Beyond Prisons

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Inside Our Summer Issue

Beyond Prisons
YES! Magazine Issue 58 Summer 2011

The United States locks up more people than any other country, but that hasn't made us safer. The drug war jails thousands of nonviolent addicts. Taxpayers and poor communities lose as states slash social programs to pay for prisons. There's a better way—compassion, not punishment; restoration, not isolation. It's less costly, more humane—and it works.

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New Visions

Solving today's big problems will take more than a quick fix. These authors offer clarity about the roots of our problems and visions of a better way.

TOC Alexander

Why Real Justice Means Fewer Prisons

Fixing a broken prison system can help build a new movement for justice.

PLUS VIDEO: Amy Goodman talks to legal scholar Michelle Alexander about the new American caste system.

Just The Facts: It's A Locking-People-Up Problem

The American problem with mass incarceration is less about crime than it is about how—and who—we lock up.


Quote Page: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

TOC Mate

Don't Punish Pain

What brain science tells us about addiction, and why compassion is the only solution.

Photo Essay: The Innocents

Taryn Simon's photographs give a voice to our nation's wrongfully convicted.

Innocents play button

World and Community

New models that foster justice and real prosperity, and sustain the Earth's living systems. How can we bring these models to life and put them to work?

TOC Estes

School of Second Chances

We created a university for men who'd never had a chance at higher education—inside a Washington state prison.

TOC van gelder

Can Prison Be a Healing Place?

Hawaii's only women's prison houses mothers, addicts, and abuse victims. How one warden stopped the punishment and is helping them recover.

PLUS VIDEO: Sarah van Gelder talks to Free Speech TV about the innovative approach to crime used in Hawaii’s only women’s prison.

TOC Zehr

Righting Wrongs, the Maori Way

New Zealand confronts a crisis of youth crime by turning to Maori traditions.

Connecting Prisons with Nature

Connecting Prisons With Nature

Video: Can prisons save money and the environment while changing lives?

The Power of One

Stories of people who find their courage, open their hearts, and discover what it means to be human in today's world.

TOC delancey

Delancey Street Smarts

A recovery program and more than a dozen businesses by and for ex-felons—with the help of one feisty advocate.

TOC Gaines

Restoring Lives. Now That's Justice.

I was a reporter—and a convicted felon—when I learned it's possible to find dignity after making a mistake.

PLUS VIDEO: Patrice Gaines talks to Free Speech TV about how we can keep our streets safe without throwing people away.

TOC Glascock

Who's Reaching In to Help Out

Bringing hope—and family visits, dogs, and mediation—into prisons

My First Vote Map toc

Interactive Map

"I was overjoyed when I got my voter registration card. I was a real citizen!" Ex-offenders on reclaiming the human right to vote.

PLUS: Ban the Box. Restore the Vote.
Ex-offenders lead a movement to open workplace doors and regain civil rights.


Breaking Open

Humor, storytelling, and the arts—taking you into unexpected spaces where business-as-usual breaks open into new possibilities.

TOC Spoon Jackson

Voices of Compassion

Personal stories of life beyond bars.

Standing Up For My Brother On Death Row
PLUS VIDEO: Behind the scenes of the Troy Davis case

Ex-Police Chief: Drug Warrior No More

Inmate Kindness through the Walls of Solitary

The Night I Forgave My Daughter's Killer

Truth and Reconciliation for Victims and Offenders

Life With Poetry, but No Parole
PLUS VIDEO: Spoon Jackson's poetry out  loud

Jailed in an Immigration Detention Center

Also in the Summer 2011 Issue ...

Maya TOC

Obama's Sister: What Our Mother Taught Us

With a new book out honoring her mother, Maya Soetoro-Ng discusses how she keeps her family connected.

Wendell Berry TOC

Wendell Berry: A Quieter Life Now

In an exchange of letters with a dear friend, Berry explains why his writing is only a small part of the movement against greed and waste.

Yes Men TOC




5 Protests That Shook The World
(With Laughter)

From the notorious Yes Men, moments when laughter shook up new possibilities.

Yes Men TOC