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.
If we believe education is a civil right that improves society and increases civic engagement, then the purpose of prison education shouldn’t be about training people to develop marketable skills for the global economy. Instead, learning gives us a different understanding of ourselves and the world around us, and it provides us tools to become more empathetic.
As the labor market tightens in our expanding economy, companies will need workers. And people returning to society from prison need jobs. Keeping potential employers and employees apart is fear, lack of understanding, and about 20,000 statutes and regulations across the country that restrict the hiring of ex-offenders.