California will offer parole for 4,000 'three-strike' prisoners facing life sentences
Pacific Standard by Emily Moon
October 19, 2018
In a reversal of a controversial rule that disproportionately sentenced mentally ill and African-American inmates to life in prison for petty crimes, California will allow all non-violent prisoners under the Three Strikes Act to seek parole.
...Californians launched a decade-long attempt to correct this, starting with Propositions 36, 47, and now 57, which rolled back the Three Strikes Law and sought to solve mass incarceration. The latest ruling, as well as the governor's compliance, marks a success for advocates of criminal justice reform.
Jailing Americans for Profit: The Rise of the Prison Industrial Complex
Huffington Post by John W. Whitehead
In an age when freedom is fast becoming the exception rather than the rule, imprisoning Americans in private prisons run by mega-corporations has turned into a cash cow for big business. At one time, the American penal system operated under the idea that dangerous criminals needed to be put under lock and key in order to protect society. Today, as states attempt to save money by outsourcing prisons to private corporations, the flawed yet retributive American “system of justice” is being replaced by an even more flawed and insidious form of mass punishment based upon profit and expediency.
I Can Be Free Again': How Music Brings Healing at Sing Sing
I've seen firsthand how music can restore what's missing in prison: a respect for humanity.
Pacific Standard by John J. Lennon
October 24, 2018
In Concert at Sing SingThe Sing Sing cellblocks are piles of brick and slabs of metal and steel and concrete, built on a hill of prime real estate overlooking the Hudson River. At four open tiers high, with two sides of 88 cells that stretch the length of two football fields, Cellblock A is the largest in the world, per the Sing Sing Prison Museum. Pipes snake along the wall hissing heat; cell radios tuned to Hot 97, New York City's hip-hop station, bump Nicki Minaj rapping about her privates being wetter than puddles; Bloods yell out roll calls ("Whoopti!" to responses of "Can't stop! Never stop!"), while the rest of us wait impatiently, screaming out cell numbers for corrections officers to open.
When the Market Is Our Only Language
On Being with Krista Tippett interviewing Anand Giridharadas
We Americans revere the creation of wealth. Anand Giridharadas wants us to examine this and how it shapes our life together. This is a challenging conversation but a generative one: about the implicit moral equations behind a notion like "win-win"— and the moral compromises in a cultural consensus we’ve reached, without reflecting on it, about what and who can save us. Anand Giridharadas is a journalist and writer. He is a former columnist and foreign correspondent for "The New York Times" and a visiting scholar at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. He is the author of "India Calling," "The True American," and "Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World." Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
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I went from prison to professor – Here's why criminal records should not be used to keep people out of college -
The Conversation US by Stanley Andrisse
Beginning next year, the Common Application – an online form that enables students to apply to the 800 or so colleges that use it – will no longer ask students about their criminal pasts.
As a formerly incarcerated person who now is now an endocrinologist and professor at two world-renowned medical institutions – Johns Hopkins Medicine and Howard University College of Medicine – I believe this move is a positive one. People’s prior convictions should not be held against them in their pursuit of higher learning.
While I am enthusiastic about the decision to remove the criminal history question from the Common Application, I also believe more must be done to remove the various barriers that exist between formerly incarcerated individuals such as myself and higher education.
What this is about
Learning asks us to change – so that the world might be a place for all are free to thrive