incarceration

A Harrowing Tale of the Incarceration System in Shane Bauer’s ‘American Prison’

Lee Polevoi

American Prison aims to be several different things, including a first-person undercover account of what it feels like to guard a general population in a for-profit prison. It’s also  an in-depth history of American convict labor and the rise of private prisons since Colonial times—and how outsourced incarceration has grown over time into a huge business. Bauer’s risky enterprise into life as a corrections officer was partly informed by his experiences as a prisoner in Iran for more than two years. 

On Chicago’s West Side, No Rebound From the Recession

La Risa Lynch

While the overall unemployment rate in Chicago has declined since the recession ended, the rate in African-American communities has remained high. The citywide unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in 2014, but it has been well into the double digits in neighborhoods like Austin, North Lawndale, Englewood and Garfield Park, according to a Reporter analysis. The interconnection between unemployment and incarceration has made these communities least likely to share in the economic recovery.

The Rise of Social Impact Bonds

Annie Castellani

Private investors seeking alternatives to traditional charitable donations might consider social impact investing. This catchy investment philosophy has a dual purpose: make a positive impact on social and environmental issues and reap positive financial returns. Philanthropic foundations like Rockefeller and Robin Hood and global financial institutions like Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are already on board. 

40 Years Later: African-American Men Still Face Mass Incarceration, Job Losses

Freddie Allen

Black men are no better off than they were more than 40 years ago, due to mass incarceration and job losses suffered during the Great Recession, according to a new report by researchers at the University of Chicago. Derek Neal and Armin Rick, the co-authors of the study, found that reforms in the criminal justice system at the state-level largely contributed to disparities in arrests and incarceration rates that ultimately stifled educational and economic progress for Black men.

Lawmakers Reconsider Mandatory Minimum Prison Terms for Nonviolent Crimes

Stacy M. Brown

A study by the Center for Research on Globalization in Canada revealed that the U.S. houses 2 million, primarily black, inmates in state, federal and private prisons. Today, nearly half of African-American men who grow up in the U.S. are arrested at least once by their 23rd birthday, Center for Research on Globalization officials said. Further, African-American women in the U.S. receive sentences that are 480 percent harsher than affluent white males who commit similar offenses.

How to Reduce America’s Reliance on Incarceration

David Muhammad

There is momentum building in California and around the country for common sense criminal justice practices that reduce America’s overreliance on incarceration. Even those who have been the most ardent proponents of flawed Get Tough on Crime polices have come around. The United States Justice Department, hard right-wing politicians, and even some victim groups have all agreed that there are far too many people incarcerated in this country, at far too great a cost to society. 

FCC Finds Cost of Phone Calls from Prison Inmates Is At All-Time High

Candace Bagwell

FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn says that since then, “tens of thousands of consumers” have “written, emailed, and yes, phoned the commission, pleading for relief on interstate long distance rates from correctional facilities.” Although unfamiliar to most phone users, Global Tel*Link and Securus Technologies Inc. are the two companies responsible for the majority of prison phone calls. Steven Renderos, a national organizer for the Center for Media Justice says that the companies attribute their high rates to “the security features their technology has” including monitoring calls and blocking phone numbers.

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