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Monday, February 2, 2015

#REVIEW: College For Convicts by Christopher Zoukis

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CFC book cover, Zoukis_978-0-7864-9533-7
The United States accounts for 5 percent of the world's population, yet incarcerates about 25 percent of the world's prisoners. Examining a wealth of studies by researchers and correctional professionals, and the experience of educators, this book shows recidivism rates drop in direct correlation with the amount of education prisoners receive, and the rate drops dramatically with each additional level of education attained. Presenting a workable solution to America's mass incarceration and recidivism problems, this book demonstrates that great fiscal benefits arise when modest sums are spent educating prisoners. Educating prisoners brings a reduction in crime and social disruption, reduced domestic spending and a rise in quality of life.

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 RATING: 4 Stars

REVIEW: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
It's a known fact, our criminal justice system is broken. We want to think that  it works, that the three strikes system works, that we put away hardened criminals and we can forget about them. We can put away any criminal and forget about them. The fact is we are facing a prison system that is horribly overcrowded, underfunded and just plain broken shows itself over and over again in comparison to other countries. Is America so messed up that we have to put so many more people behind bars than other countries per capita?
Now, reading this book, my gut instinct was, "How dare anyone in prison get to have a college degree when I am only just finishing paying off my own student loans twenty years after the fact?" I'm a law-abiding citizen, and I still don't have the education I want because the fact of the matter is that I can't afford it. I didn't want to like this book but the author did present a pretty strong case in favor of offering education to prisoners, and did show that it is to society's benefit that we do offer it to prisoners.
On the other hand, if college courses and degree programs are offered so much cheaper to prisoners than to the general populace, there is a problem. It should be the same price for the general populace and to prisoners, so drop the high tuition for those of us outside prison.
Past the argument itself, the book was full of dry facts, prepare yourself for reading something like a thesis paper.

About the author:

czChristopher Zoukis is an impassioned advocate for prison education, a legal scholar, and a prolific writer of books, book reviews, and articles. His articles on prison education and prison law appear frequently in Prison Legal News, and have been published in The Kansas City Star, The Sacramento Bee, Blog Critics, Huffington Post and Midwest Book Review, among other national, regional, and specialty publications. Mr. Zoukis is often quoted on matters concerning prison law, criminal law, prisoners' rights, and prison education. Recently, he was the focus of an article at Salon.com concerning America's broken criminal justice system and potential solutions to the current crisis. When not in the thick of the battle for prison reform, prison education, or prisoners' rights advocacy, Mr. Zoukis can be found blogging at PrisonLawBlog.com, PrisonEducation.com, and ChristopherZoukis.com.

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2 comments:

  1. This man is in prison for child pornography possession. Why do you support him? http://nametheproblem.com/2014/12/25/christopher-zoukis-huffingtonpost/

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    1. Cathy, thank you for bringing this to my attention. I was unaware until reading the book that the author was a prisoner himself and certainly didn't know of the charges against him. The author does in fact explain the charge against him on his website:http://www.christopherzoukis.com/criminal-charges/

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