Signs of Life :: Prison Reform

A Chance for a New Life After Prison
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In an effort to address rising prison populations, Congress in March passed the Second Chance Act, a measure authorizing $362 million for programs that serve prisoners, former prisoners, and their families.

Two of three ex-convicts will reoffend within three years, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The bill aims to lower this figure through education and job training, transitional mentoring programs, and drug treatment both during and after incarceration. It also offers alternatives to prison for parents convicted of non-violent drug offenses and allows prisoners access to family-based drug treatment.

“There is an urgent need for criminal justice reform,” said Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), the bill’s sponsor. “Prisoner re-entry is one aspect of this very serious issue.”

— Brooke Jarvis


One in every 99.1 adult Americans is behind bars,

… a new Pew study finds, the highest in U.S. history and by far the highest in the world. The report cites tougher sentencing laws as the cause. The U.S. prison population has tripled in the last 20 years, even as violent crime rates have dropped.


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Cradle to Prison Pipeline Summit

Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund, attends a candlelight vigil at the Cradle to Prison Pipeline Summit at Howard University in September. The summit addressed the largest driving force of the pipeline: poverty, exacerbated by race. One in three African- American boys born in 2001 will spend time in prison.


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