By Christopher Zoukis A hand up — not a handout. That’s the philosophy behind Leon EL-Alamin’s M.A.D.E. Institute. Launched in 2015, the nonprofit organization provides an alternative to prison, with several programs aimed at providing disenfranchised people with the skills they need to help them succeed. M.A.D.E. stands for money, attitude, direction and education –…

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By Christopher Zoukis Prison might be the last place you would expect to see a great performance of Shakespeare. But for more than a decade, Marin Shakespeare Company in California has taught Shakespeare in several prisons, and to rave reviews. In 1989, the company launched to reinvigorate Shakespeare in Northern California, but has expanded its…

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By Christopher Zoukis In the ongoing discussion of prison reform, mass incarceration and reducing recidivism, vocational programs are often overlooked in favor of formal educational courses and other activities and programming. Maybe it is assumed that most incarcerated individuals have access to, and participate in, vocational training and prison jobs. At least that’s what popular…

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By Christopher Zoukis The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections spent 2016 making laudable strides toward helping improve the state of mass incarceration in this country. Corrections Secretary John Wetzel made a statement in December outlining improvements the Department of Corrections (DOC) has made in public, prisoner, and staff safety, improving transparency and fiscal responsibility, providing more…

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By Christopher Zoukis The Prison Entrepreneurship Project has helped transform more than 1,300 convicted felons into business graduates that have transitioned successfully back into society. The project focuses on male prisoners, and is a comprehensive, holistic program aimed at reducing recidivism, giving second chances to ex-offenders, and helping to ensure successful reintegration into their communities.…

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