Texas Non-Profit Helps Felons Start Their Own Businesses

Inmate reform

By Christopher Zoukis The Prison Entrepreneur Program (PEP), a Texas-based non-profit formed in 2004, assists inmates convicted of felonies to prepare for life after prison by developing skills and character, finding post-release employment, and eventually making a success with their own businesses. The group’s current CEO Bryan Kelley is a…

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Slicing and Dicing the Prison Commissary Business

Three american prisoners in orange jump suits surround a picnic table outdoors enjoying their prison commissary

By Christopher Zoukis The Prison Policy Initiative, a non-profit advocacy group, recently released a study examining how state prison commissaries operate. One observation made in the report: commissaries often exploit incarcerated persons, by shifting the costs of incarceration from the state to inmates and their families. The central problem, according…

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Private Prison Populations Grew Five Times Faster than Prisons Overall

A study of the statistics from the Department of Justice shows private prison populations are increasing five times faster than prisons overall.

By Christopher Zoukis The Sentencing Project, a non-profit advocacy group, recently released a short study on privately-owned prisons in the U.S.  One of the most striking facts documented by the study, Capitalizing on Mass Incarceration: U.S. Growth in Private Prisons, was that in the first sixteen years of this century,…

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House Easily Clears First Step Prison Reform Act, but Will Senate?

Doug Collins and Hakeen Jeffries

By Christopher Zoukis Four days after the White House prison reform summit (See “White House Summit Pushes for Action on the “First Step” Act” on christopherzoukis.com for more information), and 10 days after clearing the House Judiciary Committee on a 25-5 vote, the “First Step” Act (H.R. 5628) easily passed…

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House Committee Takes “First Step” on Prison Reform

Side view of American parliament building

By Christopher Zoukis The House Judiciary Committee on May 9 approved, by a 25-5 margin, the Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act (H.R. 5682), known for short as the “First Step” Act. Sponsored by Reps. Doug Collins (R-GA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the measure is a pared-down…

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Prison Reform and Redemption Act: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

An overhead view of the U.S. House of Commons, with the American flag in the centre

By Christopher Zoukis Introduction On July 24, 2017, Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) introduced a bill in the House of Representatives titled the “Prison Reform and Redemption Act” (PRRA).1 The bill is co-sponsored by nine members of the 115th Congress, four of whom are fellow Republicans. According to the text of the…

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As BOP Plans Staff Reductions, Does “Augmentation” Show Efficiency or Understaffing?


By Christopher Zoukis In February 2018, federal union officials from across the nation met with legislators in Washington to lobby against proposed cuts in the fiscal year 2019 federal budget that would prevent the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) from filling an estimated 7,100 currently vacant staff positions in federal…

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Ohio Experiences Continued Problems with Aramark Over Alleged Food Fraud

By Christopher Zoukis The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) over­paid food service giant Aramark $57,193 for food provided to nonexistent prisoners, investigators found. The overpayment was uncovered by the state Office of the Inspector General (OIG). According to a June 15, 2017 report, the OIG began investigating Aramark…

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