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Articles on Prison reform

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Prison education programs have been shown to improve job prospects. Thinkstock/Getty Images

Congress lifts long-standing ban on Pell grants to people in prison

For the first time since 1994, incarcerated individuals can get federal aid to pay for college. A prison education scholar explains how higher education helps those who have run afoul of the law.
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.
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?
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.
Students in an advanced bachelor’s degree seminar in the Bard Prison Initiative at Eastern New York Correctional Facility. Skiff Mountain Films

Documentary provides rare look at higher education in prison

A scholar who has taught in prison weighs in on 'College Behind Bars,' which airs Nov. 25 and 26 on PBS. The documentary prompts viewers to consider the importance of higher education in prison.
The federal government says it’s doing away with solitary confinement. But is it just an exercise in rebranding? (Shutterstock)

The end of solitary confinement in Canada? Not exactly

As of Dec. 1, inmates in Canada’s federal prisons can no longer be legally held in solitary confinement. But is it truly just an exercise in rebranding?
Is it ethical to use former prisons, with long histories of death, suffering and wrongful incarcerations, as entertainment venues? Rockin' the Big House

A prison is no place for a party

What does it mean to hold a party in a place with a long history of death and suffering?
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, front, after she signed a law that allows pay-for-success funding for projects aiming to reduce female incarceration rates. AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Social impact bonds, explained

These partnerships between investors, governments and nonprofits are a new way to pay for programs and services that help people in need and address intractable problems like mass incarceration.

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