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Prison debate team fells an intellectual giant

It’s not all that often we get the chance to post a strictly “feel good” article on here, so when one comes along I’m going to jump on it. This past week Harvard University’s renowned debating team fell to a surprising opponent: prisoners from the Bard prison initiative! The team was comprised of members of The

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Drugs minus two equals the release of 6,000 inmates

The end of October will herald new beginnings for roughly 6,000 inmates whose sentences have been reduced under changes to federal sentencing guidelines. While it might be tempting to attribute these changes to Obama’s push this last year for prison reform, these policy changes stem from wheels set into motion quite some time ago. Under

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How prison vocational training can help keep America’s productive sector afloat

A shortage of skilled laborers in the craft of welding is poised to seriously hinder America’s production capacity in the coming years. With education policies emphasizing that all students should pursue “traditional” college upon high school graduation, there’s been a serious drop in the number of individuals pursuing vocational training in the last decade or

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Mr. Smith went to prison, and what did he learn?

A new memoir has been released from a former candidate for the Democratic party turned inmate, and its timely release is poised to bring another voice to the current debate on prison reform and, in particular, the lack of education available in American penal institutions. Jeff Smith spent a year in prison for conspiracy for

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We need to “Ban the Box”

Stephanie George is serving as a stark reminder that despite recent prison reform announcements, we cannot be complacent, that the struggle for re-integration does not end outside prison walls. George had been given a life sentence for “letting her former boyfriend keep drugs in their Florida home,” and assisted in his facilitation of dealings. While

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New prison-oriented tablet released

JPay has just released a new tablet, the JP5mini, an Android-based tablet that’s specifically designed to deal with some of the rigors of use in the prison setting. Its purchase cost to inmates is $69.99, and there are additional per-use fees with it. Its casing is more durable than the typical tablet’s,  its firmware is locked

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UK Justice Secretary calling for improved prison education

By Christopher Zoukis In a recent speech, newly-appointed UK Secretary of State for Justice, MP Michael Gove echoed what so many prison reform advocates have been saying for decades: education is key to reducing recidivism. In doing so, he appears to be demonstrating a commitment to making prison education a top priority in his portfolio. Gove

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Sandra Bland case highlights need for stronger oversight at local level

By Christopher Zoukis As more troubling details regarding the untimely death of Sandra Bland emerge, it’s clear that being under police custody is becoming an increasingly dangerous place to be. On the heels of the deaths of Freddie Gray and Eric Garner, and following in the tradition of Maricopa County’s trail of deaths, Bland’s experiences

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Community-based treatment key to reducing juvenile recidivism

A new report from Pew Trusts has revealed that one of the keystones to reducing recidivism amongst young people is broken. America’s predilection for jailing is having dangerous results for young people and the costs associated with out-of-home placements are not yielding positive results. Juvenile offenders held in correctional facilities are more likely to re-offend

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