American RadioWorks |
20160414_1_0024

Rewriting the Sentence

Every year 700,000 inmates leave prison. Strong evidence shows that those who have a college degree are less likely to come back. So after an abrupt reversal 20 years ago, some prisons try to maintain college education for prisoners.

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in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Help ex-prisoners get back to work

File under: jobs, public perception, civil rights

3 (1 votes)

From: Christine A., Arlington, MA

In 1997, at the end of Buddhist meditation retreat, I volunteered to write to a prisoner, to become his pen pal to support his meditation practice while he was incarcerated. Two years ago he was released. Since then, he has not been able to find a job. No one will hire him because he is a convicted felon. It doesn't matter that he got an associate degree in business while in prison, that he got a certificate in horticulture, or that he learned to train dogs. No one will hire him because he has a criminal record. If it weren't for the fact that a Lutheran minister is paying his rent and giving him money for basic necessities, he would be on the street.

The United States incarcerates more people than anywhere else in the world. Most people go back into the community after serving time. But if they can't find work, how will they survive? They can't. And so, they are condemned, after they paid their debt to society, to a life of poverty -- or they revert to crime. With no opportunity to turn their lives around, what choice do they have? We need reform. First, we need to have jobs waiting for those released from prison. Second, we need to have alternatives to prison sentences for some crimes, such as community service with mentoring, leading to permanent, livable-wage employment. We've tried the stick and it hasn't worked. It's time to try the carrot.


Comments:

American RadioWorks |
20160414_1_0024

Rewriting the Sentence

Every year 700,000 inmates leave prison. Strong evidence shows that those who have a college degree are less likely to come back. So after an abrupt reversal 20 years ago, some prisons try to maintain college education for prisoners.

Recent Posts

  • 09.01.16

    What It Takes: Chasing Graduation at High-Poverty High Schools

    The nation's high school graduation rate is at an all-time high, but high-poverty schools face a stubborn challenge. Schools in Miami and Pasadena are trying to do things differently.
  • 08.26.16

    Spare the Rod

    A get-tough attitude prevailed among educators in the 1980s and 1990s, but research shows that zero-tolerance policies don't make schools safer and lead to disproportionate discipline for students of color.
  • 08.18.16

    Stuck at Square One

    A system meant to give college students a better shot at succeeding is actually getting in the way of many, costing them time and money and taking a particular toll on students of color.
  • 08.11.16

    Hungry hungry students

    When was the last time you ate? In one survey, 7 percent of college students said they went an entire day without eating.