Soft skills are essential to social integration. These are skills such as communication, empathy, organization and cognitive reasoning that enable people to interact more positively with each other. They’re non-academic skills that also help people become more accountable for their actions, and to pause and think before acting irrationally. While much focus is put on…

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By Christopher Zoukis It’s easy to think only of the crimes committed when words like “offender,” “incarceration” or “prisoner” come up. But we should remember that many offenders in our system of incarceration will be released each year, hoping to become functioning and productive members of society. With support and rehabilitation, these individuals can become…

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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 There are myriad issues with the current U.S. system of mass incarceration where more people are imprisoned than any other country in the world, and often in a hugely skewed manner — one which varies widely across states. It’s vital to reduce mass incarceration for the improvement of society, and for the…

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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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By Christopher Zoukis The Bureau of Justice Statistics has found that within five years of release, 76 percent of prisoners released in the U.S. reoffend. Breaking this cycle requires radical reforms in rehabilitation methods, and some surprising approaches are showing promising results —  downward dog and mantra chanting. Educational and vocational programs already in place for…

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