Cheryl Wilkins Gives Keynote Speech at Washington Women’s Prison Graduation

 

‘You go, girl!’: Joy, tears as 19 Washington prison inmates earn college degrees

Senior Director of Education and Programs, Cheryl Wilkins on Higher Education in prison

This Former Inmate Is Fighting for Every Prisoner’s Right to a College Degree

 

Story by 
Photos by Laura Baker

 

As Cheryl Wilkins accepted her college diploma, hundreds of women screamed her name and whooped with joy. They were so loud that Wilkins’ brother, sitting with his four-year-old daughter, couldn’t hear the girl cheering, “Auntie! Auntie!” Other family members were even more enthusiastic. When another woman’s name was called, her six-year-old daughter grabbed her hand and dragged her to the stage. “Come on Mama, get your degree!” Wilkins remembers the girl shouting. “Her daughter took the diploma and walked off the stage with it.”

 

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Opening Minds Behind Bars: The Justice in Education Initiative featured in the Columbia Magazine

What happens when you bring college classes to incarcerated men and women?

by James S. Kunen ’70CC Published Summer 2017

If you’ve ever glanced out the window of a plane flying into or out of LaGuardia Airport, you’ve seen Rikers Island. The flat strip of land, strikingly treeless, sits in the East River between Queens and the Bronx. With its clusters of long, low buildings, Rikers could be some sort of warehouse and distribution center, where tractor-trailers back up to bays to be loaded or unloaded. But there are no trucks. What is warehoused here is people — about 7,500 on any given day — detained by the New York City Department of Correction. Most of them, accused but not yet convicted of crimes, have been waiting months and even years for their day in court. Others have been found guilty and sentenced to a year or less in jail….

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Restore Voting Rights in Florida

Florida is one of only four states that denies the right to vote to all former felons until they petition for rights restoration – this process is the target of our lawsuit. About 1.6 million Floridians are currently disenfranchised under this system—the highest state total in the nation.This includes men and women of all different political parties, races, ethnicities, ages, from cities and rural areas, as well as veterans, small business owners and others…

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The Center for Justice welcomes Cristiana Grigore and the Roma Digital Archive

CHAMPIONING A FORGOTTEN PEOPLE GROUP – THE ROMA PEOPLE

BY CRISTIANA GRIGORE

The Roma people are the largest ethnic minority in Europe and unfortunately the most discriminated. They migrated from the Northern side of India about a thousand years ago and never found a place in the world. They are spread all over Europe and other parts of the world. The Roma people are more commonly known as gypsies…

 

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Make your commitment: Contributing to criminal justice reform

 

How can teaching Plato in prisons teach us what justice is? 

Plato’s Republic begins with Athenians asking: what is justice? Now, through the Justice-in-Education initiative, Columbia faculty and students look for answers in a setting that goes well beyond the theoretical, reading dizzying Socratic dialogues with currently or formerly incarcerated students…

Click here to read full article at Giving to Columbia and make a gift to contribute to criminal justice reform.

 


 

Geraldine Downey

My commitment: Contributing to criminal justice reform

When I finished my BS in Dublin, I was working on a project with kids on probation. I became interested in why some kids became violent as adolescents, which led me to look at their families and communities. There was a significant association between kids being abused or neglected, coming from a very disadvantaged area, and ending up as violent juvenile delinquents. I then grew curious about how different forms of maltreatment communicate a sense of rejection…

Click here to read full article at Giving to Columbia and make a gift to contribute to criminal justice reform.

 

 

Why Education Matters

by Professor Geraldine Downey, Director of the Center for Justice at Columbia University

Young people with a criminal history may face a lifetime of marginalization but we can support their transition to adulthood through education, says Geraldine Downey, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Justice at Columbia University.

Downey’s interests lie in how people’s identities are shaped by experiences of rejection, whether because of something about them as a person or because of their membership in a stigmatized group. Her scholarship has been published in Psychological ScienceChild Development, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.

 

Center for Justice featured in the Columbia Newsletter

By Bashar Makhay

Spring 2017 Issue

 

In 2014 Columbia University’s Center for Justice, now headed by Geraldine Downey, grew out of a yearlong pilot project called the Justice Initiative. Its origins date back to 2009 with the founding of the “Criminal Justice Initiative: Supporting Children, Families, and Communities” based at the School of Social Work. The initiative was started by two formerly incarcerated women who are now in the leadership of the center and continue their work at the School of Social Work as well…

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Sara Bennett uses photography as advocacy

DEFENSE ATTORNEY TURNED PHOTOGRAPHER CAPTURES ‘LIFE AFTER LIFE IN PRISON’

The frankness of the photo makes you lean in. This is what a second chance looks like. Sara Bennett’s photo series Life After Life in Prison bears witness to four women—Tracy, Carol, Evelyn and Keila—as they navigate the process of reconstructing their lives, after serving anywhere from 17 to 35 years in New York State maximum security prison. They are lifers granted parole; lifers returning to life…

 

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