Conference to Focus on Prison Education Awareness

Image courtesy stateuniversity.com

Image courtesy stateuniversity.com

By Aneka Otte

When one thinks about a traditional classroom, he or she might envision rows of desks, chalkboards or computers, maybe windows overlooking a school campus.

Arizona State University’s Prison Education Awareness Club invites the public to learn about a different type of classroom – one enclosed by walls, fences and prison bars.

On March 27, the club hosts the 4th Annual Prison Education Conference, where attendees will explore educational programming in U.S. prisons. The conference will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Memorial Union Turquoise Room on ASU’s Tempe campus.

Kyes Stevens, founder of the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project, will present the keynote address, “Building a Line, Drawing a Poem: APAEP.”

Stevens’ project has brought literature and art classes to prisons throughout Alabama, offering inmates a creative outlet. The project and similar programs not only encourage those incarcerated toward a more productive use of their time, but also nurture self-confidence and self-worth.

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Investment Guru Teaches Financial Literacy While Serving Life Sentence

Image courtesy The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Image courtesy The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

By Editor of Radio WPSU

Prison is perhaps the last place anyone would expect to learn about investing and money management.

But at San Quentin Prison, Curtis Carroll's class is a hot item. The 36-year-old has gained a reputation for his stock-picking prowess. He's even earned the nickname "Wall Street."

Carroll and prison officials have teamed up to create a financial education class for inmates. He starts off the class with a motivational speech.

"Financial education for me has been a lifesaver," he says. "And I have always been passionate about trying to make money. The problem with that money is it was focused in the wrong area — crime."

Carroll is serving up to life in prison for a murder he committed when he was 15. When he first entered, he was illiterate. Then one day Carroll grabbed what he thought was the sports page of a newspaper so his cellmate could read it to him. What he actually picked up was the business section. An older inmate asked Carroll if he knew anything about markets.

"I was like, 'The markets what?' " he says. "And he was like, 'Man, that's the stocks.' And I was really like, 'Man, nah.' "

The inmate then told Carroll that's where white people keep their money.

"I was like, 'Whoa, white folks?' I mean, anywhere white people make their money I want to be there," he says. "You know, growing up in the neighborhood everything was always associated with white prosperity, black not."

Carroll scraped together hundreds of dollars by cashing in unused postage stamps he acquired selling tobacco to prisoners. His first investment was in high-risk penny stocks, making just enough money to keep investing. The whole process motivated him to learn to read. Now, Carroll makes thousands of investments. He maintains notebooks filled with the daily stock price fluctuations of hundreds of companies.

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I Teach Philosophy at Columbia. But Some of My Best Students are Inmates

Image courtesy irasov.com

Image courtesy irasov.com

By Christia Mercer

On a recent Friday night, a student and I were playing dead on the cold linoleum floor of a prison. The woman standing over us was proudly proclaiming the coldblooded murder of her no-good husband and his unwilling mistress. As professor at Columbia University, I’ve asked lots of students to act out this 2,500 year-old scene from Aeschylus’ “Oresteia.” That night, surrounded by women who have spent years in prison, the power of those words increased ten-fold.

My incarcerated students differ radically from the ones at Columbia. When I walk into a tidy, well-equipped classroom on Morningside campus, I know my undergrads have spent years preparing for academic achievement, supported by family and teachers. Trained to ask hard questions, they consider diverse perspectives and then expect to get to the bottom of things.

When a correctional officer escorts me into a prison room equipped with rickety tables, tangled Venetian blinds, and no chalk, I know my incarcerated students have been locked away for years – sometimes for decades — with virtually no opportunity for intellectual stimulation. The culture they inhabit punishes people for asking questions. Solitary confinement is often the reward for any form of precocity. As one woman explained, “If you ask too many questions in here, you’ll be punished for having the wrong attitude.” The lesson is to keep your head down.

