Tag Archives: incarceration

Creative Invention: Plan for the future, learn from the past

Many small colleges are struggling with low inquiry, application, and admission rates, including here in the Northeast. Rising tuitions, student loan abuses, and radical change in employment patterns have discouraged many students who then choose to bypass college and just enter the workforce at a lower level of opportunity. Now combine that thought with the fact that Vermont spends twice as much storing our social and economic fallout in jail as it does supporting its six state colleges. The chancellor and Board have begun a process to merge Johnson and Lyndon to save administrative overhead, but this is structural, and much more could be done to prepare both campuses for the new age we’re entering. It’s widely accepted that prevention …
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Prison, a barometer of our collective failures?

The scale of incarceration in our country is more than a gauge of domestic crime, it is a socio-economic indicator, telling us how we are doing on the key metrics of a healthy society. Incarceration’s original purpose, to punish crime, ensure public safety, and rehabilitate, is still with us but doesn’t come close to explaining the seven million Americans currently under the care and oversight of corrections. Key metrics of a healthy society are levels of employment, food security, graduation rates, longevity and, negatively: incidences of chronic disease, discrimination, addiction, and homelessness. To build and sustain a healthy society, community investments must be made in affordable housing, education, childcare, public transportation, and physical and mental health services. The adjective “affordable” …
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Knee-jerk Legislation Makes Bad Law

With the highest incarceration rate in the world, American liberals and conservatives are crossing ideological lines to question why. For every 100,000 citizens, China jails 165, Russia 450, and the U.S. 754. In 2008, one in 100 Americans were behind bars and one in 32 was under the supervision of the criminal justice system. There are many reasons for this, some racist, some paranoid, some xenophobic but very few are based in reality or even on sound penal philosophy. In 2014, 68 % of offenders were rearrested within three years and 77% within five years. So much for detention and the death penalty as deterrents to crime. As The Free Press famously headlined ambiguously some years back, Death Penalty Found to Reduce Recidivism. Whether we’re questioning …
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