The Development of the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Rebekah Frank

Our public school system employs about 46,000 full-time and 36,000 part-time officers across the country. In theory, these officers supervise lunchrooms, coach sports, teach drug and alcohol awareness and, in many situations, become confidants to kids who need an ally at school or don’t have the support they need at home due to myriad different reasons. But, as the incident in South Carolina indications, the existence of SROs in schools is not always positive.

Obama Took a Big StepToward Ending Grotesque Drug Sentencing Laws

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Obama essentially followed a lead that then Attorney General Eric Holder took when he virtually ordered US attorneys to take a hard look at who they are prosecuting for drug crimes, and why. Holder minced no words in stating the obvious. The overwhelming majority of those prosecuted are mostly poor, blacks and Hispanics, for low level, petty dealing and use. In legions of cases, those offenders were slapped with draconian sentences of 10 or more years with little prospect of parole. 

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.

Invoice to the Taxpayer: Sex Change for a Convicted Murderer

Stephanie Stark

Michelle Kosilek, born Robert Kosilek, brutally murdered her own wife 25 years ago, and is serving a life sentence in a Massachusetts prison. She has a long history of hard drug use and sexual abuse. Similar to Laverne Cox’s character in Orange is the New Black, doctors have diagnosed Kosilek with Gender Identity Disorder (GID), a condition where the body is incongruent with the mind’s gender. To treat it, she has been in hormonal therapy, laser hair treatment and psychological therapy, but is still chronically distressed. 

From Prison to Law School: How Former Felon Shon Hopwood Dedicated His Life to Law

Matthew Rudow

Like most second-year law students, Shon Hopwood will be spending most of the winter huddled over casebooks, frantically typing notes in lecture halls, and scrambling to balance academic, family, and extracurricular obligations. This juggling act may not be easy, but he is used to hard times. Less than five years ago, Shon Hopwood was an inmate in FCI Pekin, a federal prison in Illinois, serving a sentence for armed bank robbery.

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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