By Christopher Zoukis The concept of providing a college education to American prisoners is nothing new. As early as 1953, a few select prisons permitted such educational programming. But it wasn’t until 1965, and Title IV of the Higher Education Act, that prisoners were permitted to obtain the funding of Pell Grants for their college…Read More
By Casey Harper In a New York prison, one convict is asking for a college education behind bars. John J. Lennon, an inmate at Attica Correctional Facility, says inmates are constantly inundated with television, and that what flashes on the TV screen is a focal point of prison life. While watching TV is hardly punishment, Lennon…Read More
The study, conducted by legal commentator Christopher Zoukis, concludes that offering post-secondary and academic education to prisoners can cut $60 billion from the national budget every year – without scrapping existing programs. Zoukis has compiled his research and findings into College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons, a game-changing new…Read More
San Quentin is home to the Prison University Project, the largest on-site college-in-prison program among California state prisons. Inmates in PUP earn their associate’s degree for free, with volunteer instructors from schools like Stanford and UC Berkeley.
Opponents of higher education in prison, like those who voted down a proposal in New York earlier this year, say it’s wrong to give a taxpayer-funded degree to convicts. Some are fine with providing remedial and vocational education, but draw the line at college, a commodity families sacrifice thousands of dollars to give their children.Read More
After many hard months of work, I’m proud to announce that my latest book, College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons, is now available for pre-order through my publisher McFarland and Company. This book presents the arguments for expanding educational offerings to prison inmates in the U.S. and abroad, explores successful…Read More
Federal prisoners do not have access to word processors. Instead, we have access to typewriters and Trust Fund Limited Inmate Communication System (TRULINCS) computers which allow us to draft electronic messages — like emails, but not exactly the same — which we can send to approved contacts. Since word processors are so handy when drafting and revising text, I often utilize the TRULINCS electronic messaging system as the next best thing to write my school papers. By adhering to the six following steps, I can use the TRULINCS electronic messaging system to draft quality school papers.
Step one is to merely draft an electronic message containing the school paper. I do so by logging into a TRULINCS computer in my housing unit, selecting the “Public Messaging” option, and selecting the “Draft” icon. This allows me to draft an electronic message. Once in the new message file, I can draft as I see fit, though this is done within the system parameters. Two such parameters concern length of the message and time spent within the electronic messaging folio. Messages are allowed to be a maximum of 13,000 characters and prisoners are only allowed to spend 30 minutes at a time in the public messaging folio. As such, if I want to write a longer article or essay, I have to use multiple electronic message files. Also, if I draft for longer periods of time, I have to log on to work, log off for the requisite 30 minute period, and log back on. It can be expensive: using the service costs five cents a minute.
In 2015, Alabama will spend $5.4 million on its prisoner postsecondary education program, to include Calhoun Community College’s courses at Limestone Correctional Facility. Five schools across the state provide college-level certifications. The Community College courses are separate from adult GED programs in the state’s prisons. According to the Alabama Community College System, in Fall 2013,…Read More