My friend and colleague, J. Douglas Macready , recently posted on a unique educational program in place at Bard College. Here is an excerpt from his post, “Redeeming the Time”:
“According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics , 7.2 million people were either in jail, prison, or on parole by the end of 2009. A more startling statistic is that 1 out of every 32 adults in America is incarcerated. Most of those people will eventually be released (about 275,000 people per year) and at least 65% of them will be re-incarcerated within 3 years. Can a college education change these statistics? Bard College thinks it can, and they are doing something about it. They are bringing a high quality liberal arts curriculum into prisons and transforming lives.”
If only more universities had such a vision! To learn more about this program, check out the videos posted at The Relative Absolute. I also recommend highly the following books, discussing the hyper-incarceration of the US and how the punitive “right” hand of the Neoliberal State disproportionately targets and affects African Americans: Loic Wacquant, Punishing the Poor: The Neoliberal State of Social Insecurity and Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.