Prison life 101: Help adjusting to life outside.

Despite America's current turn to the political right, there is still momentum in the US to reduce the number of inmates in prison—for financial as well as "fairness" reasons. That means a lot of inmates—mostly nonviolent offenders—will be soon confronting life outside cell bars and perimeter walls. They often falter making the adjustment from prison life to "freedom." We can expect a good deal of recidivism in the future in the US..  We're also entering a new era of Federalism where … [Read more...]

Prison rehabilitation: Turning zeroes into heroes?

 A recent article about carcerite, “prison syndrome,” is especially interesting in that it gives insight into the prison system in Italy. While bedeviled with overcrowding, just like the US, Italy has some "inspired" prison rehabilitation programs that're worth knowing about.However, the main reason I'm posting today's blog is to make us aware of the gamut of thinking about "prison rehab." What do you think of the comments below in response to the "prison syndrome" article?Mary Phillips … [Read more...]

How US states rank regarding cyberbullying.

 Out of 46 states in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, Michigan ranks number one for having the biggest bullying problems in 2016. The study conducted by Wallethub measured, among other things, bullying and cyberbullying prevalence and the impact of anti-bullying laws in states.Michigan had total score of 60.18 percent, followed by Louisiana with 59.43 percent. The state with the least bullying problems is Massachusetts, with a total score of 23.33 percent. According to the study, … [Read more...]

Oscar Pistorius’sentencing suggests he’s a psychopath.

Finally, the other shoe has dropped. And the judge has answered our question . . . sort of. The question asked several Pistorius blogs ago was, does Oscar have psychopathic tendencies like Lance Armstrong and OJ Simpson? Because I felt I knew less about Oscar than Lance and OJ and because a different culture and criminal justice system was at work, I decided to let the judge determine Oscar's mental state. Psychopath? By sentencing Oscar to five years—much less than the ten years she might … [Read more...]

Hitchhiking revisited

In Cleft Heart, hitchhiking’s an avenue to self-renewal as much as the usual self-discovery. A piece about hitching in the New York Times by an Alaskan journalist caught my eye  recently. Roy Hoffman, who has written several books, captures much of what I’ve believed to be true about hitching. Excerpts from Hoffman’s reflections while reading his journal (he hitched across Alaska, through the Yukon, down to California and then to New York in the 1960s): "The exotic perfume of 1967’s Summer of … [Read more...]

Remembering Ira Sandperl—mentor to Joan Baez and a big influence in my life.

When I first met Ira in Palo Alto, California in the fifties, he had a fondness for Brooks Brothers clothes, Black Russian cocktails, and beautiful art---especially Tolstoy's writings. Not surprising for the son of a wealthy St. Louis surgeon! Ira had come west to study at Stanford over a decade earlier and had lived a playboy’s life the first couple of years until, as he said, "he left school to continue his education." At one point Ira saw a book about Gandhi in a bookstore window, and from … [Read more...]

Saying Goodbye to Ira Sandperl, a Hero who was not always a Saint.

Last week, I attended Ira's memorial service in his adopted, long-time home town of Menlo Park, California. A few people flew in from across the country, which may be par for the course in an age when airplanes ply the sky like buses. . . and the deceased often reach the ripe age of 90 allowing them to influence many lives. Ira influenced more people than most, however. But therein lies the "unsaintly" rub. His influence came at the expense of his two children and other loved ones who often … [Read more...]