By Christopher Zoukis Grand St. Settlement is a social services organization in New York that focuses on empowerment, support and advocacy. In operation since 1916, Grand St. serves thousands of New Yorkers through child and family centres, education and skills-based programs. In November 2017, Grand St. Settlement announced a bold — and tasty — new…

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By Christopher Zoukis Utah has become the latest state push for treatment — not prison — for minor offenses, as part of an effort to offer those who without serious criminal histories and people with substance abuse and mental health issues a chance at turning their lives around. While Utah was already making strides in state…

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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…

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By Jerry Large  Image courtesy socksonanoctopus.com- Reading a series of Seattle Times articles about “the empty promises of prison labor” made me think how hard it is to get something good from a system that is, at its core, all about failure on multiple levels — of individuals, of families, of government. Reporters Michael J.…

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By Deborah Stipek and Kathryn Hanson Victor Hugo’s 19th century remark, “He who opens a college door closes a prison,” still holds true these days. The connection among education and incarceration was made starkly clear at Stanford’s 2014 Cubberley Lecture, exactly where actress Anna Deveare Smith brought to life the difficulties facing disadvantaged youth in American…

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By LEWIS W. DIUGUID / McClatchyDC  John Quinones said things about education that baby boomers of color depended on for the needed lift out of America’s ghettos and barrios. “It was a lifesaver for me,” said Quinones, ABC News anchor for the show “What Would You Do?” He spoke this month in Kansas City during…

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By Courtney Subramanian / NationSwell.com  Image courtesy wesleyan.edu

About two hours miles north of Manhattan, a group of young men meet weekly to debate philosophy and discuss composition. The curriculum is like any other liberal arts course, but the classroom is quite different from what most people experience.

These classes take place behind the confines of the Otisville Correctional Facility, a medium-security prison in New York where many of its inmates are serving life sentences.

Otisville was the first to implement the Prison to College Pipeline (P2CP), a partnership between the City University of New York (CUNY) and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS). Led by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Hostos Community College, the initiative selects inmates who have high school diplomas or GEDs and are eligible for release within five years to enroll as students through a process that includes assessment tests, submitting essays, and sitting down for an interview — much like the traditional college application process.

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By Christopher Zoukis 

Crime is down in the United States, but spending measures included in the $1.1 trillion federal budget passed by Congress in January 2014 will ensure that many law enforcement agencies receive more funding.

Insiders give much of the credit for the fiscal year (FY) 2014 funding increases to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, who is known as a strong proponent of crime-fighting expenditures. Senator Mikulski said the expanded funding represents a “truly bipartisan agreement that a significant number of members [of Congress] worked night and day [on] over the holidays.”

The big winners in federal law enforcement spending include the FBI, which received $8.3 billion, an increase of $248.7 million over FY 2013, and the federal Bureau of Prisons, which received $6.77 billion – an increase of $90.2 million.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also getting a boost in funding with a budget of $1.18 billion – more than $49 million over last year.

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By Christopher Zoukis Incarcerated parents in Nepal’s Birgunj prison are celebrating as plans have been made to create a school inside the prison facility for their children to attend.  The school will be located inside the Birgunj prison, which is located roughly 300 kilometers south of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.  Photo courtesy www.ekantipur.com In…

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By Carolyn Bucior

An inmate-funded scholarship will be jointly announced by the Milwaukee House of Correction, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Helen Bader School of Social Welfare, and Creative Corrections Education Foundation at an event Thursday, Dec. 5, 3-4 p.m. at the Milwaukee County House of Correction, 8885 S. 68th St., Franklin.  Image courtesy creativecorrections.org

Current inmates at the House of Correction have already pledged $400 per month to the scholarship, joining inmates in New Mexico and Texas. (That pledge amount will likely grow.) Their contributions will provide educational scholarships for children of inmates in Milwaukee County and surrounding areas.

The hope is obvious: for inmates’ children not to follow a life of crime. “We’re trying to break the cycle by supporting the education of prisoners’ children,” says Stan Stojkovic, dean of the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare. According to the American Correctional Association, up to 50 percent of incarcerated juveniles have an incarcerated parent.

The scholarship fund is the brainchild of Boscobel, Wis., native Percy Pitzer, retired warden of Oxford Federal Prison and founder of the non-profit Creative Corrections Education Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to support equal opportunities for students whose parent or guardian is incarcerated or paroled and to stop second-generation crime.

A total of 31 $1,000-scholarships have been awarded thus far in 2013, and Pitzer anticipates awarding nine more by year’s end.

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