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.
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.
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.
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.
Norwegian prisons reject life sentences and solitary confinement in favor of living quarters built on a human scale, behavioral counseling and a focus on successful reentry into society. Norway reports two-year recidivism rates as low as 20 percent, compared to rates three times higher in the U.S.
The three-hour course covers basic employment rights, legal rights for applicants with a criminal record, criminal record error correction and sealing law, said Esta R. Bigler, who is the director of Cornell University’s ILR Labor and Employment Law Program.
In jail, reading can be a lifeline to the world outside of the cell, a connection to normalcy — or an escape to complete fantasy. In the insular, barred world of a county lockup, it’s a way to keep the days full and the tensions low.
Authors’ Circle participants live together in the same area of the facility during the program. Over time, they begin to trust one another, find commonalities, open up and understand that, even in jail, they’re part of a community.
Michigan is one of only five states that treat 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system, which harms not only those young people being jailed but also local communities and the state economy.
After years behind bars at Kern Valley State Prison and the state lockup in Chino, California, Martin Leyva had grown accustomed to the brutal violence and volatility of prison life. Showing up for his first day of college following his release, on the other hand, was truly frightening.