The term “gadfly” was used by Plato in the Apology to describe Socrates’s relationship of to the Athenian political scene, which he compared to a slow and dimwitted horse.  Essentially, Socrates was a goad, a poignant reminder of right and wrong.  So a gadfly is someone who upsets the existing state of affairs by asking…

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By Christopher Zoukis

While walking on my prison’s recreation yard yesterday, a man approached me.  He was a casual acquaintance and had questions about how to seek a publisher for a graphic novel that he’s been working on.  Since I do a lot of writing for prison-related outlets (e.g., https://www.prisonerresource.com/ and http://prisonlawblog.com), and used to teach a class on writing here at FCI Petersburg, I have lots of such discussions, even with complete strangers.  While I didn’t know much about publishing graphic novels, I agreed to look into the matter for the man and try to help guide him along in his path as an incarcerated writer.  It reminded me of when I first started writing from my prison cell.

As Americans, we are very used to having information at our fingertips.  Have a question?  Simply power on your laptop and Google it.  It really is that simple.  Don’t have a computer handy?  You could always pick up your cell phone and call someone to point you in the right direction or use your car’s GPS to direct you to your nearest public library.  But what if the library had few books (and almost all of which were trashy fiction)?  What if you didn’t have a car, or a cell phone, or even a computer?  What would you do to find the answer to a fairly simple question like how to publish a novel?

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By Randall Radic / BlogCritics.org

During the past several years, America’s ever-burgeoning prison population and the devastating problem of recidivism has become a topic of much public discussion. With billions, many billions, being spent every year to incarcerate America’s 2.3 million prisoners and jail detainees, the American people have begun to call for reforms to our go-to policy of locking criminals up and throwing away the key. It has become clear that while we can try to incapacitate away our problems, that the cost is simply not worth the benefit. With this concept in many policy makers’ and reform advocates’ minds, the discussion has shifted from a punitive one to one which highlights rehabilitation, reformation, and reintegration.

Today I sit down with Christopher Zoukis, co-author with me of the Directory of Federal Prisons: PrisonLawBlog.com’s Federal Bureau of Prisons Facility Directory, to discuss this latest project, why it matters, and how a simple directory of official information can help rehabilitate, reform, and reintegrate American prisoners.

To start, who are you and why should we care?

My name is Christopher Zoukis. I am the author of Education Behind Bars: A Win-Win Strategy for Maximum Security (Sunbury Press, 2012), the Directory of Federal Prisons: PrisonLawBlog.com’s Federal Bureau of Prisons Facility Directory (Middle Street Publishing, 2014), and the forthcoming College for Convicts (McFarland & Company, 2015). I’m also a regular contributing writer at Prison Legal News — the world’s premier prison law monthly — and the founder of prisoneducation.com and prisonlawblog.com.

Simply stated, you should care because I haven’t only talked the talk, I have walked the walk. I have worked hard and earned the respect of those in prisoners’ rights and prison law fields, who have accepted my work for publication. And I have done all of this from federal prison. Who better to ask how to fix America’s prison system then someone who is currently incarcerated and who studies and writes about America’s broken system of criminal justice?

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By Randall Radic In 2012, Sunbury Press published his book, Education Behind Bars:  A Win-Win Strategy for Maximum Security.  In 2014, not only is his latest text, the Directory of Federal Prisons, being published by Middle Street Publishing — of which I’m a co-author — but he also recently signed a contract with McFarland &…

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