My main goal as a teacher in prison has been to create a space comfortable enough for exploration and insight. The circumstance does not make that easy. With a heating system so loud we can barely hear ourselves think and a correctional officer randomly peering through a window in the classroom wall, it’s easy to be distracted. A quick trip to the bathroom is overseen, and class ends not at the scheduled time, but when it suits the schedule of others. Although every aspect of my students’ lives is controlled, down to the details of their drab green uniforms, our class begins at the whim of the correctional officer on duty. “Welcome to our world,” mumbled one student.

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College for Convicts

Image courtesy facebook.com

Image courtesy facebook.com

By Kaitlin Mulhere

Twenty-five miles from Montgomery, Ala., in the middle of the tough-on-crime, fiscally conservative Deep South, sits an unusual place of learning.

A 20-foot fence with razor wire surrounds the campus. Armed guards stand at the entrances. Students wear jumpsuits, with ID numbers printed on the right side of the chest.

This is J. F. Ingram State Technical College, where every student is incarcerated. The college was created by the state in 1965, and it is adjacent to one prison but offers programs in eight others.

It's a member of Alabama’s community college system, but does not grant two-year degrees. In response to budget cuts, Ingram suspended its associate degree offerings last year. 

College leaders see Ingram as part of the solution to a state prison system marred by severe overcrowding, poor inmate medical care, sexual abuse of female prisoners and the threat of a federal takeover. 

But being part of the solution requires adequate funding, they say. In the past several years, the college’s portion of state prison education funding has dropped by 25 percent. Job openings have gone unfilled. The student head count has dropped almost 30 percent since 2008.

As a state community college created solely for inmates, Ingram is unique. Its struggle for money is anything but.

During the recession, state corrections departments reported an average 6 percent decline in money for educational programs, according to a 2013 report. That measures all types of correctional education funding. In many states, the trends in government support for postsecondary correctional education are even bleaker.

But there are signs of a shift in momentum. The U.S. Department of Education may explore the possibility of bringing back Pell Grants to prisoners, while a handful of state legislatures have considered changing laws that block prisoners’ access to college courses. There’s also a huge push from private foundations to demonstrate the successful college-in-prison models.

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Transgender Prisoner Denied Adequate Treatment Hangs Herself

By Christopher Zoukis

Petersburg, Virginia: At approximately 2:30 PM on February 24, 2015, Federal Correctional Institution Petersburg Medium inmate Ashley Jean Arnold (given name: Steven Roy Arnold), 32, ended her life by hanging herself in her prison cell. Arnold had sought medical and psychological care for her gender dysphoria in the two years leading up to her death, but prison officials repeatedly delayed care rendered and denied additional treatment components requested.

Born a biological male, Arnold served in the U.S. Navy as a fighter jet mechanic and even won an award for being sailor of the year for her squadron prior to being indicted and convicted of federal criminal charges related to child pornography. She was sentenced to a term of 300 months in federal prison and housed at FCI Petersburg.

For several years Arnold sought expanded access to medical and psychological care for her gender dysphoria (which the Federal Bureau of Prisons calls gender identity disorder). She sought treatment in line with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, the only such standards of care for the treatment of transgender individuals, which includes hormone replacement therapy, real-life experience, counseling and other treatment methodologies designed to help transgender individuals transition from their biological gender to their chosen gender. The Federal Bureau of Prisons repeatedly rebuffed Arnold’s efforts at seeking help.

In July 2013, Arnold filed suit against prison officials in the Eastern District of Virginia (Arnold v. Wilson, Case No. 1:13cv900), alleging deliberate indifference and violations of her Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. On December 23, 2014, United States District Court Judge Leonie M. Brinkema granted the government  summary judgment, deciding that prison officials were not deliberately indifferent to Arnold’s serious medical needs and had not subjected her to cruel and unusual punishment. While Special Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin T. Hickman represented the Federal Bureau of Prisons, jailhouse lawyers Sangye Rinchen and Christopher Zoukis assisted Arnold from their prison’s law library. While Ashley filed a notice of appeal, she took her life before the appeal could proceed.

