ACTIVIST DELLA JOHNSON ATTENDS AN ALBANY RALLY TO RELEASE OLDER ADULTS FROM PRISONS. PHOTO VIA RAPP.
By Allen Arthur
Special to the Eagle
In the elegant foyer of Columbia University’s Low Library, dozens of students, professors, and business leaders gathered for a unique, and ultimately frustrating, lesson on parole.
Sue Ellen Allen, a fiery Southern veteran of seven years in federal prison, took the microphone and laid out the group’s goals: Using the few items she provided from a small plastic bag and the support of various “service providers” stationed around the hall, each attendee would have to navigate a re-entry and parole simulation.
After the first 15-minute round, participants said they felt discouraged, angry and hopeless. After 30 minutes, they were stealing from each other. The results were typical, said Allen, who travels the country facilitating the simulation to demonstrate the frustrating maze of parole supervision. She said people are typically astonished.
“Outrage and incredulity,” Allen said. “[They say] ‘I didn’t know it was this way. I had no idea. How can we do this? This is stupid. This is a waste of money. How can we change it?’ And the problem is changing it is not easy.” Read the full article HERE.
People deserve a fair chance
"Certainly, by providing individuals coming out of institutions with ways to become productive citizens, we reduce recidivism. What that means is we reduce crime. There are fewer victims when individuals have options - when they have job skills, when they have life skills, we break the cycle of children following their parents into institutions." - Attorney General Loretta Lynch
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