Pick 6 (06/07/2015)

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Hello Friends. We’re back with our weekly feature–Pick 6. Our Pick 6 consists of 6 informative, insightful reentry & criminal justice-related news articles and commentaries that we’ve been following throughout the week. We welcome your thoughts and feedback, so don’t be shy!

1.) Mississippi Cuts Work Program for Prisoners (New York Times)

“In a budget-cutting move, the Mississippi Department of Corrections announced on April 30 that it would shut down a program that paid counties to take in state inmates who worked free for local governments in return for shortened sentences. The change, scheduled to begin Aug. 1, is expected to affect more than 600 inmates. Other states that have reduced similar programs include North Carolina, Michigan and Florida.”

2.) Black Americans killed by police twice as likely to be unarmed as white people (Guardian)

“Black Americans are more than twice as likely to be unarmed when killed during encounters with police as white people, according to a Guardian investigation which found 102 of 464 people killed so far this year in incidents with law enforcement officers were not carrying weapons.”

ALSO SEE: The Counted (The Guardian’s Database of people killed by police in the U.S.)

3.) My greatest burden is also my greatest asset – Christopher Poulos (Maine Law)

“My greatest burden is also my greatest asset. It is one thing to read a book about what it means to be in prison, be homeless, or put a needle in your arm, it is another thing entirely to have actually experienced and survived those challenges,” Poulos said. “I see myself as an asset to people in the criminal justice system, to Maine Law, and to the legal profession not in spite of my past, but because of it.”

4.) Studies Confirm the Dehumanization of Black Children and the ‘Preschool-to-Prison Pipeline’ (Common Dreams)

“Although African-Americans constitute only 13 percent of all Americans, nearly half of all prison inmates in the U.S. are black. This startling statistic has led the United Nations Human Rights Committee to publicly criticize the U.S. for its treatment of African-Americans. A number of recent studies and reports paint a damning picture of how American society dehumanizes blacks starting from early childhood.”

5.) City Will Not Renew Corizon Contracts for Rikers Health Care: Sources (DNA Info)

Corizon, the Tennessee-based company, will not have its contracts renewed, sources say. The company, which has run health care in the city’s jails since 2001, has been blamed for the preventable deaths of at least a dozen inmates and had its care called “incompetent” multiple times by the state.”

ALSO SEE: Dominik Taylor’s article about Corizon on R&R’s blog here.

6.) A growing experience (Washington Post)

“It’s planting season behind bars, where officials from San Quentin in California to Rikers Island in New York have turned dusty patches into powerful metaphors for rebirth. The idea: transform society’s worst by teaching them how things bloom — heads of cabbage, flowers, inmates themselves.”

Audio of the week) In Norway, A Prison Built on Second Chances (APR)

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