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We face a massive prison crisis in the United States, and some thinking outside the box is necessary. Earlier in American history, incarceration was rare or non-existent. Shouldn't we figure out what they were doing right?

Dostoevsky believed the degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons. Prisons today resemble declining civilizations in that prisoners spend an inordinate amount of time planning, avoiding and participating in violence directed against each other and very little time working productively. Our prisons in many respects might signal national decline. The era of American ascendancy from about 1650 to 1800 saw zero mass incarceration and very little incarceration at all as the ultimate punishment for crime. Back then, communities were more vigilant. Punishments included more judicial corporal punishment, banishment, hard labor, indentured servitude, death and public shaming. We humans like to flatter ourselves that society progresses, but that’s not always the case. In terms of effectiveness, misery, expense and social costs, few can seriously contend our modern system of punishment is demonstrably superior to the methods used earlier in American history. Today, the United States incarcerates over five (5) times as many prisoners as it did in 1975, when the “nothing works” to rehabilitate consensus appeared. Some things actually do “work,” but with this many prisoners and an economic slow-down, governments cannot afford them. We own a major crisis.


http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/318645
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Have them in circles
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Apollo13 Project

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Emotional intelligence and recidivism

While discussion of feelings may remind you of warm and fuzzy sing-alongs by the campfire, the issue of emotional intelligence is not to be trivialized

Interesting thoughts from a corrections perspective.
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Tinkering with definitions of 'recidivism' is one way to lower recidivism rates?!

The Progressive Conservatives said Wednesday the NDP has quietly changed its definition of recidivism to artificially lower the rate at which Manitoba criminals reoffend.
But Attorney General Andrew Swan said the wording was changed to more closely reflect how Ottawa measures the reoffence rate._
"It's really intended to answer the question people ask: 'What percentage of people are going to get in trouble again,' " Swan said. "The youth numbers are still high. The adult numbers, they look rational, in a word."
The difference hinges on two words: "charged" and "convicted." Under the old system, offenders who were charged with a criminal offence two years after release from a provincial jail counted toward the recidivism rate. Under the new system, the rate is calculated by how many offenders are convicted of a crime two years after release.
Tory justice critic Kelvin Goertzen said that means the recidivism rate will be considerably lower than in the past as it can take months if not years for a criminal case to get to court and see a conviction.
"It's magically reduced our reoffence rate by 30 per cent overnight," he said.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/province-tinkers-with-definition-of-recidivism-138108618.html
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Improving Prisoner Re-entry through Policy, Research, and Dialogue
Introduction
The Apollo13 Project aims to help reduce crime, save tax dollars, and improve life chances by helping ex-offenders (and at-risk youth and adults) spend less time behind bars and integrate into society more successfully upon release.

This outcome will be more likely when (1) ex-offenders receive better social support and community acceptance; (2) more ex-offenders are employed upon release; (3) more policies emphasize alternatives to incarceration; and (4) more ex-offenders receive effective help with skills, addictions and mental health challenges.

To help make these conditions possible, The Apollo 13 Project will (1) create a tight & active stakeholder dialog network. A13.org will become a prime platform for researchers, policy-makers, corrections professionals, ex-offenders, community leaders, journalists, and employers.

The website will help stakeholders (2) collect stories that humanize the reentry experience, turning numbers into faces; (3) engage and educate journalists and power bloggers, ensuring more coverage of reentry efforts; and (4) assist researchers and policy-makers in making data more clear and consumable, so that best practices are more readily understood and adopted.

These tightly-linked initiatives will expand media coverage, shift public attitudes, encourage employers to hire ex-offenders, and empower legislators to create and sustain more effective programs.

The Apollo 13 Project is housed at Utah Valley University and is a 501(c)(3). UVU students actively engage in the project. Every semester Apollo 13 offers a hands-on field work course in which students play key roles recruiting stakeholders, collecting stories, and collecting and parsing data. In addition, the Behavioral Sciences program offers a field survey course, introducing students to literature of crime, incarceration, harm reduction, and reentry.

#PrisonerReentry 
#Recidivism
#PrisonPolicy
#StudentEngagement