Arnold’s cause is currently being advanced by jailhouse lawyers Rinchen and Zoukis, who are actively petitioning the Department of Justice to open a criminal inquiry into the sexual harassment and retaliation that specific prison officials exerted against Arnold leading up to her tragic death.

Zoukis can be reached for comment, interviews and supporting documentation at the following address:

Christopher Zoukis

FCI Petersburg

P.O. Box 1000, #22132-058

Petersburg, VA 23804

(Published by Prison Legal News; used by permission)

Update: Ohio University's Print Degree Programs

Image courtesy bizjournal.com

Image courtesy bizjournal.com

Ms. Kristi Large was kind enough to contact PrisonEducation.com with the following information about Ohio University's distance education programs.

I am writing from Ohio University eLearning. We are the department that handles online and distance education at Ohio University.

I'd like to give you an updated link to use on your Programs for Prisoners page when you link to Ohio University. The Ohio University eCampus homepage houses correctional education information, and it is much easier for an interested party to find the appropriate programs through this link.

http://www.ohio.edu/ecampus/

(You will see a link to correctional education information conveniently located in the header).

I'd also like to note that the degrees listed there are completed by taking print correspondence courses. We offer associate degrees, bachelor's degrees and paralegal studies certificates in print format. You can learn more about these programs at this page: http://www.ohio.edu/ecampus/print/correctional/index.htm

Kristi Large
Interactive Marketing Specialist
Ohio University eLearning
kl950814@ohio.edu
740-593-1773
ohio.edu/ecampus

'Paper City' Documentary About Education-Prison Connection

By Michelle Williams

A documentary about the Paper City will be screened in Monson this weekend with a discussion about the "school-to-prison pipeline" to follow.

The film explores the intersection of education, drugs and prison in Holyoke, through the narrative of native Holyoke resident Iesha Ramos. It was shot and directed by a then-Hampshire College student Akil Gibbons.

"Paper City" is about the American dream in one of the nation's arson capitals. The film examines the school-to-prison pipeline -- the nation-wide phenomenon in which high dropout rates coincide with mass incarceration of urban youth," Gibbons said. "The American dream today is achieved through education. If you don't have a high school diploma, which many in Holyoke feel unable to attain."

Gibbons interviews Holyoke officials in the film, including Assistant School Superintendent Paul Hyry-Dermith, Holyoke Police Officer Victor Heredia and Mayor Alex B. Morse.

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Indian-American to Lead Prison Education Initiative in New York

Dr. Nikhil Pal Singh / Image courtesy academia.edu

Dr. Nikhil Pal Singh / Image courtesy academia.edu

Dr Nikhil Pal Singh, an Indian-American professor, is leading a unique New York University initiative to bring college education to the inmates of a medium-security prison in New York state.

Backed by a $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, NYU's Prison Education Programme (PEP) offers credit-bearing, university courses that will enable students to earn an Associate of Arts (AA) degree from the university.

"By expanding access to a university education to incarcerated students, the NYU Prison Education Programme aims to help redress inequities that result from the fact that the United States incarcerates more people than any other nation in the world," said Dr Singh, faculty director of PEP.

[The] US has over two million US prisoners, "the great majority of whom are poor, African American, and Latino," added Singh who is also associate professor in NYU's Department of Social and Cultural Analysis.

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Less Prison Spending Leaves More for Education

Image courtesy azhousedemocrats.com

Image courtesy azhousedemocrats.com

By Tony Shaw

Would our state rather send our kids to prison than educate them? Governor Doug Ducey's budget confirms this with his intention to cut education spending while budgeting for thousands more private prison beds at a cost of $52 million to house nonviolent offenders.

As a private attorney for 42 years I have been involved in federal civil rights litigation against Arizona prison officials, last case concluding in 2013. In this work, I discovered our prison system is the third most costly budget item in the state. Our state has been paying private prisons to house nonviolent offenders for years, with no requirement of reporting and quality assessment. The recidivism rate is greater than ever, making us less safe. Here are some facts:

• As reported by The Blue Street Journal and Arizona Justice Alliance (AAJA), the U.S. spends six times more money on prisons than education and incarcerates five times more inmates than the world average.

