Robbed’ of His Life by a Wrongful Conviction, He’s Now Free, and Bewildered
New York Times by Edgar Sandoval
October 2, 2018
Larry McKee at the Bronx corner where a fight derailed his life. Mr. McKee, 47, spent two decades in prison for a murder there, which he has maintained he did not commit.
Mr. McKee spent two decades in prison for a murder he has long maintained he did not commit. Eight months ago, a state judge threw out his conviction on the recommendation of the Bronx district attorney’s office, which determined important evidence had never been given to the defense.
Second chances: Employers more open to hiring people with criminal backgrounds
Chicago Tribune by Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz and Lisa Schencker
September 11, 2018
...Doors long closed to people with criminal records have begun to crack open in industries ranging from health care to banking as employers seek new sources of talent and as lawmakers bet that gainful employment will reduce the risk that people will return to prison.
In Illinois, lawmakers have changed licensing laws to make 100-plus occupations more accessible to people with criminal records, including in real estate and accounting. The state also has expanded the types of convictions that can be sealed and therefore invisible to most employers. Meanwhile, tweaks to federal banking policies make it easier for banks to hire people convicted of minor crimes. ...
Records of Illinois parole board show just how rarely inmates win release
Injustice Watch: By Emily Hoerner and Jeanne Kuang | July 27, 2018
Parole board member has voted in favor of parole only once: Injustice Watch has published data from the Illinois parole board that reveals how infrequently people are granted release. In over three years on the board, former police officer Peter Fisher has voted against parole 160 times and in favor once. “William Norton, a former attorney and prosecutor, has been on the board since 2012,” reportsInjustice Watch. “Of 358 votes Norton has cast, he has voted in an inmate’s favor just five times—1.4 percent of the time.” Former social worker Edith Crigler has most often favored parole, voting yes in 32.5 percent of cases she heard. She said she focuses on a person’s progress since the crime rather than the crime itself. “You can really get to see that these women and men have made monumental leaps between what they did 30 to 40 years ago and who they are now,” she said. “A lot of our board members are former police officers or prosecutors, and they look at the letter of the law.”
From Prison to Parole an ex-con's transition
Chris Carney, an ex-convict, rebuilds a life in the real world after landing a job as a building superintendent
Life on Parole — FRONTLINE and The New York Times' investigation of one state’s effort to reduce recidivism and lower prison populations by rethinking how parole works.
With unique access inside Connecticut’s corrections system, the film follows four former prisoners as they re-enter society and navigate the challenges of more than a year on parole — including finding work, staying sober and parenting -- all under intense supervision from the state.
From Vaughn Gresham, who was arrested for the first time at age 16, to Jessica Proctor, who spent nearly a decade behind bars for assault with physical injury, Life on Parole is a remarkable, firsthand look at why some people stay out of jail, why some go back, and how one state is trying to break the cycle of recidivism.
"I make a living on second chances — that’s what parole is," Officer Katherine Montoya says in the documentary.
Don't miss this inside look at how one state's experiment with second chances has played out for offenders, the communities they return to, and the system that's responsible for supervising them.
When They Get Out: how prisons
Atlantic (1999) by Sasha Abramsky
Popular perceptions about crime have blurred the boundaries between fact and politically expedient myth. The myth is that the United States is besieged, on a scale never before encountered, by a pathologically criminal underclass. The fact is that we're not. After spiraling upward during the drug wars, murder rates began falling in the mid-1990s; they are lower today than they were more than twenty years ago. In some cities the murder rate in the late twentieth century is actually lower than it was in the nineteenth century. Nonviolent property-crime rates are in general lower in the United States today than in Great Britain, and are comparable to those in many European countries.
Why Illinois's House Bill 531 or Any Parole Bill or Sentencing Reform Should Be Retroactive: Truth Out - 2/11/2018
Why Illinois's House Bill 531 or Any Parole Bill or Sentencing Reform Should Be Retroactive
By Joseph Dole in Truth Out
Around the country, advocates are pushing for legislation to improve parole policies, making it more possible for people serving long sentences to be released from prison. However, not all of these bills are equally helpful. Illinois is a case in point. A parole reform bill is passing through the legislature, House Bill 531, but it is not "retroactive" -- meaning it will not apply to any of the tens of thousands of Illinoisans currently serving long sentences in Illinois prisons.
At 18 Kingley Rowe Went to Prison for 10 years - Now He's 47 and Still Wonders When He'll Be Free: Salon 1-1-2018
Lowering the prison population isn't enough, not if formerly incarcerated individuals are denied jobs after release.
...It comes down to whether, as a nation, for people branded as violent offenders, if “second chances” are not just written into law, but possible. ...
Read more about Mr. Rowe
Around half of all the inmates put on parole in the U.S. end up violating the terms of their release and are sent back to prison. But across the country, states are trying to change the way their parole systems work in an effort to lower recidivism rates and reduce prison populations.
A new documentary called Life on Parole, FRONTLINE and The New York Times go inside one state, Connecticut, to examine its ongoing effort to rethink parole: a condition that offers a taste of freedom but comes with strict prohibitions on whom you can live with, where you can go, what time you have to be home and more.
“Most people who are in prison in America will one day be released on parole,” says Matthew O’Neill, the Oscar®-nominated and Emmy®-winning director of Life on Parole. “And as Connecticut brings its prison population down and attempts to give parolees more chances to succeed, we wanted to see if the experience of the parolees reflected these changes.”
"With unique access inside Connecticut’s corrections system, as well as camera-phone footage filmed by the parolees themselves, the film follows four former prisoners as they navigate the challenges of more than a year on parole — from finding work, to staying sober, to parenting — and doing it all while under intense supervision from the state:"
Watch this important documentary
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Learning asks us to change – so that the world might be a place for all are free to thrive