When Christmas comes this year, Michelle and her family will again be part of Angel Tree. But this year, they’ll be giving the gifts instead of receiving them.
Chicago lawmakers have decided it's time to take a fresh approach to counteracting all the gun violence and overflowing jails in their city. And this fresh approach starts with the young people.
Humor is a very powerful thing. It has the ability to entertain. It can connect people who otherwise might have very little in common and allow old friends to revisit happy times and places. A well-timed joke can relieve tension, foster conversation, encourage, bring cheer, and alleviate melancholy.
Last week, Ken Cuccinelli, former attorney general of Virginia, and Deborah Daniels, former assistant U.S. attorney general for the Office of Justice Programs, co-published an article on WashingtonPost.com called "Less Incarceration Could Lead to Less Crime."
This week, “America ReFramed” aired its feature-length documentary on the lives of incarcerated moms: “Mothers of Bedford.”
“America ReFramed” is a television series bringing its viewers a “snapshot of the transforming American life.” Within the last few decades the number of incarcerated women in America has more than doubled, and today, 80 percent of female inmates are biological mothers to school-aged children.
This coming Sunday we’ll celebrate all the moms in our lives – mothers, grandmothers, and special women who have loved us well and helped us become the people we are today.
Lately I’ve been thinking about moms in a unique circumstance – the ones behind bars.
Children of prisoners mourn the loss of their incarcerated parent. Some mourn the loss of the parent who was previously available to care for them. Others mourn the loss of the parent who “could have been,” if only the parent hadn’t made that mistake or hadn’t gotten caught.
From March 5 until April 20, Kent McKeever of Waco, Texas, wore orange prison clothes each day. He wore them to the grocery store, to the movies, to run a race, and even to jury duty.
McKeever, a youth pastor and lawyer, explains why he donned prison garb throughout Lent: “Even though it wasn’t real and I could explain myself and take it off at anytime, wearing the orange prison uniform gave me an opportunity to listen to the songs of the oppressed in ways I could never hear and experience as a white male with a middle-class, professional background.”
Hank Green, half of the of the popular “Vlogbrothers” video blog team, was recently asked by a viewer, “If you could do a high-quality animated video about any issue in the world, what would you choose?” Green’s response? “I went with incarceration in America, because it is messed up.”
Unemployment rates for ex-prisoners like Cassandra and Christopher is usually about 60-75 percent. One study found that job applicants with a criminal background were 50 percent less likely to be called back or offered a position than applicants without a criminal history. But in states and counties where the box has been banned, these statistics are different. In Minneapolis, after the state of Minnesota passed the ban-the-box ordinance in 2007, the number of ex-prisoners who were able to gain employment moved from six percent up to 60 percent.