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Tuesday
Jul222014

College for the Incarcerated Book News: New Prison Education Books in the Works

By Christopher Zoukis

While it is still early yet, I have an announcement to make concerning my book Education Behind Bars: A Win-Win Strategy for Maximum Security.  As you know, Sunbury Press published this title in early 2012 to rave reviews from the prison presses.  Since its publication, we've been approached by several publishers, who are enthusiastic to give this project new life and enhanced exposure; two of which are McFarland and Company and Prisology.  I'd like to touch upon both today.

As you know from previous posts, I decided to divide Education Behind Bars into two books: one for academics and one for prisoners.  This way both texts could be completely revised and updated, then more effectively marketed to their target markets.  Well, the revisions are now complete on both books and publishing contracts have been signed for both, too.

McFarland and Company picked up the academic book and are publishing it under the title College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons.  And Prisology has picked up the prisoner correspondence guide, which is tentatively titled College for the Incarcerated.  Both publishers seem enthusiastic about the projects.

If you're interested in the academic version (for the general public and law makers), please head over to McFarland and Company's sales page for College for Convicts, where you can pre-order your copy today.  This book will be out either late this year or early next year.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jul212014

College for Convicts Book Available for Pre-Order: Support Prison Education News Today

By Christopher Zoukis

As all of you know, several months ago I signed a contract with McFarland and Company for my book on college for prisoners, College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons.  This book presents the current state of prison education, the reasons why policy makers and the American public should support higher education for prison inmates, and profiles a number of successful prison education programs across the country.

Today I'm proud to announce that we've made a lot of progress on this project and that the book is now available for pre-order at the following URL:

     College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons Pre-Order Page

While the book will not be out until either late this year or early next year, I implore you to show your support for this project by going ahead and pre-ordering your very own copy of College for Convicts.  This way, once it is available to the public, you will be one of the first to receive a copy.  Also, by pre-ordering a copy today, you will be showing the publisher that there is a great need for this book, which will result in additional resources being assigned to it's marketing budget, which will help to promote the cause of educating our nation's prisoners.

Thank you in advance for your help in this matter.  Together we can convince both the American public and our political leaders that additional funds need to be allocated to prison education programming, the most effective, proven method of reducing recidivism that we currently know of.

Friday
Jul182014

Retroactivity of Drug Guidelines Amendments

Today, the United States Sentencing Commission has scheduled a vote as to whether the November 2014 Amendments to the federal drug sentencing guidelines will apply retroactively. The new Amendments reduce the drug sentencing guidelines by 2 points and can result in a sentence reduction of 6 months to 2 years for many inmates. Most legal commentators are confident that the Commission will in fact vote for applying the new guidelines retroactively, the question is whether it will apply generally, i.e. to all drug offenders currently incarcerated in federal prison or to a limited and specified group of inmates. The Department of Justice is arguing for “limited retroactivity,” meaning only those inmates with no aggravating (non-violent) sentencing factors, enhancements and limited criminal histories. Many legal experts suggest that it would more appropriate to allow judges to be judges and permit individual inmate to apply to a judge and allow the judge to consider an inmate’s history, offense and offender characteristics and prison record.

Thursday
Jul172014

Breaking News: Fear and Discouragement Don't Rehabilitate Prisoners

By Christopher Zoukis

American Prisons: A Failure of the Greatest Magnitude

The state and federal prison systems of America are in tatters.  Inmates are being transformed into hardened convicts.  Recidivism rates continue to rise.  And all the while, the concept of prison rehabilitating offenders has become a running joke, ongoing dialogue on prison reform aside.

It's pathetic, plain and simple.  Inmates are real people that go through real struggles and aren't provided the tools they require to succeed, but still the American people expect prisoners to be rehabilitated upon their release from custody.  It's laughable to think that inmates could leave prison without any type of additional education, vocational training, or treatment program and succeed in an unfamiliar and unaccepting world outside prison walls.  American corrections simply provides no structure or protocol to promote recovery, and the significant stigma against former prisoners acts in a way that practically ensues that all will return to a life of crime and recidivate.

The Onion Presents its Case: Prisons Don't Make People More Employable?

It's crucial that prison policies, procedures, and governing principles changes to assist former inmates in leading a better, more productive, and law-abiding life after their term of incarceration has concluded.  In fact, the need for reform is so obvious that even "The Onion" -- the satirical newspaper -- wrote an entire article characterizing the thought process of those who think that prison provides inmates with the tools required to leave prison and not return to a life of crime.

"It just doesn't seem possible that an inmate could live for a decade and a half in a completely dehumanizing environment in which violent felons were constantly on the verge of attacking or killing him and not emerge an emotionally stable, productive member of society."

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul162014

Texas State Prison / Windham School District

By Christopher Zoukis

Name: Windham School District

Associated Educational Institution: Itself

Associated Prison: 89 Separate Prisons

Website: http://www.windhamschooldistrict.org/

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 40 804 Bldg. B, FM 2821 West

Huntsville, TX 77320

Phone Number: (936) 291-5300

Fax Number: (936) 291-5300

Email Address: information@wsdtx.org, Contact Forms Available on Website

Point of Contact: Not Publicly Available

Social Media:

  • ·         Facebook: None
  • ·         Twitter: None
  • ·         Google+: None
  • ·         Other: None

Texas Prison School District – A Chance for Change

Texas is not well known for its treatment of the prison population. But the Texas Board of Corrections has developed one of the few school districts that solely serves prison populations. Known as the Windham School District, the Texas institution boasts one of the largest prison education systems in the country.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul152014

Crowded Prisons, Unions, and CA Three Strikes: Why We Can't Just Build More Cages 

This video provides a unique overview of California's prison problem.  California's philosophy appears to be lock them up and throw away the key.  The bulk of California's prisoners are imprisoned for non-violent drug offenses.  The Three Strikes Law is briefly examined, along with so-called 'mandatory sentencing' guidelines.  Simply throwing money at the problem -- hiring more prison guards and building more prisons -- is not only a waste of money but, more importantly, doesn't work.

 

Monday
Jul142014

LGBT Month Celebrated in Federal Prison: A Validation for Lives Dismissed

By Christopher Zoukis / Huffington Post

At the start of June, pink flyers announcing LGBT Month started appearing around FCI Petersburg, a medium-security federal prison in Petersburg, Virginia, where I am incarcerated. The fliers, along with many colorful postings in the Education Department, explained what LGBT means: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. They profiled famous and successful LGBT persons, and generally strived to inject an element of understanding into the prison population, a population somewhat low on the concepts of compassion and understanding -- particularly as it concerns gender and social issues.

Continue reading ...