Colorado Restorative Justice

By Dianne Frazee-Walker

Dianne Frazee-Walker is the founder of Full Circle Restorative Justice (FCRJ) for the 11th Judicial District of Colorado, Chaffee County. (FCRJ) was formed in 2006 as a non-profit 501(c) 3 entity whose purpose was to provide an alternative route for young adult and juvenile first-time offenders entering the revolving court system.

The mission of (FCRJ) is “To enhance the safety of our community by addressing offender accountability and to empower victims through a supportive conflict resolution process.”  

For the full story of (FCRJ)

There are many advantages to using restorative justice as a form of mediation to resolve crime-related conflict. 

Offenders have an opportunity to face their victims and participate in creating a contract for repairing the harm. Victims, who are willing to participate in the process, are empowered by having a voice about how they were affected by the crime and what can be done to restore the damage.

The dialogue that takes place in a restorative circle has the potential of healing both parties. Offenders who participate in the restorative conversation are less likely to reoffend because hearing how their behavior impacted their victims and giving identity to their victims provides offenders with a sense of empathy, accountability, and responsibility that they do not have access to when there is no contact with their victims.

When restorative justice is used to rehabilitate offenders the recidivism rate is less than 10%.

Pete Lee, Colorado State Representative was reelected to represent House District 18 in 2010. Soon after being reelected, Mr. Lee drafted HB-11-1032, which gives victims of some crimes the right to meet face-to-face with the offender under highly-regulated circumstances, and allows for sentences that focus on compensating and repairing harm to victims. The bill passed unanimously.

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Providing Relief for the Families of Inmates From the High Cost of Staying In Touch

By Julie Veach, Chief, Wireline Competition Bureau

Today, the Commission released an Order that will provide meaningful relief to millions of Americans who have borne the financial burden of unjust and unreasonable interstate inmate calling service (ICS) rates.  These reforms are the right thing to do.  Our actions will increase inmates’ ability to stay in contact with their families and loved ones—including the 2.7 million children with an incarcerated parent.  That increased contact reduces recidivism, which benefits all of us through safer communities and by reducing the expense of incarcerating the re-offenders.  In fact, one study notes that a 1% reduction in recidivism would lead to $250 million in annual cost savings.

The ICS rates that spurred us to act are high.  In one case, the cost of a 15-minute call is $17.50—about $1.15 per minute.  The Order we released today is a major step toward fulfilling our statutory obligation to ensure that rates for all consumers are just, reasonable and fair.

Let’s take a look at the reforms:

  • The Order requires that all ICS providers’ interstate rates and charges be cost-based.  This applies not only to the rates for making a call, but to other charges like fees for establishing, maintaining, or funding an ICS account.
  • The Order also adopts interim caps for interstate inmate calling rates.  The caps are $.21 per minute for interstate debit and prepaid calls, and $.25 per minute for interstate collect calls.  No provider can charge rates above these caps without getting a waiver from us first.
  • The Order adopts interim “safe harbor” rate levels—$.12 per minute for interstate debit and prepaid calls, and $.14 per minute for interstate collect calls.  ICS providers can utilize the safe harbor and receive the benefit of a presumption that their rates are cost-based.
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A Little Respect Would Go A Long Way Towards Cordiality

By Christopher Zoukis  Image courtesy

Today, at 11:00 AM, I approached my unit team area — F-North in FCI Petersburg — seeking to submit a form which authorizes the Federal Bureau of Prisons to send money to a friend of mine from my commissary account (BP-199).  Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM is the designated “Open House” time period for my unit team.  This is when inmates housed in the F-North housing unit are allowed to make inquiries with our counselor, case manager, and unit manager.  Today, like many Tuesdays and Thursdays, my unit team decided that it just wasn’t a good day to have open house, so they simply didn’t bother to have it.  Naturally, no advanced notice was made and no rescheduling will occur.  Same old, same old.

While disappointed about not being able to submit the money request form, I’m used to such inconsistency at FCI Petersburg (more specifically in the F-North housing unit), so I just brushed it off and decided to carry the form around with me until my counselor decided to make an appearance.  My opportunity came at 4:36 p.m., right after my cell door was unlocked following the 4:00 p.m. count.  It’s the interaction which subsequently transpired which motivated me to write this personal exposition of my experience.

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Early Education Program Could Reduce Kansas Prison Costs

By The Associated Press KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Wyandotte County law enforcement officials have endorsed a plan that calls for investing in early childhood education as a way to cut down on crime and prison costs.  Image courtesy Sheriff Don Ash, District Attorney Jerry Gorman and jail administrator Jeffrey Fewell endorsed a proposal from

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FBOP Announces Annual Inmate Perception of Care Survey

By Christopher Zoukis

 While an odd thought to present, ever since the Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) implemented the TRULINCS computer system — and followed it with the MP3 player program — the FBOP has appeared to be on the right track in terms of communicating with the federal inmate population.  This idea has presented itself through more frequent announcements to the prison population (via the TRULINCS Electronic Bulletin Board), inmate institutional perception/character surveys, and now the instant Inmate Perception of Care Survey.  It’s the latter which will be presented publicly today.

In an effort to make federal incarceration more transparent, the Prison Law Blog has obtained a document entitled “Note to the Inmate Population: English and Spanish Informed Consent.”  This document explains what the Inmate Perception of Care Survey is, how it can be participated in, and other components of this study.  The English information contained therein is presented below for the Prison Law Blog readership’s perusal:


Notice to the Inmate Population

English and Spanish Informed Consent

The Annual Inmate Perception of Care Survey will be available by region and you will receive local notice when the survey will be turned on for your institution.  Please read over the following disclosure statement and consider taking the survey when it becomes available.

