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Oct 17, 2014 Several weeks ago, I attended the memorial service for Eddie Ellis, who was, among many things (including a son, a father, a mentor, and a leader), a formerly incarcerated man and the founder of the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions. I first met Eddie in 2007, not long after he wrote his well-known “language letter.” Called “An Open Letter to Our Friends on the Question of Language,” the letter was a challenge to abandon the dehumanizing language...

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Oct 3, 2014 The New York City Department of Corrections’ (DOC) recent commitment to ending the use of solitary confinement for juveniles by the end of 2014 is an important change that recognizes the particularly harmful impact of segregation on adolescents (starkly illustrated in this report by the Board of Corrections).   The DOC’s decision also recognizes that there are alternative ways to maintain order in our jails and prisons. While solitary confinement is...

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Sep 29, 2014 The Unlocking Potential: Perspectives on Education in Prison blog series—as part of Vera’s Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Project—explores postsecondary education in prison and its benefits—during and after incarceration—through the unique experiences and insight of former students, educators, nonprofit leaders, corrections officials, reentry experts, and more.  Todd Butler is the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Jackson College, which...

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Sep 19, 2014 On Tuesday, September 9, I attended a celebration at the National Archives in Washington, DC hosted by Vice President Joe Biden to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). It brought together advocates from across the country who are dedicated to helping domestic violence and sexual assault victims, survivors, and their children.   Beginning in the 1970s and continuing on through the 1980s and early 1990s, advocates...

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Sep 5, 2014 At a distance of nearly a month, the shooting death of Michael Brown by police in Ferguson, Missouri, the deeply troubling response to it, and the ongoing commentary have a certain back-to-the-future quality, reminding us of how stuck in the past we still are, despite real progress in matters of race. Much remains to be done—and not only in Ferguson—to combat the source of distrust and enmity between police and community, particularly African American...

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Aug 26, 2014 The Unlocking Potential: Perspectives on Education in Prison blog series—as part of Vera’s Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Project—explores postsecondary education in prison and its benefits—during and after incarceration—through the unique experiences and insight of former students, educators, nonprofit leaders, corrections officials, reentry experts, and more.  Stanley Richards is a formerly incarcerated individual who served time in...
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Aug 19, 2014 More than 700,000 people leave jail and prison each year needing permanent housing. Studies have shown that obtaining permanent housing means that formerly incarcerated individuals are more likely to gain employment, maintain sobriety, complete parole supervision, and achieve the necessary stability to stay safely in the community. Many of the family members of these individuals live in public housing—a place where people with a criminal record are often...

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