Articles on Prison

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Throughout the course of history, it’s usually been politics — not compassion — that’s resulted in prison releases of the type we’ve seen during COVID-19. (Piqsels)

How politics have played a big role in the release of prisoners

The COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to think critically about the place of prisons in society and how and why prisoners have been released in the past. COVID-19 could spark systemic change.
A mathematical discovery made in prison is about the pursuit of knowledge and redemption. (Shutterstock)

An inmate’s love for math leads to new discoveries

Christopher Havens came upon his love of math while in solitary confinement. A decade later, he published a paper on number theory in a top mathematics journal.
Calls for help at Chicago’s Cook County jail, where hundreds of inmates and staff have COVID-19, April 9, 2020. Kamil Krzaczynski/AFP via Getty Images

Prisons and jails are coronavirus epicenters – but they were once designed to prevent disease outbreaks

In the 1790s, penal reformers rebuilt America's squalid jails as airy, hygienic places meant to keep residents – and by extension society – healthy. Now they're hotbeds of COVID-19. What went wrong?
Former South African President Nelson Mandela with former American world boxing champion Marvin Hagler. The undated photo was taken after Mandela’s release. Louise Gubb/GettyImages

How Mandela stayed fit: from his ‘matchbox’ Soweto home to a prison cell

Prison life is about routine: each day like the one before; each week like the one before it, so that the months and years blend into each other.
A ministry program student at a Texas prison. Some inmates cite religion to avoid gang recruitment. Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images

We spoke to hundreds of prison gang members – here’s what they said about life behind bars

Gangs are still a significant reality in US prisons. But most inmates say that their power has been watered down, and they no longer rule facilities with an iron fist.
A tipi at a federal prison in Edmonton. Prison systems have legal options to decrease their prison populations, including ways to return Indigenous people in prison to their communities. (The Office of the Correctional Investigator)

Why some Canadian prisoners should be released during the coronavirus pandemic

Rapidly decreasing the prison population by letting people out is a public health imperative as governments for solutions to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The annual report from Canada’s prison watchdog paints a bleak picture of a prison system where violence between and against prisoners is concerning. (Shutterstock)

Canadian penitentiaries: Dangerous for aging and palliative prisoners

This year's oversight report into the penitentiary system shows that long-standing problems have become entrenched in Canada's federal prisons.
There is growing political interest in providing higher education to those behind bars. AdrianoK/Shutterstock.com

Higher education in America’s prisons: 4 essential reads

Education for those behind bars is gaining more attention. In these four articles, scholars take an up-close look at efforts to provide – and restrict – higher education in prison.

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