According to the Pew Center on the States, over the last two decades US spending on corrections has increased from $10 billion to $52 billion annually, an increase of over 500% since the mid-1980s. This is due to a number of factors. One overriding factor concerns the issue of recidivism which is fostered through a lack of education and results in a dearth of viable employment opportunities for prisoners in the real world. Simply stated, if ex-prisoners cannot compete in the job market when they get out of prison, they will go back into the underground street economy in order to make a living.
Mr. Zoukis teaches a class titled “Writing and Publishing“. The class teaches prisoners the techniques of professional writers, along with how to submit their work, thus imparting voice to their literary effort. A
s a vocational, academic, and practical class, Mr. Zoukis feels that both he and his class are making a difference in the lives of his students and their families. Mr. Zoukis hopes the class will be a catalyst to lower recidivism rates, providing a higher quality of life for all who might participate in the class.
As an outreac
h, Mr. Zoukis blogs
about his class
weekly. These blogs contain his preparation for each week’s class
, the methodology of the actual teaching, his struggles as both a prisoner and a prison-educator, and the resounding growth a
nd success that the class facilitates. The blog
also includes guest blogs by other prison education experts and keeps the reader abreast of other educational endeavors that
Mr. Zoukis is participating in. Current endeavors include the preparation and approval process for a monthly “Correspondence Course Seminar” and an educational newsletter titled the Education Behind Bars Newsletter. Mr. Zoukis
can also be followed on Twitter @czoukis
. It is here that he alerts those interested in prison education to relevant news items.
In addition to his class
blog, Mr. Zoukis’ website also includes a number of features attractive to the general public. One of his more popular features is his Book Reviews page where he both entertains his readers and cuts through the usual incoherence associated with many book reviews, as he grapples with voice, style, and the all-important factor of a book’s appeal. Another very popular feature is his Writing Awards page where Mr. Zoukis
posts his award winning writings. Currently this page includes award winning writing from the PEN American Center’s Prison Writing Program
Other significant features include his Poems and Essays. According to Mr.
Zoukis, the most painful act is seeing, yet it is in that act of seeing that love is born. It is precisely this view that makes his poetry cry out with feeling and ring with truth. His essays are compositions that emanate a curious field of suppressed energy. They are sagacious and quick to notice a far event, for which he construes eventualities in crystalline language.