Thursday, February 28, 2013

Prison Pedagogy Study

Hi folks! PCARE's very own Susannah Bannon of Texas State University-San Marcos is currently collecting data for a project on the experiences of college educators who have taught in a correctional setting. If you fit that bill, please consider completing her online survey:

Greetings, fellow educator!

You are invited to participate in a 10-minute online research study examining teachers’ experiences working with students in correctional institutions, and students on college campuses.

I hope to recruit 100 teachers who at some point during their careers have been (paid) instructors of record for at least one class at a correctional facility, and one class on a college campus.  You do not need to be currently working in both settings to participate

Participants are asked to complete a short online survey; no identifying information is requested so responses will be totally anonymous.  The survey items are all strictly related to general teaching experiences, and do not ask about any specific location, company, or school.

Findings from this study will contribute to the understanding of correctional education, and the factors contributing to job satisfaction and motivation of those who work in that field. 

To participate in the anonymous and confidential survey just copy and paste this link to your browser’s address bar: 

This survey is a study by Susannah Bannon from the Texas State University Department of Communication Studies and is supervised by Melinda Villagran, PhD.  For more information, please contact Susannah by email:  The Texas State University-San Marcos Institutional Review Board (EXP2013Z2155) has approved this study.

Your participation is greatly appreciated!!


Susannah Bannon
Graduate Instructional Assistant
Texas State University – San Marcos
Office:  CENT 314

Thursday, February 7, 2013

From Eleanor Novek


Dear Friends,
On February 4, 2013, Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced that the Federal Bureau of Prisons has agreed to a first-ever comprehensive and independent assessment of its use of solitary confinement in U.S. federal prisons.  The review is to be conducted through the National Institute of Corrections. Such a review is something for which we’ve been fighting and is a critical step in eventually ending the use of prolonged solitary confinement in U.S. prisons.

We should take this opportunity to intensify our campaign to end prolonged solitary confinement. First, if you haven’t done so, we invite you to join the National Religious Campaign Against Torture's national campaign to gather endorsements from people of faith for a statement calling for government officials all across the country to take steps to end the use of prolonged solitary confinement.  Most of the maximum security prisons dedicated to solitary confinement are owned and operated by the states.  When we reach 500 endorsers from a particular state, we will send the statement, along with the list of those endorsers, to that state’s governor and top corrections official, along with every member of that state’s legislature. Most recently, we delivered 1,000 signatures to the Commissioner of Corrections in New York. Will your state be next? Please join us.

NRCAT has also produced a 20-minute film, Solitary Confinement: Torture in Your Backyard, designed to be shown in congregations or religious organizations with a discussion guide.  Now is a good time to share the film with your congregation and invite others to view it, sign the statement, and take action.

This week’s announcement follows the unprecedented Congressional hearing on solitary confinement held June 19, 2012.  Before the hearing, hundreds of people of faith across the nation participated in a 23-hour fast organized by NRCAT, symbolizing the 23 hours prisoners spend in solitary confinement cells per day.

We hope you will join us in this moment to learn, share and take action.  The new Director of U.S. Prisons Policy and Program for NRCAT, Laura Markle Downton, looks forward to working alongside you in this effort to end torture, without exception. She can be reached at


Linda Gustitus, President
Rev. Richard Killmer, Executive Director

For news coverage: “U.S. Bureau of Prisons to review solitary confinement

Video from the June hearing on solitary confinement can be found at:
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Children Leading the Way in Chicago

The horrifying levels of gun violence in Chicago continue to be a major national news story and source of intense debate both in the Windy City and nationally. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's response has been characteristic of many big-city mayors: Respond to growing violence with more police officers on the streets. In other words, expand the reach of the criminal justice system in poor communities of color already disproportionately targeted for surveillance and incarceration.

Yesterday's Chicago Tribune offers a powerful, humbling example of how communities most directly impacted by such violence are capable of developing their own visions for reversing the tide of violence. On Monday, approximately three dozen teenagers walked out of their schools and led a march honoring 15-year-old Hadiya Pendelton, who recently died in a shooting.

In addition to mourning the loss of a fellow teenager and registering outrage about ever-increasing levels of violence on Chicago's streets, these wise youth challenged Emmanuel and the rest of the city to embrace holistic measures that would make south side communities safer for children:

"According to their plan, the girls and their supporters want Mayor Rahm Emanuel to create 2,000 part-time jobs and another 2,000 summer jobs specifically for youth. They want extended hours at their schools with an emphasis on social and recreational programs and they want parental involvement to become a mandatory condition of certain school programs."

This is a powerful testament to the ability of communities with the most direct relationship to social problems to generate solutions rooted in their daily experiences. Furthermore, it represents a forceful rebuke to those who would pose a false alternative between anarchy on the streets and the enhanced militarization thereof. 

Cities everywhere would be wise to listen to such wisdom.

Education v.s. Incarceration

The troubling connection between mass incarceration and public education has been well documented by authors including Ruth Gilmore, Erica Meiners, and Michelle Alexander. Here, Washington State University sociologist Gregory Hooks provides some accessible empirical insight into the ways mass incarceration is a) utterly unjustifiable in relation to actual crime rates and b) directly redirects state resources from our schools.

Thanks to Stephen Hartnett for passing this along.