Addressing Financial Ignorance with…Ignorance?

April 8, 2019, 12:01 pm Many prisoners broadly share common traits. These include: little education, emotional or mental health issues, addiction or chemical dependency, dysfunctional family histories, aggressive or abusive behaviors, anger issues, and perhaps lesser known–financial ignorance

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Who Bears the Burden of Incarceration?

April 4, 2019, 5:53 am A mother of another prisoner recently expressed to me her frustration with her son’s dumb behavior in prison. She remarked that she has read much about “being there” for your incarcerated loved ones,

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What Do They Call You?

March 26, 2019, 10:58 am “Hey bro, what do they call you?” I first heard this odd question my first day in prison. I was tempted to ask the question, “who are ‘they’?” or to sarcastically respond, “Oh,

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The Prison Admission Scandal?

March 19, 2019, 1:00 pm The recent College Admissions scandal has everyone up in arms. The liberals are angry and pointing fingers at conservatives because this scandal highlights the inequities (apparently the fault of conservatives) endemic within American

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Crushed Under the Weight of Loss

March 12, 2019, 11:25 am The theme of loss is a normal part of prison. When people are convicted of (and sometimes simply accused of) a crime, they lose their freedom and often lose family, friends, jobs or

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Does a “Police State” Reduce Crime?

March 5, 2019, 12:23 pm This past week I heard a news story about a remarkable crime statistic. Chicago, which has been the murder capital of the United States for quite some time now, is reporting a drop

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Imprisoned Within Prison: Saga of a Deep Freeze Shutdown

February 4, 2019, 1:53 am Recently, a historic deep freeze blanketed a large portion of the United States, including Michigan. For several days the weather was breaking records with sustained “feels-like” temperatures around -40 degrees (F). Even the

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Calls for Reduction in Prison Population Aims to Protect Residents

April 14, 2020, 11:51 am As of Easter Sunday, the Michigan Department of Corrections is reporting a total of nine prisoner deaths from COVID-19. Recent articles published in the Detroit Free Press have criticized the department’s response to

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Bring Me Your Torch–It’s Time to Go

April 21, 2020, 11:29 am Every Wednesday night I check out of prison for a little bit and join the competitors on the television show *Survivor.* I’ve been watching *Survivor* for most of the 40 seasons, and I

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Crisis Clarifies What is Most Important

April 27, 2020, 9:04 pm It amazes me how it takes a crisis for us to realize what is really important in our lives. The coronavirus is forcing families to spend more time together, and many families are

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It’s Time to Turn the Corner

May 5, 2020, 3:33 pm This week I watched another prisoner be cuffed and taken to the hole (segregation). He was in the vocational trades program, so he is within a year or so of paroling from prison.

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Reframing Our Stories through the Narratives of Others

One of the most important tenets of restorative justice is the commitment to deal only with the truth. This principle might seem obvious, but truth doesn’t always look the same to each party. Facts don’t change, but our

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Mom’s Help Maintain Mental Health

May 12, 2020, 11:42 am Nearly eleven years ago as I was sitting in the county jail awaiting my eventual transfer to prison, my mother asked me if I was worried about prison. I remember telling her that

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Clean Slate Legislation Will Give Fresh Start to Many Former Prisoners

November 18, 2019, 11:15 am Starting life over after leaving prison is difficult. I understand returning citizens face a lot of hurdles. Many prisoners have lost connections and relationships they had prior to coming to prison. Most have

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ANONYMOUS

February 10, 2019, 9:45 pm My story’s just too ugly to be told in public places. It’ll make you gasp, or cringe, or blush uncomfortably. It’ll probably make you angry, and rightfully so. I was controlling, cold-hearted, and cared only for

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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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