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[Opinion] How I ‘Jump-Started’ My Life after Prison

My story, and others celebrated during April, provide support for a wholesale rethinking of America’s approach to extreme prison sentences. Incarceration must be based on acceptance of responsibility and taking steps to improve your life, not simply to punish.

The Future of Prison Reform in Florida

Republican State Senator Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg recently filed Senate Bill 642, the “Florida First Step Act,” which would allow judges to depart from mandatory minimums for drug trafficking charges. It also calls for allowing inmates to earn more time off of their sentences if they earn a diploma or participate in an entrepreneurship program.

“Prisons Need Newspapers for the Same Reasons That the Public Needs Newspapers”: Interview with Juan Haines of San Quentin News

I met Haines the first time I visited San Quentin State Prison. He has worked in various editing positions at San Quentin News, one of the country’s only prison newspapers, for almost a decade. There, he helps produce a 20-page paper every month with only a few computers and no Internet access. The results reach 30,000 incarcerated and free subscribers across the United States.

Minnesota Prison Program Aims to Prepare Inmates for Solar Jobs

A growing demand for clean energy employees led the Minnesota Department of Corrections earlier this year to offer a solar installation course to two classes of inmates prior to their release dates. Held last spring and summer, 30 men took the 48-hour solar installer training course from instructors working with the Wisconsin-based Midwest Renewable Energy Association. The nonprofit used the same course it offers members of the general public.

Pa. Banking on Program Providing Former Inmates with Financial Literacy

Pennsylvania has a new idea to help lower recidivism rates. Two state agencies have launched a pilot program that teaches financial literacy to inmates at state prisons through a course on credit and banking basics. The class is a collaboration between the Department of Corrections and the Department of Banking and Securities.

Opinion: The Financial Knowledge Inmates Need to Reenter Society

We have found that inmates too often do not have fundamental knowledge, skills or experience to face the complex financial realities of life. Upon reentry into society, too often they repeat poor financial decisions that helped put them on the path to incarceration.

Inmates at FCC Learn Iron Working Skills

The Iron Workers Local 751 is working with the Fairbanks Correctional Facility teaching basic iron working skills. The 40 foot trailer is mobile, which gives the union an opportunity to reach a specific group of people with resources on hand.

Detention Center Garden Cultivates More Than Food

Crops tended by Scott County Detention Center inmates help offset the facility’s operating costs, but gardening also helps the detainees’ personal growth, jail officials said. The garden has provided around 770 pounds of food to the inmates this year while extras go to charities.