• Approximately 10 years ago Arizona spent 40 percent more on universities than on prisons; today Arizona spends 40 percent more on prisons than universities.

• Arizona has the top incarceration rate in the West with 42,000 prison inmates in 2014, three times higher than the comparable population states, Washington and Massachusetts.

• In 20 years, Arizona population increased 100 percent while the prison population increased 1,036 percent, mostly caused by the War on Drugs, with non-violent offenders making up one-third to one half of the prison population.

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BARE HILL CORRECTIONAL FACILITY AND THE INTERNATIONAL MEN'S DAY "HEALING AND REPATRIATION" INITIATIVE

Image courtesy Diane Sears

Image courtesy Diane Sears

By Diane Sears

For the second consecutive year, on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 -- International Men's Day under the theme, "Working Together For Men And Boys" --  Bare Hill Correctional Facility located in Malone, New York participated in the International Men's Day "Healing and Repatriation" Initiative which provides Incarcerated Men with the opportunity to join individuals, institutions, and organizations in 80 nations in celebrating International Men's Day.  Under the leadership of Mr. Carry Greaves, a Senior Contributing Editor for IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R) and the Empowerment Coordinator for International Men's Day, a "Call To Prayer" was observed in conjunction with the International Day of Prayer for Men and Boys at Bare Hill Correctional Facility on 19 November 2014.  The "Call To Prayer" was followed by a discussion forum consisting of Incarcerated Men who were in their 20s.  The young men talked about their past and a vision for their future.

Mr. Greaves had this to say about the event:

"The International Men's Day observance was beautiful, yet emotional. The participants gave testimony as to what they would like to accomplish in the future. They spoke about their lifestyle and families and what landed them in prison. The participants are very young men who, for the most part, did not have a father growing up.  All of them blame the fact of not having a father in their homes as the reason why they went astray, joined gangs, sold drugs, and came to prison.  But what I realized is that many of the youth today definitely need a constant guide in their lives.  Someone who will take them under their wings and guide them in the right direction.  There are so many variables as to why they are living a destructive lifestyle.  But we can't continue to just treat the effect and ignore the cause.  We have to go to the root of the problem. We have to take a look at their education, their family life, and go full steam ahead and inspire them to look within so that we bring out the best in them.  It's a lot of work, but we can't give up."

In 2012, for the first time, International Men’s Day was observed in an American correctional facility – the Clinton Correctional Facility located in Dannemora, New York.  On Monday, 19 November 2012, the Clinton Correctional Facility joined individuals, institutions, and organizations throughout our global village in observing 2012 International Men’s Dayunder the theme, “Helping Men and Boys Live Longer, Happier, Healthier Lives”. The success of the inaugural observance of 2012 International Men’s Day at the Clinton Correctional Facility spawned the creation of the International Men’s DayHealing and Repatriation Initiative” in January 2013.   A number of International Men’s Day Coordinators in other nations are considering implementing this initiative in their respective countries.   Observance of International Men’s Day at correctional facilities have taken the form of workshops and discussion groups about a variety of issues that include but are not limited to education, reintegration, and reducing violence and crime in communities.

So what is the International Men’s Day “Healing and Repatriation” Initiative all about?  It is about providing approximately 2,500,000 souls in the United States who are incarcerated in the United States with an opportunity to participate in a global event which encourages them to engage in critical thinking about issues that affect them, their families and loved ones, and the communities in which they have lived and will one day return to.  It is about helping them to see themselves as ‘part of a whole’.  It is one of the many ‘first steps’ that must be taken to heal and “reconnect” spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally approximately 700,000 souls who are released from American prisons every year and place them on the path to successful reintegration into society.

