College for the Incarcerated Book News: New Prison Education Books in the Works

By Christopher Zoukis

While it is still early yet, I have an announcement to make concerning my book Education Behind Bars: A Win-Win Strategy for Maximum Security.  As you know, Sunbury Press published this title in early 2012 to rave reviews from the prison presses.  Since its publication, we’ve been approached by several publishers, who are enthusiastic to give this project new life and enhanced exposure; two of which are McFarland and Company and Prisology.  I’d like to touch upon both today.

As you know from previous posts, I decided to divide Education Behind Bars into two books: one for academics and one for prisoners.  This way both texts could be completely revised and updated, then more effectively marketed to their target markets.  Well, the revisions are now complete on both books and publishing contracts have been signed for both, too.

McFarland and Company picked up the academic book and are publishing it under the title College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons.  And Prisology has picked up the prisoner correspondence guide, which is tentatively titled College for the Incarcerated.  Both publishers seem enthusiastic about the projects.

If you’re interested in the academic version (for the general public and law makers), please head over to McFarland and Company’s sales page for College for Convicts, where you can pre-order your copy today.  This book will be out either late this year or early next year.

Read More

A Life Interrupted

By Christopher Zoukis

Sitting in the old wooden chair, I felt cold.  I had been in this small, stark room inside the McDowell County Jail for twenty minutes, waiting for my attorney.  To many the room wouldn’t be cold, but to someone wearing only a pair of orange scrubs it was.  Today would include yet another visit with my attorney, a routine repeated so many times it was . . . well . . . routine.  So when he entered I was unimpressed.

He extended his hand and I clasped it.  Staring into his eyes I knew this was a formality not extended to all of his clients.  I knew this because I knew some of his clients were neither pleasant nor hygienic.  After sitting down, he divulged the reason for his visit.  I was to sign the plea bargain that had been offered by the U.S. Attorney.  A vice squeezed my chest.  I couldn’t breathe.  My left eyelid twitched wildly as my attorney looked at me with a tender, knowing gaze.  A 22-year-old kid who was in way over his head.

He laid out the deal starting with the good news.  The U.S. Attorney had agreed to drop a charge.  This charge was a bogus one they knew they couldn’t prove.  So far, they were only retracting a lie that couldn’t add any time to my sentence.  I was less than thrilled but still hopeful.

Read More

Obvious Truths We Shouldn’t Be Ignoring Series (Part 5)

This is the fifth blog post in the ‘Obvious Truths We Shouldn’t Be Ignoring Series.’ This series is based upon eight ‘Obvious Truths’ presented by Alfie Kohn in his “Ten Obvious Truths That We Shouldn’t Be Ignoring” published in the September 2011 issue of The Education Digest.

“Just because doing x raises standardized test scores doesn’t mean x should be done.”

In Kohn’s piece he notes a number of flaws and – even more important – questions which should be asked of any test. While I agree with all that he voiced, I’m going to take this post in another direction, a direction closer to home and the prison educator.

Read More