Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In Chains

Judith Tannenbaum is a professional teaching artist focusing on community arts and related issues. She currently serves as training coordinator for San Francisco’s WritersCorps program.

Ms. Tannebaum taught at San Quentin in the 1980s and she has compiled a set of useful resources for artists who are working with prisoners.

According to this article, Why We Must Fix Our Prisons by Senator Jim Webb in Parade Magazine, the situation is dire and expensive:

The United States has by far the world's highest incarceration rate. With 5% of the world's population, our country now houses nearly 25% of the world's reported prisoners. We currently incarcerate 756 inmates per 100,000 residents, a rate nearly five times the average worldwide of 158 for every 100,000. In addition, more than 5 million people who recently left jail remain under "correctional supervision," which includes parole, probation, and other community sanctions. All told, about one in every 31 adults in the United States is in prison, in jail, or on supervised release. This all comes at a very high price to taxpayers: Local, state, and federal spending on corrections adds up to about $68 billion a year.

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