NCR [North Central Region] and NER [North East Region] August 19-September 1, 2013

MXR [Mid-Atlantic Region] and SCR [South Central Region] September 2-15, 2013

SER [South East Region] and WXR [Western Region] September 16-29, 2013

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The Center for Legal Studies

By Dianne Frazee-Walker 

The Center for Legal Studies (CLS), founded by an attorney in 1980, is a 33-year-old nationwide legal education company that provides Live Lecture, Online, DVD, and Text-Only flexible curriculums for inmates or the public. Upon finishing a course students earn a certificate of completion from one of 150+ participating accredited colleges and universities throughout the country.   Image courtesy

From California to New York – Montana to Texas; 51 college and universities that partner with CLS offer the “Text Only” versions, specifically designed for inmates. These correspondence courses enable an incarcerated student to take a variety legal education courses without the use of computers or on-site instructors. Opportunities are available for students to gain exceptional legal training and earn certificates from well named schools from just about anywhere in the country.

Two leading universities have paved the way for text-only education directed towards incarcerated students. Adams State University located in Alamosa, Colorado (ASU), and Ohio University in Athens, Ohio (OU) have taken special interest in marketing the text-only division.  ASU offers CLS’s courses as part of a degree program which if a student qualifies would enable them to utilize Federal Student Aid. Ohio University was the first college to develop “College for the Incarcerated” and exclusively markets CLS courses as well as many other courses that are custom-tailored for inmates.

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By James R. Smith

I have been incarcerated for twelve years now and education has and always been my strongest ambition. As a former innate paralegal, I decided to expand my mind by gaining a college education, but the problem was: How was I going to pay for it? That’s the question most individuals who are incarcerated ask themselves, especially if they don’t have family members or friends to help them. But be not despaired.

I was fortunate. A good friend of mine was willing to pay for my initial education. As a result of his kindness, I was able to obtain an Associate’s of Science Degree in Paralegal Studies. But what now! I have a strong desire, like most individuals, to continue my education. However, I am financially unable to do so. I thought about financial aid, but with the congressional elimination of federal Fell Grants in 1994, financial aid was not possible, or so I thought. I learned that “individuals who are currently incarcerated have limited eligibility for federal student aid. Individuals incarcerated in federal or state institutions are eligible only for Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSB9G) and Federal Work Study.” The FSBOG provides awards for students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. Since these are grants the student does not have to work for the money nor does the money have to be repaid.  Image courtesy

The Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the starting point for accessing all federal student aid. This is the government form you use to apply for a number of sources of federal student aid, including the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants and Work-Study. Most states and schools also use information from the FAFSA to award additional types of financial aid, such as, state-need aid and scholarships.

If a person has access to the Internet or has a friend or family member that is willing to help, I have included Web Sites for the purpose of researching Scholarships in order to help those seeking additional funding in order to take college courses or to further their college education.

Seeking Grants and Scholarships takes patience and time so do not despair if one or more places deny your request or application. Keep at it and remember, ‘Hard Work Pays Off.’ Additionally, many grants and scholarships have filing deadlines so one must be diligent in researching and meeting any and all deadlines requested by the school, organization or foundation.

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What to do Until a Really Good Teacher Comes

Dr. Jake Davis

“That teacher sucks. I didn’t learn anything!”

Whoever says that takes no more personal responsibility for their progress than a baby bird waiting for his momma to drop a worm in his open mouth.  Image courtesy

Yes, some teachers suck. A few really suck. By definition, half of all teachers are below average. Don’t let any of that stop your quest for knowledge. It’s up to you, not the teacher, to get the most from every course. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to squeeze every bit of useful knowledge from every course you take, regardless of the teacher’s skill.

First, realize that most of the learning will not take place in the classroom. It will occur as you prepare for class and as you review…in other words, when you study the material. You need to establish a study routine, including a consistent time slot aside during the day, a set location without any distractions, and whatever supplies you will need close at hand. Keep your class materials and notes together in one safe and easy to find place. Let others know that when you’re studying, you don’t want to be interrupted.

Second, make sure you are taking a course that is right for you. You should have an interest, or better still, an enthusiasm for the subject matter. Also, is the course at hand the right level for you? Not too simple and not too advanced. If this is an advanced course, make sure you have already taken the introductory course. Otherwise, you are wasting your time and taking up space better utilized by someone else.

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Thoughts On My Journey Through Sobriety

By Gary Walden

As of this writing, I have 212 days clean and sober. I wake each day and thank my Higher Power for another chance to help a fellow inmate who may be struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. This may not sound like a lot of ‘clean time’ to some who may be reading this, but to me each day is a new journey into uncharted territory.

Someone once observed that to gauge how well you are doing in controlling your own life, pay attention to how many ‘managers’ you have: Wardens or lawyers, probation officers and police, health professionals and counselors. If you have an abundance of unsolicited ‘managers’ in your life, perhaps it’s time to do some critical analysis of where your life is heading.  Image courtesy

I recently performed a ‘searching and fearless’ inventory and realized what the last three years of drug and alcohol abuse cost me financially, personally, and spiritually.

Included in this inventory were my dream house, 401k and pension funds, a professional engineering position, a thirty-three year marriage, a twenty plus year career in the Air Force, and being invited to not come back to my church of twenty-eight years.

Along with those expenses, I made sure to personally purchase a lot of expensive ‘bling’ for the local crack dealer, and made sure several liquor stores ended up making a profit. This certainly was not a fair trade.

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What it Costs When We Don't Educate Inmates for Life After Prison

By EMILY DERUY Right now, taxpayers spend up to $70 billion each year to house the nation’s two to three million prisoners. That works out to about $31,000 per inmate. One would think that with such a stiff price tag, we’d be doing a better job of rehabilitation. The truth is that the prison system

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