Current Thinking

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Aug 13, 2015 I recently had the privilege of visiting with a group of college students in Michigan to discuss their experiences in higher education. Prior to my visit, I knew that this group of students was impressive on paper: they make up 4 percent of the Jackson College population, yet 27 percent of the school’s dean’s list, and their average GPA is 3.67. As an undergraduate myself, I am in awe of such accomplishments, and even more so given the fact that these...

Aug 10, 2015 When mothers who act as primary caregivers serve time in prison, the loss of emotional and tangible support they provide—in the form of regular caretaking, income, housing, and more—can have a traumatic and disruptive impact on their families and communities. In recent years, this impact has garnered the attention of policymakers locally and nationwide, who have proposed—and piloted—diversion programs as a necessary alternative to incarceration for...

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Aug 6, 2015 The numbers released earlier this week by the Bureau of Justice Statistics paint a grim picture. Suicide—as it has been every year since BJS began collecting data in 2001—is the leading single cause of death for people incarcerated in local jails, accounting for a third of all facility deaths in 2013. This is a 9 percent increase from 2012. Local governments and departments of corrections, however, should not accept this as a lamentable, but insurmountable...

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Aug 4, 2015 Last year, attention surrounding unaccompanied youth reached a fevered pitch. Traveling alone and often fleeing escalating violence in their home countries, unaccompanied youth—undocumented minors under the age of 18 who are in the United States without a parent or legal guardian to provide them with care or custody—became front page news. By the end of the fiscal year, nearly 70,000 youth had been apprehended by immigration authorities at the U.S.-Mexican...

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Aug 3, 2015 Sometimes when I tell people that it took prison to get my life right, they look at me as if I have lost my mind. However, the truth of the matter is that prison is where I found my mind. Twelve years ago, I was damaged. I lacked values and morals and, even more so, respect for myself or anyone that I came into contact with. I sold drugs to my own parents and robbed people for the little or nothing that they had, just because I could. I was a monster, and...

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Jul 31, 2015 "Justice is not only the absence of oppression; it is the presence of opportunity." These words were eloquently delivered by President Obama two weeks ago in a major speech on criminal justice reform. What better way to provide transformative opportunities, all while increasing public safety, than through expanding access to postsecondary education in prison? U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch today announced the...

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Jul 29, 2015 After spending a year researching police practices during protests and focusing in particular on protests in New York City over the past decade, I noticed that police are confronted with two very important, but sometimes conflicting, goals when it comes to protest policing. As seen in recent protests across the country, including a series of marches in New York City to mark the anniversary of Eric Garner’s death, police are charged with preserving public...

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