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It's Time to End the School-to-Prison Pipeline

STATISTICS SHOW THAT NONWHITE AND DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN ARE AT THE HIGHEST RISK OF GOING FROM SCHOOL TO JAIL. (PHOTO CREDIT: PHILIP LACONTE, FLICKR) The “school-to-prison pipeline” describes the unfortunate trend of kids graduating not out of school, but rather into the criminal justice system. The pipeline effect is especially evident where large segments of the population are

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BOP Education Revamp in Doubt as Chief Sacked

By Christopher Zoukis In its waning days, Obama administration officials announced plans to expand education efforts in federal prisons and to provide more direction and oversight to the programs previously run separately at each facility. Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced in late November 2016 that for the first time, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP)

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Lawmaker Pushes Reforms Aimed at Disabling Michigan's School to Prison Pipeline

By Christopher Zoukis

A Michigan lawmaker is set on hobbling the school-to-prison pipeline in his state.

The forum was titled “How to Create a School-to-Success Continuum: Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline.” Zemke has long been a strong supporter of education as a way to keep youth out of the prison system. He sponsored legislation signed into law last year that gives local schools more autonomy over harsh punitive decisions for students when it comes to things like suspension and expulsion. He asserts that schools should move away from the strict, zero-tolerance policies that he feels feed the school-to-prison pipeline.

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BOP Education Program Revamp in Doubt as Chief Sacked

In its waning days, Obama administration officials announced plans to expand education efforts in federal prisons and to provide more direction and oversight to the programs previously run separately at each facility. Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced in late November that for the first time, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) had hired an education

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Literacy A Crucial Tool to Stem School to Prison Pipeline

By Christopher Zoukis

Across the U.S. fully 43% of adults read at a grade 8 level or lower — 29% can only read at an eighth grade level, and 14% can only grasp material at a fifth grade level or lower. Throughout the country, thousands of adults are functionally illiterate, which has a huge negative impact on their day-to-day lives. Early childhood is a crucial time to set the right path for literacy. An interest in reading is often determined as early as first grade, with fourth-grade reading levels being an indicator of future success. Research shows that children who struggle to read in first grade are 88% more likely to struggle in grade four. And those who struggle in fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of school.

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The Choice Bus Uses Prisoner Perspectives to Discourage Dropping Out

By Christopher Zoukis

In an effort to stem the school-to-prison pipeline and to keep kids in school, the Choice Bus was rolled out to help students understand their options in life, and how their decisions can affect their futures.

The Choice Bus is an initiative of the Mattie C. Stewart Foundation, a national nonprofit created in 2007 to help educators, community leaders and other interested groups reduce the dropout rate and increase the graduation rate. Dr. Shelley Stewart named the foundation in honor of his mother, whose murder he witnessed at the hands of his father at the age of five. The tragic incident put him at risk of poverty, homelessness and dropping out of school. Had it not been for a passionate teacher, Stewart’s life may have gone in a different direction. Instead, education made all the difference in his life.

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From Ex-Prisoner to Professor and Prison Reform Advocate

Aaron Kinzel faced obstacles after being released from a 10-year prison stint, and now teaches criminology and is an active prison-reform advocate. By Christopher Zoukis It’s easy to think only of the crimes committed when words like “offender,” “incarceration” or “prisoner” come up. But we should remember that many offenders in our system of incarceration

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Museums Take Measures to Spotlight, Reduce Mass Incarceration

The Eastern State Penitentiary is a former prison turned museum that spotlights the issue of mass incarceration using experiential and contemporary exhibits. By Christopher Zoukis At a time when museums aim to become more active hubs in communities and are taking stances on social justice issues, some are using their spaces and voices to address

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Florida Community Initiative Supports Female Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners

A forward-thinking group in Florida is helping women both in and outside of prison to empower themselves and help better their lives and families, after recognizing that many of their needs were not being met in the community. The Red Tent Women’s Initiative was inspired by Anita Diamant’s novel The Red Tent, which follows the

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