The Appalachian Justice Initiative hosts mass incarceration discussion at WVU

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Panel Members

The Appalachian Justice Initiative hosted a discussion with law students and community organization members about mass incarnation in the United States.

The discussion surrounded people who have committed non-violent offenses such as money laundering or substance possession. Each panelist member presented information about what their programs are doing to assist prisoners and their families. They stressed the lack of rehabilitation and education programs offered to  inmates,how communities are effected when people leave and the collateral consequence that effect people once released.

With over 2 million people serving prison sentences in the United States, there is a lot of concern about what happens when these people re-enter society.

Since people carry their prison record for the rest of they’re life, it is hard to find work, gain college degrees and even get some job certifications. This and the psychological effect of prison leads to many offenders re-entering prison once released. 

“95-97 percent of people in prison are coming out. they’re going to be sitting by you on the bus, they’re going to be your neighbors,” said Jeri Kirby. “So you know doing what we can know to empower them and educate them and give them whatever they need to become whole again in our society is exactly what we need to do.”

Panel members included; Jeri Kirby, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Fairmont State University, Rich MacAllast, president of the re-entry organization Recidivism Zero, Raymond Thomson create of “The Divide” Project about prison families, and Best Jividen First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia members of re-entry programs for prisoners, and West Virginia attorneys. Learn more about these programs below.

The Inside-out Center: http://www.insideoutcenter.org/

Recidivism Zero Program: http://rzero.org/

The Divide Project: https://exhibits.lib.wvu.edu/gallery_thompson

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