We Need to Address the School to Prison Pipeline

By Gloria Romero and Rishawn Biddle / Orange County Register The deaths at the hands of police of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and the decisions not to prosecute officers in either case, should jolt reformers into demanding transformation of

Read More

U.S. Prison Population Soars as Education Spending Plummets

By Kate Randall / World Socialist Web Site  Image courtesy upworthy.com The prison populations in most US states are at historic highs. Prisons in 36 US states incarcerate three times as many people as they did in 1978. State prison

Read More

Will.i.am Opines on the Prison Industrial Complex

By Annie-Rose Strasser / ThinkProgress.org  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.

Read More

National Dialogue on Mass Incarceration

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.”

Read More

THE CASE FOR A MANDATORY HEALING AND HUMANIZATION PROGRAM FOR THE INCARCERATED

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.

Read More

The Prison Population in Colorado is Dropping. Can You Guess Why?

By Dianne Frazee-Walker

Keith Humphreys, writer, researcher, and Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University nominates himself for reporting the most unreported public policy issue; the declining rate of Americans incarcerated or on probation.

Humphreys’ research theorizes that lead is a key factor associated with a decline in prison population over the past five years. His speculation is supported by a rise in lead emissions throughout the 60s and 70s resulting in a high crime rate during the 70s and 80s. Humphreys claims that even though crime rates went down in the early 90’s, incarceration rates were impacted by the remaining inmates serving long terms from the 60s and 70s while new inmates were being incarcerated.   Image courtesy hayesvillelibrary.wordpress.org

Rick Nevin is a researcher who dug deeper into the lead theory. Nevin’s investigative studies reveal that young offender incarceration rates have decreased since the dawning of 2000. In the mean time older offenders were increasing and the incarceration rate remained high. The reasoning behind Nevin’s hypothesis is that the older offenders grew up during the time period when lead emissions were high and young offenders were not exposed to lead being raised in a more environmentally conscious era.

Read More