Wesleyan, a liberal arts college in Middletown, CT, has started a program that allows inmates in a nearby high-security prison to take classes. The students are selected competitively - with only a 16% acceptance rate - and receive the same rigorous education provided to Wesleyan undergrads. Here you can read some of their work. The Bard Prison Initiative [Previously on Metafilter] features a similar program. [more inside]
The Changing Racial Dynamics of the War on Drugs. The Sentencing Project has just released a report (pdf) finding that, for the first time in 20 years, the number of Black Americans in state prison for drug offenses has fallen. Between 1999 and 2005, the number of White drug offenders in state prisons rose about 43 percent, while the number of Black offenders declined by 22 percent. One cause may be a rise in the use of drug courts, which are locally administered programs that divert offenders into treatment rather than incarceration. The Sentencing Project has a recent report (pdf) on this issue as well.
A new report by the Pew Center of the States finds that 1 in 31 U.S. Adults is currently under Community Supervision. (Full report pdf). Georgia currently tops the charts, with 1 in 13 adults under correctional control. [more inside]
Deadly Symbiosis: Rethinking race and imprisonment in twenty-first-century America.
As we approach Nov. 4, I'm reminded that an estimated 5.3 million Americans are prohibited from voting because of a felony conviction. The ACLU breaks it down by state.
"It used to be that the more radical you were on environmental issues, the farther you were from working-class people, poor people, and people of color, because you were making individual lifestyle changes that alienated you from the majority. You looked different; you ate different foods; you wore different clothes. Working-class people were shopping at Wal-Mart and eating at McDonald’s, and you were mad at them for it. With this new environmentalism, the more radical you are on environmental solutions, the closer you are to the working class." [more inside]