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Mass Incarceration in the US

Mass incarceration in the United States is a heavy topic that is too often overlooked.  Today, America has an uncanny reputation of being the leading jailer in the entire world.  According to aclu.org, the “‘tough on crime’ politics of the 1980s and 1990s fueled an explosion in incarceration rates.”  By the year 2010, there were over “1,267,000 people behind bars in state prisons, 744,500 in local jails, and 216,900 in federal facilities.”

These disturbing statics reveal the harsh reality of American society: there are too many people “locked in cages.”  Moreover, tax payer dollars are being used to fund local, state, and federal penitentiaries.  The United States alone spends “over $80 billion on incarceration each year.”  More shockingly are the alarming numbers of drug related crimes committed by both whites and blacks.

Aclu.org states that “Blacks are incarcerated for drug offenses at a rate 10 times greater than that of whites, despite the fact that blacks and whites use drugs at roughly the same rates.”  The reason for this could relate to varying factors.  Perhaps blacks are caught more often for being too overt, whites may have a boarder network of drug suppliers which makes it harder to trace drug activity to them, or there could be the very hard truth that racial profiling is still alive and well.  Either way, something must be done.

If a crime is committed, there should be repercussions for those who committed those crimes.  However, by the United States doing its part to help educate families and communities about the horrors of negative behaviors, perhaps the number of incarceration rates can be “cut in half by 2020.”

This is why ACLU has begun the Smart Justice Campaign, so that Americans can begin to “reduce the U.S. jail and prison population by 50% and…combat racial disparities in the criminal justice system.”  This act will be geared toward “all 50 states for reforms to usher in a new era of justice in America.”

Mass incarceration can be a thing of the past, but actions must be taken in order to make it a reality.  Together, we can make a difference.

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Strong Relationships: Prisoners & Families

The breakdown of familial relationships is a harsh reality faced when a loved one has been incarcerated.  Remaining present in the prisoner’s life may seem to be a chore.  After all, as a loved one of a prisoner, you still have a life that must be managed.  You must maintain your daily living cost by working, you must shop for essential needs (food, clothing, etc.), you may have social circles or organizations that require your attention.

Throughout this process, it can be challenging to maintain the relationship with your incarcerated loved one.  According to Afoi.org, maintaining the relationship is vital, particularly in the way of helping you prepare for the prisoner’s release (when that time comes).  Learn more by clicking here. #PWIC

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They Need Us

Has a loved one recently been released from prison?

If so, take time to view Monalisa’s discussion with two mental health professionals who provide much-needed re-entry resources.

Share your experience about the tools you have used to help a loved one after prison. #PWIC, #PWICUS

Click HERE to learn more.

Email us: info@pwicus.com

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Forgiveness: Letting Go

Ana Holub discusses the essence of the common but meaningful term, forgiveness, in her article titled “What is Forgiveness.”  So, what exactly is forgiveness and how do we forgive?  Below is an excerpt from Holub answering this very question.  Here, she explains why it’s important to forgive, and how doing so allows us to move forward.

 

I sometimes call our forgiveness journey a jump into the River of Love. In this course, you will learn that Life gave us our experiences to show us that NO MATTER WHAT, the River of Love will float us home to a deep sense of inner security and serenity. This experience of forgiveness teaches us to release our sadness, and find gratitude for the lessons we’ve learned… 

In the traditional view of forgiveness, a common element is that a crime occurred. If there was no crime, there’d be no need to forgive! So, if you feel that forgiveness is what is next for you, you’ll need to find the crimes in your life story. By crime, I mean any transgression that seemed to cause you pain, sadness, anger, fear, or other emotion that you did not want to feel at the time. It could have been as large as a rape or murder, or as small as a nasty look or icy silence.

…it is never the events that cause us to suffer, but rather how we interpret the situation. It is possible for one person to feel great anguish over something that another person wouldn’t mind at all. Even dramatic acts of violence can have different effects on different people, depending upon what the people involved think about what happened.

