Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Alternatives to incarceration vs. mass incarceration

State budget crisis may be the needed driving point for prison reform, in favor for more alternatives to incarceration; such as drug and alcohol treatment and restorative justice techniques, but private jails have other ideas and press on.

Private Prisons demand 90% occupany.

How do the contracts of private prisons undermined the role of reform that is needed in an age of mass incarceration? What roles do private prisons have on the "drug war", "education divide" and "racial disparity"?


Private Prison Company to Demand 90% Occupancy (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Punitive Imagination

America inhabits only 5% of the world's population yet it devastatingly houses 25% of the world's prisoners.
Something is terribly wrong with this picture....
 The Punitive Imagination....
What assumptions about persons and social institutions provide the basis for American punitiveness? How does punishment depend on, and influence, prevailing views of free will, responsibility, desert, blameworthiness?
How/can we challenge our cultural views of punishment to alleviate modes of criminalization?
Food for thought...

Correspondence from the inside....

The following is an excerpt from a letter I received from an incarcerated individual I have been in correspondence with about the roles of education in prisons. The letters I have received have been eye-opening, inspirational and a motivator to continue advocating for higher education in prisons.

"Dear Ms. Kallam,

First and foremost I would like to show my appreciation for your humbling request. To help remedy an incarceration epidemic which has engulfed our society is quite an expedition....

....lasting improvement does not take the place by pronouncement or official programs. Change-real change-comes from the inside out. It doesn't come from hacking at the leaves of attitude and behavior with quick fix personality ethic techniques. It comes from striking at the root-the fabric of our thought, the fundamental essential paradigms, which give definition to our character and create the lens through which we see the world.....

....I share this with you to emphasis that you must, before anything else, bring into being a fundamental change within the mindsets of those who form policies concerning inmates....

Panel discussion at Guilford College on Higher Education in Prisons

At Guilford College, we are in works for establishing a higher education program initiative, that will help incarcerated individuals attain their liberal arts degree. Degree attainment is one of the best tools for reducing recidivism. In November, there will be a panel discussion addressing the necessity of education behind bars.