Can Someone Who Commits Murder Reform?

September 10, 2019, 11:08 am On September 7, 2019 NBC aired a special with Lester Holt on Angola prison in Louisiana. Angola is the largest prison in the United States, and it used to be considered the most

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How Do We Measure Remorse?

October 14, 2019, 12:40 am Everyone responds to shame and fear in different ways. Some responses are very visible and public. Others are private and unseen. This variety of responses is perhaps no more obvious than in how

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Radical Act of Forgiveness Makes National News

October 8, 2019, 10:13 am I used to love watching the news to stay caught up on current events. As a teenager and younger man, I had an interest in politics, so the news fed my interest. But

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Be the Change You Wish to See in the World

August 7, 2019, 11:57 am Two more communities, El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, were rocked this week by devastating acts of mass shooting violence. Dozens of people lost their lives, and many more were injured or deeply

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Forgiveness is not a pardon. But it is a refuge.

August 24, 2019, 10:39 am “The last time I’d touched Conor, my daughter was alive. I wanted my hug to convey my forgiveness and my love for him. I was immensely sad for this young man whose previous

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Ten Ways to Spend a Summer Afternoon in Prison

August 24, 2019, 10:43 am It’s true that there are no block parties, campouts, picnics, afternoons at the beach, or lazy evenings in the hammock sipping a cold beverage in prison. But beautiful weather and a relaxed attitude

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Social Isolation Contributes to Reoffending

September 4, 2019, 3:48 pm No society that fails to protect its citizens from exploitation and harm can long survive. So, crime has a stigma to it, and right it should. Citizens should be protected against crime. When

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Hurry Up and Matter!

September 17, 2019, 11:07 am The story is all-too familiar. The gavel slams as the sentence is handed down. Within days, the long and lonely trip to prison is punctuated by a razor wire topped gate slamming shut

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Michigan Courts Drag Their Feet on Complying with Supreme Court Ruling

September 23, 2019, 11:28 am In 2012 the US Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that mandatory life sentences for juvenile offenders were unconstitutional. In 2016 they ruled in Montgomery v. Louisiana that their prior decision should be applied

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Shaped by Our Memories and by Those We’ve Loved

September 29, 2019, 11:40 pm For every prisoner certain dates hold great significance, and often great sadness and longing. These dates might be special holidays that the prisoner shared with family–the cherished memories and realization of lost opportunities

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Rewarding Positive Behavior Promotes Reform in Prisoners

We have heard it from childhood: If you do the right thing, you are rewarded. If you do the wrong thing, you are punished. We are further socialized in this thinking when we earn college scholarships for good

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A Difficult Gift to Give and to Receive

April 24, 2019, 12:46 pm Saturday night in our Restorative Justice club meeting we discussed forgiveness. This illusive concept incites deeply held feelings from those of us who long so desperately for our victims and victims’ families to

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How to Be Part of the Thirty-Three

National studies have shown that the average recidivism rates (re-offense rates) for citizens returning from prison is sixty-seven percent.That’s an alarmingly high number and clear evidence that the industrial prison complex’s methods of rehabilitation do not work. If

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Best-Laid Plans or Pipe Dreams?

Several months ago, a young man who had left prison from our unit on parole returned to prison again. When he went home, he had little to return to, and the allure of his drug addiction pulled him

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Proven Innocent

February 26, 2019, 2:39 pm In the ’90s and throughout the 2000s, television schedules exploded with new police and criminal justice shows. Law and Order (and its many offshoots), NYPD Blues, Blue Bloods, Criminal Minds, Cops, and dozens

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Definition of “Juvenile” Gets a New Look by the Courts

Who hasn’t done something stupid as a child, only to regret it later? I think it’s pretty safe to say that nearly everyone has at least one story of a regretful decision born of the immaturity of youth.

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Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave!

Perhaps you have heard the colloquialism, “Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when at first we practice to deceive.” It may be a pithy saying, but it has teeth in prison. Some prison relationships are built on

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Separating Children from Their Parents is Not a New Phenomenon

Recently, news stories have dominated the media regarding the tragic separation of children from their parents who entered the United States illegally. I would guess that most people, regardless of political affiliation, find these stories heartbreaking and feel

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Learning How to Relax in a Muddle of Noise

“Ticket-free field house!” the unit officer called out over the loudspeaker. I stepped into the hallway, joining the crowd streaming from the dayroom and bathroom where they had congregated, anticipating the call. We merged into a tentatively shuffling

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Forgiveness is Hard, But is it Ever Deserved?

Forgiveness is hard. Shoot, it’s hard enough when the offense is personal but no lasting harm has been done. I think it’s just human nature to find forgiveness difficult. First, we want the offender to be sorry, but

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