Why I changed my mind on having second chances at life after prison
The Hill by Michael O'Hanlon
Nov 5, 2019
I am no specialist on criminal justice, and my own instincts, based partly on close personal connections to several murder victims over the course of my lifetime, lean towards the hard line on matters of violent crime in particular. But something I saw in a high security District of Columbia Correctional Facility nonetheless had a major impact on my outlook.
Georgetown University professor Marc Howard invited me to address a group of several dozen prisoners who are enrolled in the Georgetown Prison Scholars Program last month to discuss American national security policy inside the jail. That same afternoon, Marc had taught a lesson to a group of students, half from Georgetown University and half incarcerated individuals from the facility, as part of his course for credit on criminal justice and prisons. I had not seen so many people in orange suits in one place since the last time I visited an American military jail in Afghanistan, where members of the Taliban made up the majority of the detainees. My experience in the District of Columbia was much more uplifting because of the attitudes and aptitudes of the individuals with whom I spoke.
Advocates for Aging Prisoners Look to Force a Debate on Parole
City Limits by Roshan Abraham
August 20, 2019
When Sammy Cabassa stepped onto the sidewalk again after 34 years in prison, he found it dizzying. The then 60-year-old was granted parole – after his 4th parole hearing in 5 years – in 2017. When he walked back into the city he left as a young man, the bright lights were hard to adjust to, after years of spending almost all of his time in dimly lit facilities. ...
Decades outside of society can have stark consequences for those who eventually gain freedom: Incarcerated elders lag behind in terms of health, finances and support networks. Despite this, reforms that could get parole-eligible elders a hearing before New York state’s parole board – a step toward having more people leave prison before they’re physically frail and giving them more time to acclimate to society – have been shelved repeatedly, even this year during a legislative session packed with criminal justice reforms.
The case for capping all prison sentences at 20 years
Vox By German Lopez :: Feb 12, 2019
America’s prison sentences are far too long. It’s time to do something about it. America puts more people in jail and prison than any other country in the world. Although the country has managed to slightly reduce its prison population in recent years, mass incarceration remains a fact of the US criminal justice system.
It’s time for a radical idea that could really begin to reverse mass incarceration: capping all prison sentences at no more than 20 years. It may sound like an extreme, even dangerous, proposal, but there’s good reason to believe it would help reduce the prison population without making America any less safe.
PBS :: Terun Moore on prison as a teen and getting a second chance
March 18, 2019
At age 17, Terun Moore was convicted of murder and sentenced to life without parole. But in 2012, the Supreme Court ruled such sentencing of minors unconstitutional. Now on parole after 19 years, Moore is enrolled in community college and working with the People's Advocacy Institute, which aims to reduce violence in Jackson, Mississippi. He offers his brief but spectacular take on second chances.
What this is about
Learning asks us to change – so that the world might be a place for all are free to thrive