-Holub

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Relieving the Stigma

Monalisa openly shares her story about having an incarcerated child, and the beauty of gaining a strengthening prospective during the entire experience. #PWICUS, #PWIC

Watch this amazing video to learn more. Click here.

Share your story with us, we want to hear from you.  Email: info@pwicus.com

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A Message from Those Who Care

Learn what these women are saying about mass incarceration and the steps they’re taking to give those formerly incarcerated a second chance at life. #PWICUS, #PWIC

Click here to learn more.
Email PWIC today: info@pwicus.com.

 

 

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How Are You Feeling?

Tune in for a moving discussion on the importance of emotional health from dealing with children who are incarcerated to general emotional hardships. #PWICUS, #PWIC

View the discussion today by clicking here.

Leave a comment about how you maintain your emotional health by emailing us at: infopwicus.com

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Happy Holidays!

Wising each and everyone of you a very special Thanksgiving. Continue to be strong

and encouraged as we prepare for the holiday season. #PWICUS, #PWIC

Although the holidays are upon, we are still here for you.  Email us today: info@pwicus.com

 

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Prisoner’s Prospective

 

 

 

 

 

When a loved one is being released from prison, it may fill you with many thoughts and feelings of excitement.  You may begin to plan what you will do and what you will say to ensure that he/she feels as comfortable as possible getting re-acquainted with society as a whole.  However, are you truly aware of what your recently released loved one’s needs are?

According to StateOfOpportunity.org, what recently released inmates need, want, and think of may differ greatly from your own.  In an article by, Jennifer Guerra, several former inmates were interviewed and shared advice that they would give to current inmates who are about to re-enter society.  Some interviewees stated that having a mentor was highly beneficial giving them a sense of accountability to someone, and increasing their chances of not practicing the same behaviors that landed them in prison in the first place.

Other recently released interviewees gave the following tips: “write plans and goals down, to be organized, complete a resume, get addresses and phone numbers of places you need to go to get your license, healthcare, etc. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with these simple tasks?”  They all agreed that there will be bad days, but that those re-entering society should use those days as a reminder of how far they’ve come.

Moreover, the importance of getting an education was highly recommended.  Either taking a trade, or just diving right into the workforce will give those re-entering society a sense of purpose and keep them occupied reducing their chances of getting into undesirable acts.  Reaching out to family, friends, or a local church, are other great ways to help re-entries stay in a good place mentally and socially.

A key factor for re-entries to remember is that life today is not the same as it was before going to prison.  New things have been built, old things have been torn down or replaced, technology has changed, which can be overwhelming.  This is where a strong support system such as family, church, and good friends are all helpful resources.  Re-entries should take it slow because there’s a lot to process.

An even bigger obstacle than absorbing societal changes, is landing a job.  According to the former inmates interviewed, it is extremely difficult to gain employment once their criminal records were discovered.  Inmates will always be judged by people, but it’s important for them to remain positive.  The length of time a person was incarcerated doesn’t matter to the rest of society because in their eyes, inmates “are nothing more than a criminal.”  In any case, it’s not impossible to override societal distaste.  According to those interviewed, it’s “up to us ex-felons to show society that we are just as capable and worthy of being productive members of society as anyone.  It’s up to us to change the stigma that comes with being labeled an ex-felon.”

Although the transition from prison back into the world around us can be challenging, of the group of formerly incarcerated participants, all agree that it can be done with a positive attitude, adequate support, and persistence.  Some of them even utilized resources provided to them by the Department of Corrections in order to regain their footing in society.

Today, you may have realized that the needs of those re-entering society are not what you imagined, or maybe it is.  Either way, be prepared to help your loved one through this ongoing journey to a happy, fulfilling life.  More importantly, the life of a re-entry will never be the same as before, but it has the potential to be even better than before.

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It’s Not Too Late

Be one of the first to see Monalisa Johnson live during her TEDX Talk at:

  • The JFK Library in Boston, MA
  • November 18th, 2017 at 4pm.

Register here.

Use code: Speaker-Guest17 (ensures seating at the event).  Don’t miss this amazing opportunity. #Monalisa

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