For further information about the International Men’s Day “Healing and Repatriation Initiative, send an e-mail to: insearchoffatherhood@gmail.com.

Arizona Counties Vie for $24 Million Prison Deal in New Budget

By Craig Harris

Gov. Doug Ducey is opening the door to allow counties to compete against private-prison companies for a lucrative multimillion-dollar contract to house state inmates.

The move comes after county sheriffs — including conservatives — complained that the Republican governor and GOP-controlled Legislature weren't giving them an opportunity to make money by putting overflow state prisoners in their empty county-jail beds.

Instead, the Arizona Department of Corrections to date has mostly steered inmates — and public funds — to private prisons.

"We feel this is the best plan both for public safety and for taxpayers," Daniel Scarpinato, Ducey's spokesman, said Friday.

Scarpinato said Ducey's current spending plan, crafted with legislative leaders and still under debate, calls for spending nearly $24 million a year to move 1,000 medium-security inmates out of state prisons beginning July 1, 2016. He said the governor could seek another 1,000 medium-security beds in 2017 if needed.

The proposal is scaled back from Ducey's original $100 million, 3,000-bed prison expansion that came under public criticism because the budget also envisioned cutting education funding.

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For-Profit Prisons: A Barrier to Serious Criminal Justice Reform

Image courtesy meria.net

Image courtesy meria.net

By Dianne Frazee-Walker

Anyone interested in prison reform is aware the United States incarcerates more people than any other country in the world. Even though our country is large, only five percent of the world’s population inhabit the US. Incredibly, the country’s jails and prisons house 25 percent of all the inmates on the planet. An astounding one-quarter of all of the world’s prisoners are spending time behind bars in the U.S. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in every 33 adults in the U.S. is incarcerated in America’s jails or prisons.   

A major contributor to these outrageous statistics, which have doubled since 1990 is the “war on drugs” that has transformed into “the war on indigent people.”

The reasons for incarceration discrimination do not end with economic status. People of color are disproportionately locked-up for minor offenses. A significant factor for this social ill is a lingering policy that has sent countless offenders to prison for years. A small amount of crack cocaine found in the pockets of poor blacks has sent them to prison for decades. However, middle or upper-class whites will endure a mere “slap on the wrist” for cocaine offenses.   

More people are behind bars because of drugs than murder, rape or any other violent offense and it is costing tax-payers more than $50 billion a year to keep this atrocity going.

There is only one entity that is benefiting from this out of control economic disaster. The prison industry.

Business moguls have gotten wind of the mass incarceration problem in the U.S. and are making profits off of a deteriorating situation.

The high cost of for-profit prisons is the underlying cause for the loss of liberty for millions of incarcerated individuals who are paying a high price for non-violent crimes. For-profit prisons are burdening the government and tax-payers with escalating debt. Outrageously, most of this funding is not improving prison conditions or the recidivism rate.

For-profit businesses want return customers. 

Meanwhile, private prison executives rake in multimillion dollar compensation packages.

Private prison officials are now admitting they are getting a little worried. They are confessing a concern that if prison policies begin allowing for lowering conviction eligibility and sentencing terms they would be in big trouble. Their profits are contingent upon how many people are locked-up. Just like the hotel business, the longer the stays, more money into their pockets.    

For example, in a 2010 annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the largest private prison company stated: “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by ... leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices ...”

The math is simple. As incarceration rates soar, so does for-profit prison commerce.

Between 1990 and 2009, the number of Americans locked-up increased by roughly 1600 percent. In the year 2010 alone, two of the biggest for-profit prison companies brought in almost $3 billion.  

For-profit prison executives are savvy when it comes to making money, but when it comes time to deliver the goods, private prisons fail. They end up costing taxpayers more money than public prisons and do not follow through with the economic benefits they claim to offer.

The truth of the matter is prison privatization is a deceitful proposition. For-profit prison agents are misleading states into privatization with false marketing tactics that claim private prisons save money. The truth is private prisons are draining money that could be used for serious criminal justice reform.  

