College Behind Bars

HU-835802719

Very interesting Ken Burns doc on PBS about NY prisoners who attend college while in prison. Specially selected for the program, some earn AA and others BA Degree.


Some surprises: many of the inmates were quite articulate despite having attended some of the worst schools. These prisoners have committed very serious crimes ranging from armed robbery to murder committed while a teen gang member.


Before you complain about tax dollars and why you paid for education while criminals are receiving it free, recidivism rate is 50%. After this program, recidivism is 4%. Saves the taxpayer a ton of money.

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patriciae_gw(07)

Programs to rehabilitate always pay but Americans want criminals to suffer-and suffer a lot. they are even pleased when prisoners prey on each other. It is our national way. You could send one of these people to an Ivy league school for what incarceration costs in some states but not, that is not suffering.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

After this program, recidivism is 4%, and not the usual 50%.

That says it all for backing "free" education in prison.

Not really "free," however, since one must "pay" by being imprisoned for years. I doubt any teenager has ever said "I think I'll rob a local store while armed so that I can be sent to prison for several years and get a "free" education.

Kate

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elvis

patriciae_gw(07)

Programs to rehabilitate always pay but Americans want criminals to suffer-and suffer a lot. they are even pleased when prisoners prey on each other. It is our national way.

You are speaking for yourself, not all Americans. I am completely in support of rehabilitation. Rehab combined with the punitive aspect of incarceration seems completely appropriate to this American.

I don't know if the OP program is new, but the earning of college credit while incarcerated is not new, hence reliably-known recidivism rates. Kudos.

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Delilah66

I listened to an NPR broadcast about CBB the weekend before TG and found it fascinating and beyond commendable.

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patriciae_gw(07)

I suppose I could have said too many Americans. Even Liberals will support the consequences for offenders who will be preyed upon in our prison system. It is sickening. I have made statements on this in the past. It is wrong. But we do nothing to prevent it.

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sableincal

My XH has been involved in prison programs, teaching English and often poetry writing to inmates. The results have been terrific; the men are very responsive to learning how to talk about what they've read and to write creatively.

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Delilah66

“College Behind Bars" follows students in the Bard Prison Initiative, a privately funded college program that began in 2001 in New York state prisons. For now, the roughly 300 students taking classes free of charge at the elite college are the exception. Most incarcerated individuals cannot afford a college education – and all are banned from applying for federal grants.

It wasn’t always this way. For decades, college prison programs flourished across the country. After the passage of the 1994 Crime Bill, Pell Grants were banned for those who are incarcerated.

For the first time in more than two decades, a push to lift this ban is sparking bipartisan support. Last month, Congress introduced bills that would reinstate Pell Grant eligibility for those incarcerated as part of wider college affordability legislation.

For formerly incarcerated individuals, educational experts and advocates, it’s about time. They argue that post-secondary education behind bars will lower the likelihood that an individual returns to prison and that it will benefit society as whole.

“Ninety-five percent of people who are in prison will get out,” Ken Burns, executive producer of the PBS film, told USA TODAY. “Do you want them as responsible, taxpaying citizens or people who have used their time in prison to hone their criminal skills?”

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.usatoday.com/amp/4202246002

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Delilah66

The College Affordability Bill was introduced by Dems. What are the chances it will go forward?

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HU-835802719

I highly recommend the doc. It is really well done. So I won't give anything away but I did make a couple of points to DH.

None of the participants claimed to be innocent. You know the prison system is filled with "innocent" victims. Almost all were articulate so either that is who they selected or that was who they interviewed.

Anyway check it out. Really fascinating.

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JodiK

Patriciae is right... there are too many people who want abject suffering to take place in jails, prisons, among other venues... and are okay with it whether or not the inmate is actually guilty or innocent.

The word "rehabilitation" is not a part of their vocabulary, no matter if it refers to prisoners, or those with addictions.

I'd much rather we funded education and actual rehabilitation so that when released, these persons have a better than average chance at becoming a responsible, taxpaying citizen with a career.

People make mistakes... should we punish them all forever, regardless how benign that mistake might be?

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HU-835802719

Well this was not about benign mistakes. These were very serious crimes. But who would rather release a criminal who may rob or murder versus an educated adult excited to have a future?

Also to point out it wasn't like they had been jailed for 2 or 5 years before entering college. Much farther into their sentences. .

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JodiK

You do realize, though, that not every prisoner incarcerated is guilty of the crime they were accused of committing, right?

There are more than a fair share of innocent persons in prison, who's cases were handled poorly, who were incarcerated before the advent of technology that would prove their innocence, or were incarcerated on trumped up charges that corruption made stick.

As shameful as it is, our justice system is as bent as any other, with payoffs, falsified records, perjury, disappeared witnesses, and more.

And it will become more corrupt as more prisons become parts of corporate America, in it for profit, alone.




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elvis

JodiK

Patriciae is right... there are too many people who want abject suffering to take place in jails, prisons, among other venues...

How do you know that: sources?

... and are okay with it whether or not the inmate is actually guilty or innocent.

Why would that be, makes no sense. Your basis for your statement^^^, please.

The word "rehabilitation" is not a part of their vocabulary, no matter if it refers to prisoners, or those with addictions.

Again, how do you "know" this? Do you have expertise in this field, i.e. social worker, parole agent, former prisoner?

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HU-835802719

Jodi of course not but that was not at all what the show was about. Every student interviewed acknowledged their crimes and its severity.

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