Charting a new path


Filled with the Holy Ghost I am

All my sins are washed away

I've been redeemed.

-- from the Christian hymn "I've Been Redeemed"

The 10 women of the Walter Hoving Home of Las Vegas sang this tune and clapped in unison after their Sept. 17 morning prayer session that followed breakfast.

The women were addicted to drugs, alcohol or both less than one year ago. Some of them also worked as prostitutes.

The Walter Hoving Home of Las Vegas, 3353 Red Rock St., is an all-female rehabilitation home. The home accepts women into six- or 12-month rehab programs that may be court-ordered or voluntary.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010 21:35

Dire Economic Prospects for Released Prisoners

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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.

Getty Images 


CUMBERLAND, MARYLAND — They were unlikely dance partners in an unlikely dance hall: a 29-year-old murderer and a 10-year-old boy doing an impromptu tango as Luther Vandross' "Dance with My Father" sounded from a boom box in a prison gym.

It was one of the lighter moments at the emotional end of a weeklong summer camp where inmate dads and their children reconnected after years apart. Seven fathers — all in prison-issued jeans and blue, short-sleeved shirts — swayed to the song with their children, some openly crying.

By Elia Powers

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.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010 16:50

Study finds children of inmates at higher risk

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KEN MILLER, Associated Press Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma children whose mothers are in prison are five times more likely to end up in prison themselves, according to a report released Tuesday by a child advocacy group.

The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy's annual Kids Count Factbook said those children then often have children of their own who end up in the same situation, perpetuating the cycle.

"We know any adverse childhood experience, any sort of trauma or loss a child experiences affects them in their development," said Linda Terrell, the group's executive director.

Sunday, 10 October 2010 04:12

Collaborative Art Fractures Prison Walls

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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.

By Alan Scher Zagier, Associated Press Writer

Women Inmates sharing time with their children during visit.

Patty Prewitt, second from left, and Kris Scheller, right, work on a craft project with Prewitt's daughter, Carrie Melton, left, and graddaughter Megan Lewis, 5, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2008, at the Women's Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center in Vandalia, Mo. Prewitt and Scheller are a part of the Missouri 4-H LIFE program, which tries to create a healthy environment for offenders and members of their family.

 VANDALIA, MISSOURI — The crayons, construction paper and toddlers scattered on the floor suggest a typical daycare center or kindergarten classroom. The armed guards and surveillance cameras reveal a painful reality.

Thursday, 12 August 2010 04:54

Research examines the price of prison for children

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Aug. 9, 2010

by David Tenenbaum

Wisconsin - It comes as no surprise that many children suffer when a parent is behind bars. But as rates of incarceration grew over the past 30 years, researchers were slow to focus on the collateral damage to children.

The best estimate says that at any one time, 1.7 million (about 2.3 percent) of all American children have a parent in prison, says Julie Poehlmann, a professor in the School of Human Ecology and investigator at the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

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