For-profit prisons not only cut corners by not offering reform programs, but some are reported to have despicable conditions and untrained staff. Empirical investigations prove some private prisons are experiencing increased incidences of violence. The probable explanation for this set-back is corporate motivation to increase profits at the expense of hiring unqualified personnel.  

After an infamous escape from an Arizona private prison in 2010, for example, the Arizona Department of Corrections reported that at the prison “[s]taff are fairly ‘green’ across all shifts,” “are not proficient with weapons” and habitually ignore sounding alarms. Private facilities have also been linked to atrocious conditions. In a private juvenile facility in Texas, for example, auditors reported, “[c]ells were filthy, smelled of feces and urine.”  

There is an urgent need to regulate U.S. for-profit prison bureaucracies. Criminal justice reform is not possible until legislation can control the private prison industry's ravenous appetite for mass incarceration.

For-profit prisons are costing the public more money without keeping them any safer. When prisoners are released without reform they are more likely to reengage in criminal activities when they are returned to society. Criminal justice reform is only possible by offering reentry programs that promote reform and lower the recidivism rate.

Corporate greed is not the solution to ending mass incarceration.   

McCrory's State Budget Aids Prisons, Education and Veterans

By Paul Woolverton

North Carolina can increase its spending without increasing taxes, Gov. Pat McCrory promised when he released his proposed budget for the next two years Thursday.

McCrory's priorities include increased mental health care in the prisons, bigger salaries for nearly 10,000 correctional officers, more money for teachers and education, and a tighter focus on programs for the military and veterans.

"Our goal is to continue to demand efficiency and effectiveness in how we deliver our services," McCrory said during a presentation of the budget. "We're still fixing parts of the government that have been broken for decades. And investing in those areas and reengineering those areas to make sure our taxpayers get the best bang for their hardworking tax dollars."

McCrory proposed a $21.5 billion General Fund - the portion of the budget that covers most government services people may see in their everyday lives such as public education and colleges, state parks and the court system. This would be for 2015-16, starting July 1. For the second year, he proposes $22.2 billion in spending.

McCrory also wants the state to borrow as much as $2.8 billion for long-term projects. About half would pay for transportation projects and the other half would repair or replace old government buildings in poor condition.

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NYU Faculty Provides Education for Inmates

NYU.jpg

By Alex Bazeley

NYU launched its Prison Education Program to give those incarcerated at the Wallkill Correctional Facility access to a college education, the university announced Monday. The program, backed by a $500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, currently has 36 incarcerated individuals enrolled.

Wallkill Correctional Facility is a medium security prison for males located in the Hudson Valley. Rolled out for the Spring 2015 semester, PEP currently has two courses available with the possibility of an additional four during the summer of 2015. Following their release from prison, students may choose to continue their education at NYU or apply their credits to another university.

CAS Dean Gabrielle Starr and Gallatin Dean Susanne Wofford were approached by faculty members with the idea three years ago. Starr said those involved with the program feel that it is a way to give back to the people of New York.

“As it turns out, it is the single best way to give people access to a life when they get out that doesn’t involve going back to prison,” Starr said.

Students can currently choose to enroll in either critical perspectives on justice through creative writing or literary analysis and the politics of interpretation. Upon satisfactory completion of the program’s coursework, students receive an Associate of Arts Degree from the university.

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Mass Incarceration on Trial

By Scott McLemee

The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. It has come down a sliver over the past six years: the all-time peak rate was in 2008, with 754 prisoners per 100,000 population.

As of 2013, that figure had fallen to 716, but the U.S. has retained its carceral supremacy, even so. While home to roughly 5 percent of the global population, it holds 25 percent of the world’s inmates. And the recent decline in the rate of incarceration – down 3 percent, across 5 years – looks especially underwhelming in the context of the last few decades. The rate of imprisonment held fairly steady in the U.S. between 1925 and 1975, apart from a modest and not too surprising increase for a while in the late 1930s. It then grows an astonishing 500 percent between 1975 and 2000, before starting to slow down (but still to grow!) in the early years of the new millennium.

