Crime Declines While Anti-crime Funding Increases

By Christopher Zoukis 

Crime is down in the United States, but spending measures included in the $1.1 trillion federal budget passed by Congress in January 2014 will ensure that many law enforcement agencies receive more funding.

Insiders give much of the credit for the fiscal year (FY) 2014 funding increases to Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski, who is known as a strong proponent of crime-fighting expenditures. Senator Mikulski said the expanded funding represents a “truly bipartisan agreement that a significant number of members [of Congress] worked night and day [on] over the holidays.”

The big winners in federal law enforcement spending include the FBI, which received $8.3 billion, an increase of $248.7 million over FY 2013, and the federal Bureau of Prisons, which received $6.77 billion – an increase of $90.2 million.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also getting a boost in funding with a budget of $1.18 billion – more than $49 million over last year.

Read More

CA School And Prison Funding Demand Review, Advocates Say

By Olivia Niland As California Gov. Jerry Brown continues to emphasize a commitment to shrinking state prison populations and reinvesting in California’s flagging K-12 public school system, advocates on both sides of the issue are calling for a reevaluation of

Read More

Prison Education: The Correspondence Method

By Christopher Zoukis

In prisons across the country a GED is typically the highest level of academic achievement that is facilitated by the prison administration. The administration’s focus, in terms of education, is almost exclusively upon how fast they can funnel their prison’s population through their GED programs. It’s a never-ending cycle that ends with each prisoner earning a GED and starts over with the next prisoner who has yet to earn one. While a good first step, it dooms many to failure. It does so by starting the prisoner on an academic tract, but stopping them upon attainment of the GED.

The single-minded focus of GED attainment creates a void for prison systems nationwide. This void is education above-and-beyond the GED. Some prisons offer Adult Basic Education or Adult Continuing Education (of which I am an instructor) courses, but rarely do any offer educational programs at the career or university level. This level of study, the credentialing level, is desperately needed by each and every prisoner because studies at this level translate directly into lower recidivism rates and jobs upon release.

For the prisoner who desires to advance their education above the level of studies offered by their prison

Read More

Second Chance Act in Peril

Imagine being newly released from prison, only to find yourself on the streets with no money, perhaps no place to live and no skills to find a job. Studies show that this can seriously lead to recidivism–the  released prisoner returning to prison as they have no other way to survive.

In 2009 the Second Chance Act was signed into law to help improve the outcomes for people who are returning to communities from prisons and jails. The bill authorizes federal grants to government agencies and nonprofit organizations to help provide employment assistance, substance abuse treatment, housing, family programming, mentoring, victim support and many other services that can help fight recidivism.

Read More

Prison Education Funding in Peril: Incarcerated Individuals Program Funding Erased

In the June 2011 issue (Volume 62, Issue 2) of the Journal of Correctional Education much is talked about. Studies are presented which show the positive effect of post-secondary correctional education (college in prison), a discussion is held upon factors affecting student success in post-secondary correctional education, and a paper is presented which discusses the future of research on post-secondary correctional education.

While all of this research is interesting to someone who follows prison education policy developments closely, it’s the common thread of these that should be of interest to prison educators and prisoner-students alike. The common thread is the ‘Incarcerated Individuals Program’ (IIP) which was formerly called the ‘Incarcerated Youthful Offender’ program (IYO). The ‘Incarcerated Youthful Offender’ program, started in 1998, used to provide funding for vocational education, preparation for higher education, and higher education in prisons across the country to prisoners 25-years old and younger

Read More