GOOD

The University Of Iowa Hopes To Kickstart Prison Education Programs Through A New Lecture Series

The numbers don’t lie, but the public still needs convincing.

With many divided on what role prisons should play as social institutions, the University of Iowa is betting big on data that shows inmates exposed to education curriculums are 43% less likely to return to prison upon their release, per a 2013 research study by RAND. So while the public university’s efforts are starting modestly with a speaker series this fall, the school plans to expand higher education offerings to inmates in the near future in the hopes that participation doesn’t just keep convicts from returning, but establishes them as productive, sustainable members of society.

Iowa is one of many states hoping to find success in convincing the public and legislators that education in prisons doesn’t coddle or pamper prisoners, but rather exists to ensure their role once released. However, the fight to educate states on this matter isn’t enjoying an economy of scale. Many states are entertaining the discussion, but few draw from the efforts or data of other initiatives.


University of Iowa’s program, a partnership between the school’s Center for Human Rights and state penal institutions, starts with a conference titled “The Role of Transformative Education in Successful Re-entry: A Community Discussion.” Per a report from Cedar Rapids’ The Gazette, the speakers will include Jason Rubel, a former inmate who earned his bachelor’s degree via correspondence classes during his time in several penal institutions. Since his release, Rubel went on to earn a master’s degree in social work, leveraging his education to serve other inmates as a vocational rehabilitation counselor.

The initial speaker series will take place outside prison walls, serving to facilitate discussion and garner public support for what the data already shows — education is a fundamental tool in the rehabilitation of convicts. Anecdotal evidence, such as Rubel’s success story, should enable the public to put faces and human experiences to the statistics that have often failed to persuade the public to make such investments in the past.

Rubel, who served 10 years in state and federal prisons for drug violations, said to The Gazette, “It gave me purpose throughout my incarceration. I needed to figure out where to take my experience and make it an asset.”

The evidence is there, but hopefully, stories like Rubel’s and the leadership of state universities will make a more convincing case than the numbers alone have in the eyes of the public.

Education
via Barry Schapiro / Twitter

The phrase "stay in your lane" is usually lobbed at celebrities who talk about politics on Twitter by people who disagree with them. People in the sports world will often get a "stick to sports" when they try to have an opinion that lies outside of the field of play.

Keep Reading
Culture

The Free the Nipple movement is trying to remove the stigma on women's breasts by making it culturally acceptable and legal for women to go topless in public. But it turns out, Free the Nipple might be fighting on the wrong front and should be focusing on freeing the nipple in a place you'd never expect. Your own home.

A woman in Utah is facing criminal charges for not wearing a shirt in her house, with prosecutors arguing that women's chests are culturally considered lewd.

Keep Reading

In August, the Recording Academy hired their first female CEO, Deborah Dugan. Ten days before the Grammys, Dugan was placed on administrative leave for misconduct allegations after a female employee said Dugan was "abusive" and created a "toxic and intolerable" work environment. However, Dugan says she was actually removed from her position for complaining to human resources about sexual harassment, pay disparities, and conflicts of interest in the award show's nomination process.

Just five days before the Grammys, Dugan filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and her claims are many. Dugan says she was paid less than former CEO Neil Portnow. In 2018, Portnow received criticism for saying women need to "step up" when only two female acts won Grammys. Portnow decided to not renew his contract shortly after. Dugan says she was also asked to hire Portnow as a consultant for $750,000 a year, which she refused to do.

Keep Reading