What does incarceration do to the pursuit of the American Dream?
That’s the question at the h eart of a new report out today from Pew Charitable Trusts, based on research co-authored by professors Bruce Western of Harvard and Becky Pettit of University of Washington.
Incarceration carries widespread economic costs. Today, 2.3 million Americans are in prison. In 1980, 500,000 were. And their ability to get ahead once they are no longer behind bars may carry stark consequences for their families, society and the economy, the report finds.
Posted 1:56 pm Sun., 03.28.10
When Clark Porter, a job and family specialist with the U.S. Probation Office, looks across his desk at a client who's just been released from prison, he recognizes the skeptical stare that's often directed at him.
In St. Louis, race affects politics, the economy, personal relationships, education – virtually every important aspect of community life. Yet it’s difficult to talk honestly and productively about race. In Race, Frankly, the Beacon invites you to look at race with fresh eyes. It’s a new day nationally, and in St. Louis, it’s time.
Nearly a decade ago, that was Porter sitting in the other chair, just out of confinement and wondering what kind of invasive monitoring he could expect from the government official assigned to his case. But when the initial conversation with his probation officer had nothing to do with rules, he was taken by surprise.
By Alana Yu-lan Price
The image of a hand pressed against thick glass, fingers outstretched, made its way onto Evan Bissell’s canvas because it still haunts one of his collaborators, a young woman named Chey who saw it as a child visiting a jail.
“My dad used to do that when I’d visit him,” she wrote in a note to viewers of the “What Cannot Be Taken Away: Families and Prisons Project” at San Francisco’s SOMArts space. “The glass was so thick that you couldn’t feel any warmth.”
Chey chose to include a lotus flower because “the muddier and darker the lotus grows from, the more colorful and beautiful it will be when it blooms.”
The collaborative art exhibition, which seeks to open our imaginations to new ideas about why harm happens and how harm can be repaired, is itself a hand pressed to the glass of the prison system, a warm-hearted attempt to create new flows of communication and empathy between people shut inside and people shut out.