Growth of that kind doesn't just happen, somehow, through the operation of blind forces. Prisons exist, operate, and expand according to decisions that some people make -- and that most of the rest of us acquiesce in, if only through the luxury of not paying that much attention.

Please note use of the expression “most of us,” not “most of you,” since there is no piece of moral high ground to which I can stake any claim. It is easy (unless you are Simone Weil, perhaps) to learn some troubling statistics from the news and then not think about them again. Human beings invented statistics in an effort to understand and control the world, but they are also pretty good at keeping reality at a distance.

In his new book Mass Incarceration on Trial: A Remarkable Court Decision and the Future of Prisons in America (New Press), Jonathan Simon fits the numbers into a frame that renders them disturbingly intelligible. In journal articles and a previous monograph, Simon, who is a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley, has argued that the metaphor of a “war on crime” has become entirely too central to public life in the United States. Besides pervasive surveillance cameras, unrelentingly sensational mass media (“if it bleeds, it leads”), political candidates uniformly vowing to be “tough on crime,” and an essentially militarized police presence in some urban neighborhoods, we have gotten used to a prison-construction boom with economic effects described in a report prepared for Congress four years ago:

“About 770,000 people worked in the corrections sector in 2008. The U.S. Labor Department expects the number of guards, supervisors, and other staff to grow by 9 percent between 2008 and 2018, while the number of probation and parole officers is to increase by 16 percent. In addition to those working directly in institutions, many more jobs are tied to a multi-billion dollar private industry that constructs, finances, equips, and provides health care, education, food, rehabilitation and other services to prisons and jails. By comparison, in 2008 there were 880,000 workers in the entire U.S. auto manufacturing sector.”

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NY Launches Degree Program at State Prison in Hudson Valley

By Michael Virtanen

New York University has enrolled 36 inmates in English classes at Wallkill Correctional Facility in the Hudson Valley.

Their first courses are "Literary Analysis and the Politics of Interpretation" and "Critical Perspectives on Justice through Creative Writing." They take one or the other.

Backed by a $500,000 Ford Foundation grant, NYU's new program began this semester and can lead to an associate's degree.

According to the university, credits earned at the medium-security prison in liberal arts, or future introductory courses from its professional schools, can apply later in continuing studies at NYU or can transfer to other colleges.

"By expanding access to a university education to incarcerated students, the NYU Prison Education Program aims to help redress inequities that result from the fact that the United States incarcerates more people than any other nation in the world — over 2 million — the great majority of whom are poor, African-American and Latino," said Nikhil Pal Singh, professor in NYU's Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and faculty director of the program.

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These 3 Ex-Cons Got Scholarships to VCU

Image courtesy createathon.org

Image courtesy createathon.org

By Molly Greenberg

A new Virginia Commonwealth University scholarship is giving three people who were formerly incarcerated at the Richmond City Justice Center the opportunity to continue their education.

The three ex-cons who took college classes while in jail have received John Patrick Dooley Open Minds Scholarships, which will compensate for all tuition, fees and books for a three-credit course.

Named in honor of the late John Patrick Dooley, a VCU alum who served in Virginia's government for over 30 years and was father to John David Dooley, another VCU alum who was a teacher in the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office for 36 years, the scholarship is made possible thanks to the Open Minds program sponsored by the Richmond City Sheriff's Office and VCU that provides dual enrollment college classes hosted at the Richmond City Justice Center for VCU students and prison inmates alike.

"This is an historic moment," said David Coogan, co-director of Open Minds and a professor in the Department of English in the College of Humanities and Sciences, in a statement. "Our two institutions have never had a scholarship to encourage the best students who happen to be incarcerated go on to become the best students on campus. We hear a lot about the schools-to-prison pipeline. With this new initiative, we hope to create a prison-to-school pipeline."

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Image courtesy diversity.org

Image courtesy diversity.org