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TCR'S Person of the Year: John Oliver

Can a talk-show host drive meaningful social change? In the post-Letterman, post-Leno era, just asking the question reveals the intriguing new forces at work in today's media landscape. It wasn't too long ago that “serious” discussion of national issues was confined to Op Ed pages and the “talking heads” of Sunday news shows. Talk-show personalities like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher were among the first to exploit widespread dissatisfaction with the orthodox daily-news formulas that dominated our national […]

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The 'Scarlet Letter': One Mistake Shouldn't Ruin a Life

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter once suggested that Philadelphians who have served their time in prison will no longer be referred to as “ex-offenders”—they will be called “returning citizens.” The executive director of the Office of Re-Integration Services told the Philadelphia Inquirer, at the time, that he hoped the new term would have a “cognitive effect” on those returning from prison. That is sort of like saying we're going to call cancer “silly cells” and hope that patients will think they're […]

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Preparing Prisoners for an Evolving Workplace

Prisons should aid the re-entry process by providing vocational education and training for prisoners, according to a new position paper released by the Northwestern University Program for Prison Reentry Strategies. The paper analyzes how the justice system can prepare prisoners to enter a workforce that is increasingly technological and rapidly evolving. “The curricula for prison-based vocational programs of the future will be developed in partnership with community colleges, businesses, industries and labor,” writes the paper's author, Malcolm Young. Citing . […]

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New Indictments in Narco Freedom Case

The father and son who ran one of New York's largest drug treatment programs were arrested again this week, along with four other executives, in a widening state probe into the “sober home” providers. The New York Attorney General's office is accusing former Narco Freedom CEO Alan Brand and son Jason of defrauding Medicaid and syphoning company revenue. Indictments detail an alleged crime ring headed by the Brands and Narco Freedom's current CEO Gerald Bethea, who was also indicted, along […]

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Report: Most States ‘Rethinking’ Collateral Consequences

All but nine states have taken steps since 2009 to limit the damage that having a criminal record can cause for those who have already served time, according to a new report from the Vera Institute of Justice. An individual’s criminal history can disrupt access to social benefits, limit employment opportunities and certain civil rights, but between 2009 and 2014, 41 states and the District of Columbia passed 155 bills designed “to mitigate the burden of collateral consequences for individuals […]