An innovative learning program that brings together incarcerated and traditional students is breaking down barriers and giving meaningful and transformative learning experiences to all involved.

The Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program (IOPE) is a national initiative that launched nearly 20 years ago. This program brings together inmates with non-inmates, and the unique mix of students spend a semester taking one of a number of course choices within the prison walls.

Read More

Correctional Education Crucial to Inmates' Future Success

By Christopher Zoukis

America's prison began to spike in 1975. But why?

Prior to that time, the incarceration rate was pretty level. Since the late 70s, though, prisons have become more packed each year.

Many think the school system is to blame. With school shootings and other violent incidents, it’s become commonplace to see policemen patrolling the halls, to have metal detectors at entrances, and to have harsh zero-tolerance policies that can see students threatened with arrest for things like wardrobe violations. Kids can be made to feel like they are constantly suspected of being criminals.

Read More

It’s Time to End the School-to-Prison Pipeline

By Christopher Zoukis

The “school-to-prison pipeline” describes the unfortunate trend of kids graduating not out of school, but rather into the criminal justice system.

The pipeline effect is especially evident where large segments of the population are racially, economically and/or socially segregated, and where poverty, abuse and neglect are rampant. To put it bluntly, statistics show that nonwhite and disadvantaged children are at the highest risk of going from school to jail.

Read More

Florida Bill Seeks To Educate Prisoners to Reduce Recidivism

n Florida, one in four released prisoners is re-incarcerated—and it's a lack of education that's largely to blame.

With the average Florida inmate having just a sixth-grade education, the chances of finding steady work at a living wage are slim. Add a criminal record that turns off most viable employers, and many former inmates feel like they have little choice but to return to crime to support themselves. It’s a vicious cycle, and it's one that a proposed bill aims to break.

Read More

Lawmaker Pushes Reforms Aimed at Disabling Michigan's School to Prison Pipeline

By Christopher Zoukis

A Michigan lawmaker is set on hobbling the school-to-prison pipeline in his state.

The forum was titled "How to Create a School-to-Success Continuum: Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline." Zemke has long been a strong supporter of education as a way to keep youth out of the prison system. He sponsored legislation signed into law last year that gives local schools more autonomy over harsh punitive decisions for students when it comes to things like suspension and expulsion. He asserts that schools should move away from the strict, zero-tolerance policies that he feels feed the school-to-prison pipeline.

Read More

Governor recognizes achievements of prison school graduates

At a recent graduation in Arkansas, there were no mortarboards and gowns allowed — those could hide weapons. Excited family members were told to calm down and be seated when their cheers got too rowdy. There were locks, gates and plenty of security, but that didn't dampen the enthusiasm over the event, where 641 inmates of the state's prison schools were graduating, and Governor Asa Hutchinson was speaking— the only graduation speech request he accepted this year.

Read More