Theology in Prisons

Religion is a touchy subject; so, what happens when religious education takes place behind prison walls? The goings-on at Nash Correctional Institution (NCI) give us some insight. Currently, at NCI, 24 inmates are studying for a bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry. Most of these men will be in prison for life, and the rest have…

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Northwestern Prison Education Program

Recently, we discussed the positive role liberal arts education has in prisons. Today, we take a closer look at the Northwestern Prison Education Program, which provides tuition-free liberal arts degrees to inmates in Illinois Stateville Correctional Center (SCC). Northwestern launched as an institution for higher learning in 1855. Five years prior, nine men sat down…

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In the November mid-term election, Florida voters approved Amendment 4, the Voting Restoration Amendment, a ballot measure amending the state’s constitution to eliminate a provision that permanently removed the voting rights for well over a million state residents who have been convicted of felonies. The new amendment becomes Article VI, sections 4(a) and (b) of…

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Liberal Arts Prison Education

Liberal arts. Anyone studying this subject is frequently acquainted with an eye roll followed by, “and how are you supposed to get a job with that?” Liberal arts has a bad rap, and that is very underserved. The truth is, liberal arts is among one of the oldest courses of study in the world! While…

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Notorious Boston gang chief James “Whitey” Bulger was found murdered in his cell at the high-security federal prison in Hazelton, West Virginia on October 30, the morning after arriving there from FTC Oklahoma City, a Bureau of Prisons transfer center in Oklahoma City. Bulger was the chief organized crime figure in New England, in part…

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Prison Studies Project

The Prison Studies Project (PSP) is an initiative that created a nationwide directory of higher education prison programs in the United States. The index was completed in 2008 and is updated regularly. The project was completed in partnership with the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice. According to PSP’s website, “PSP aims to…

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Federal inmates expecting to be transferred from a prison to a halfway house — what the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) calls a “residential re-entry center” — are being informed shortages of spaces mean they’ll face delays in their transfer, and consequently more time in prison. BOP can let federal inmates with good-time credit spend up…

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Prison Scholar Fund

Having spent 16 years behind bars, Dirk Van Velzen is used to the word “no,” however, he may have heard that word more than the average prisoner. Van Velzen went to prison in 1999 on commercial burglary charges – and he got bored. According to his story on Prison Scholar Fund, “he quickly realized that…

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