March, 2009

Senator Jim Webb Brings a Voice to Prison Reform

Please support this effort by contacting your Congressional representatives!  Tell them to support Sentator Webb and embrace prison reform. Find your representatives here: America has too many people languishing in prisons for too many years, causing social and financial consequences that are destructive and wasteful.  ****** Read Senator Webb’s Message to American Citizens****** The […]

Senator Webb Moves Forward On National Panel for Prison Reform

The article below brings very exciting news! It’s what we’ve been waiting for… President Obama is positively endorsing Senator Jim Webb’s efforts to reform the current state of the prison system. Please write, call, fax, email… any way you can think of to contact the individuals identified in the message below and voice your support. Ask […]

Everything in Moderation… Including Prison

To create balance in our family, my mother used to say, “everything in moderation.” Yet there is no question that America has embraced the concept of “too much.”  Attitudes of greed and excess  created the current financial mess. More people in this country are morbidly obese than fit. Americans are prescribed and take pills for every […]

Warehousing vs. Rehabilitation as the Goal of Prison

I would like to believe that rehabilitation mattered in the prison system. If rehabilitation mattered to the system, administrators would have released me many years ago. After all, during my first eight years of confinement, I earned an undergraduate degree from Mercer University and a graduate degree from Hofstra University. I was 31 and as […]

Media and the Subject of Prison Reform

Upon my release, or while I’m serving these final years of my sentence if possible, I will strive to work closely with the media to promote the need for prison reform. With statistics showing that America incarcerates more people per capita than any other nation, I am convinced our citizens ought to know more about […]

Quit Rewarding Failure

As I listened to the NPR broadcast at 5:00 AM this morning, I heard that many Americans were livid that executives at AIG would be splitting a bonus pool of $160 million. Executives at AIG had led a failed business model that has contributed to our global economic crisis. Taxpayer funds have been used to […]

Poor Prisoners Differ From Rich

Bernard Madoff swindled billions of dollars from thousands of victims. Despite his crime, a judge did not incarcerate him immediately upon the government’s discovery of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Scooter Libby was a lawyer and a highly placed official in the Bush administration. He was convicted of a crime and a federal judge sentenced Libby to […]

Incentives Would Improve Prison Culture

The U.S. Congress published findings that show how much prisons cost taxpayers to operate. They swallow more than $59 billion each year. According to the Pew Report, those funds are diverted from social programs like education, health care, and unemployment assistance. What taxpayers may find especially troubling is that despite the massive expenditures, recidivism rates […]

The Ridiculous Manner of Prison Managment

I don’t think prisons exist to help criminals. They are a public resource to help society. It simply turns out that the ridiculous manner in which prisons operate today, they lead to high operating costs, high recidivism rates, and corruption in society. We need prison reforms that will improve corrections. The Pew Report showed the […]

President Obama’s Prison Reform Advisor

If I were a policy advisor to President Barack Obama on the niche subject of prison reform, I would urge him to bring the exact leadership skills that have exemplified his young presidency. That means I would want President Obama to embrace the findings of academia, Congress, and think tanks. Those findings strongly suggest that […]

Conservative Prison Policies are Ridiculous

Duke Cunningham was a Republican congressman who now serves a lengthy prison term. Ted Stevens was a Republican senator from Alaska who was convicted of crimes that will yield a prison term. Scooter Libby was a key player in the Bush white house. Had it not been for executive clemency, he would have been but […]

Ombudsman Panels and Prison Reform

The budget crisis, together with a recent judicial decision, may result in the early release of 50,000 prisoners who are held in the overcrowded California state prison system. Who will be responsible for determining which prisoners return to their communities early? Hugo Sanchez is a criminal justice student who asked my thoughts on who should […]

Utilize the Family Structure to Prepare Offenders for Re-entry

More than two years have passed since I’ve heard my mother’s voice. I have not spoken with my younger sister, Christina, in the same length of time. During those two years I’ve seen my older sister, Julie, three times. I hardly know my nieces and nephew, as prison rules prohibit me from playing a significant […]

Community Sanctions Make Sense

When prisoners lack family or community support, where do they go when their sentences conclude? I spoke with Steve today, and this was a question that concerned him. He was completing a 10-year term for a crime related to drugs. Steve did not have a history of violence, and he had never been confined before. […]

The Pervasiveness of Prison Apathy

An old maxim holds that power corrupts, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. The prison culture is one that imbues staff members with an inordinate amount of power, while simultaneously stripping prisoners of a sense of efficacy. Consequences follow from such a culture. In the 1960s, Professor Milgram conducted an experiment at Yale University that […]