Civil Rights

In 1994, Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, also known as the crime bill, in an attempt to be tough on crime. The bill included an amendment to ban Pell Grants for incarcerated students. As a result the number of education programs within prisons fell from over 350 in 1990 to only…

Read more The power of an education

In recent years, many celebrities have used their platforms to highlight flaws in the criminal justice system. The light shed on these important issues has encouraged others to pay more attention to and advocate for legislation that focuses on sentencing and reentry reforms within the criminal justice system. Celebrities have historically played a large role in highlighting injustice, including…

Read more Criminal justice on celebrity platforms

Dreamers, border walls and the budget To keep the government running past Thursday, Congress will need to find agreement on several issues including how to protect nearly 700,000 immigrants known as “Dreamers” from deportation. To end a government shutdown last month, Senate leaders promised to allow a vote on Dreamer legislation by February 8. A White House proposalincludes…

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  “We are human beings. We need the right to live,” a Syrian Palestinian family told me when I visited Lebanon several years ago. The family was receiving a food voucher from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) that helped them buy basic items like rice, oil and bread. Unable to work legally in Lebanon, the family…

Read more The right to live

Many people believe that the primary purposes of prisons are to increase public safety, punish offenders for crimes against society and rehabilitate prisoners. But in many ways, jails and prisons have become warehouses for people with mental illnesses or drug addictions and those who are living in poverty. In most states, jails hold more people with…

Read more Jails as warehouses