By Christopher Zoukis According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the imprisonment rate for blacks is declining and has been doing so for many years. But the BJS data also indicates that the trend is headed in the opposite direction when it comes to white incarceration rates. The change is most pronounced for…

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By Christopher Zoukis Maryland incarceration rates have been steadily growing in recent years, as has the average sentence length. In response, The Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council, made up of judges, lawyers, law enforcement, and lawmakers, was struck earlier this year to explore the reasons behind the booming prison population, and they are set to put forth…

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By Gloria Romero and Rishawn Biddle / Orange County Register The deaths at the hands of the police of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and the decisions not to prosecute officers in either case, should jolt reformers into demanding the transformation of both our failing public education and criminal justice systems – whose dysfunctions disproportionately…

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  Not only has our country earned the reputation for incarcerating more adults than any other country, but our criminal justice system has managed to win the world’s record for developed countries at 60,000 juveniles behind bars. Worldwide, The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that at any given time an astronomical one million individuals under…

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By Annie-Rose Strasser / ThinkProgress.org  https://www.prisonerresource.com/prison-education/Image courtesy Screenshot / NBC

Celebrities served as more than just pretty faces at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this weekend. While they were in town, several big names, from basketball stars to musicians, also stopped by the week’s Sunday news talk shows to get in a word about policy.

Among them was Black Eyed Peas frontman Will.i.am, who came on Meet The Press to talk about his education foundation. While there, the musician managed to weave together his interest in education policy with a powerful rebuke of America’s inactive Congress, and its problems with mass incarceration.

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From Diane A. Sears

PHILADELPHIA, PA (USA) – SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 — A National Dialogue on Mass Incarceration will take center stage at the Joseph Priestley District’s Racial Justice conference, at the Unitarian Society of Germantown, 6511 Lincoln Drive, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Sunday, November 3, 2013 in the form of a “Teach In”.  Image courtesy Diane A. Sears

The “Teach In” will occur on Sunday afternoon from 12:30 P.M. through 4:30 P.M.   A stellar line-up of participants headlining  the event include Eric Sterling, author and President of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation in Washington, D.C.; Mark Boyd, Esquire, President and Chief Executive Officer of Goodwill Industries of Southern New Jersey and Philadelphia; Michael E. Erdos, a sitting judge in the Court of Common Pleas for the City of Philadelphia; Portia Hunt, Ph.D., Professor of Counseling Psychology in Temple University’s Department of Psychological, Organizational & Leadership Studies in Education;  and J. Jondhi Harrell, a Social Justice and Reintegration Thought Leader and Founder and Executive Director of The Center for Returning Citizens.  A condensed presentation and discussion of “Broken On All Sides,” an award winning and nationally acclaimed film produced by Matthew Pillischer, Esquire will precede the panels.

Panels and “breakout” groups will allow participants to interact with formerly incarcerated persons who have established themselves in society or are presently engaged with turning their lives around and those of their colleagues.  

Mr. Harrell, a Temple University MSW student, and major architect of the forum, said he was pleased that the Teach-In will “bring together legal professionals, ‘returning citizens’ creative thinkers on Mass Incarceration, social justice; reintegration educators, social entrepreneurs, legislators, religious and academic institutions, social service professionals and providers, health care professionals and providers, and concerned citizens throughout the region who have key pieces of the  puzzle to resolve issues directly and indirectly related to the New Jim Crow in the United States.”

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By Diane A. Sears

According to the International Centre for Prison Studies which is located in London in the United Kingdom, at least 10.1 million people throughout our global village are incarcerated. Many of the incarcerated individuals are parents – parents who are disconnected physically and emotionally from their families and communities. In the United States, approximately 2,239,751 individuals are incarcerated and approximately 1.7 million children in the United State have a parent who is incarcerated. It is estimated that on an annual basis, nearly 700,000 individuals are released annually. We are talking about 700,000 souls every year returning to our communities who need healing and humanization.  Psychological First Aid / Image courtesy amovita.com.au

In the Spring of 2012, I had an opportunity to discuss with Douglass Capogrossi, Ph.D., the President of Akamai University (www.akamaiuniversity.us), who has designed and facilitates parenting programs for Incarcerated Fathers in correctional facilities in Hawaii, the need for the design and implementation of an intensive and mandatory psychological debriefing for individuals who are being released or have been released from correctional facilities throughout our nation. After some thought, I concluded that a need existed for a two-tiered “healing” and “humanization” mandatory program. The first tier of the program will provide mandatory and intensive psychological debriefing for a minimum of six (6) months to one (1) year for all individuals who have been incarcerated — particularly Men. At the same time, the second tier of the program will provide for mandatory and intensive sessions with loved ones and family members of individuals who have been incarcerated. This second tier will provide the loved ones and family members with the necessary psychological and emotional tools they will need to help those they love who have been incarcerated heal spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally; trust again; love again; create a future for themselves; and empower and strengthen the communities that they have returned to. The second tier is necessary to create positive reinforcement and transform the environment to which the formerly incarcerated have returned.

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