By: Tara Debek
In the recent State of the Union address, Donald Trump said that, “this year we will embark on reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance.”
But what does the future of prison reform under the Trump administration really look like?
The Trump administration has been open about wanting to tackle one aspect of prison reform: reducing recidivism and promoting better post-prison rehabilitation programs.
So far, the administration has been working with the Charles Koch Institute, an educational organization committed to reforming areas like sentencing, overcriminalization, and recidivism. Since 2015, the Koch network has put millions of dollars into rallying Republicans and Democrats to work together on criminal justice reform.
This is not a Trump-specific effort led by conservative players. We are in a position to have effective reform with bipartisan support.
Reentry and recidivism are vitally important aspects of prison reform, as One by 1, Inc. Founder/CEO Eddie Ellis, Jr. has spoken about regularly since returning home. However, in order to have effective prison reform, we need to look at the whole picture. This includes tackling issues like policing practices, sentencing and providing resources during incarceration to build the skills and tools needed to successfully reenter society.
While Trump has made a mirage of vague but optimistic promises for prison reform, he continues to build a narrative linking violent crime to immigrants. Immigration patterns with communities, including Latino immigrants, have little to no relationship with violent crime. Trump’s rhetoric does not inspire hope.
Developing recidivism programs is a step towards a better system. It is too early to tell what prison reform will look like in the Trump era and what the potential drawbacks and long-term ramifications will be. But without addressing the full spectrum of issues in the criminal justice system, no reform can effectively fix post-incarceration issues.
Eddie Ellis, Jr. was a panelist at the January 31, 2018 screening of Ben Lear's directorial debut documentary film, "They Call Us Monsters," at the Landmark's E Street Cinema in Washington, DC.
After the film, staff and board members from the Campaign for Youth Justice and DC Alliance of Youth Advocates held a special panel discussion examining the intersection of juvenile justice and youth advocacy, in Washington, DC. Topics of discussion included the juvenile justice omnibus bill and the DC Youth Rehabilitation Amendment Act of 2017.
Eddie Ellis, Jr. Interviewed as Part of Washington Post Feature on Additional Barriers to Rehabilitation
Eddie Ellis, Jr. spoke to Washington Post journalist Rachel Chanson to discuss his incarceration experience in distant Colorado and the barriers that experience added to his return and reentry.
View the article:
One by 1, Inc. Founder/CEO, Eddie Ellis, spoke at a workshop at the 2017 National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA) Annual Conference from December 6-9, 2017, in Washington, D.C.
The NLADA Annual Conference is an event designed to build the skills and knowledge of those in public defense, civil legal aid and public interest law to meet the legal needs of low-income individuals.
Eddie was a panelist for the Defender Caucus: Pre-Trial Justice: A Discussion about Bail Reform, Risk Assessments, and Race. The workshop focuses on sharing promising and immersing strategies for addressing racial injustice in pre-trail proceedings.
Additional panelists included: Cherise Fanno Burdeen, Chief Executive Officer at Pretrial Justice Institute; Stan German, Executive Director of New York County Defender Services; and Elizabeth Rossi, an attorney at Civil Rights Corps.
Our CEO/Founder Eddie Ellis, Jr. made another appearance in one of Professor Bennett's lectures at American University.
Dr. Richard Bennett is a professor in the Department of Justice, Law & Criminology. He works hard to impart his passion for comparative criminology, comparative criminal justice, and police organization and procedures to his student. He teaches Introduction to Systems of Justice, Insider's View of Justice, Comparative Criminology/Criminal Justice, and Introduction to Justice Research I and II.
Eddie Ellis, Jr. was a panelist at the 2017 Province VIII Deacon's Conference, To Set the Captive Free, in Reno, Nevada from November 9-11, 2017.
Province VIII of the Episcopal Church is made up of 900 congregations within 17 Dioceses and Navajoland Area Mission! Province VIII aims to encourage collaboration to strengthen ministry through: training workshops, online video conferences, retreats, and personal connections with peers among the diocese and their congregations.
Learn more here.
Eddie Ellis, Jr. participated in the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth's Annual Convening in Washington, DC. He was a panelist in the "Preparing Incarcerated Loved Ones to Return Home" workshop.
This workshop addressed practical considerations for juvenile lifers returning home. The workshop was designed to equip the family members and loved ones of these juveniles with practical tips for making the transition home.
The panel was moderated by Joanna Visser Adjoian, a co-director at the Youth Sentencing & Reentry Project.
Additional panelists included: Ilyse Lerner, the owner of On Rye; Cindy Sanford, an advocate at the Pennsylvania Prison Society and family member of a juvenile lifer; and Leanna Williams, the sister of recently released juvenile lifer.
Eddie Ellis, Jr., the One by 1, Inc. Founder/CEO, provided testimony to the District of Columbia Committee on Judiciary & Public Safety during a public hearing on B22-451, the "DC Youth Rehabilitation Amendment Act of 2017".
Watch Eddie's testimony here:
In 2015, June was declared National Reentry Awareness Month. To bring awareness to reentry in America, we will be posting reentry stories throughout the month as part of our The Road to Reentry blog and vlog series. You will hear from people who have returned home from jail or prison. In these stories, they will share with us their reentry experiences, good and bad. And from their stories, we hope to demonstrate the importance of reentry supports, not only from federal and local governments, but also family and friends. Clips will be posted to our social media and will link to the full vlog or blog post located here. We hope you stay tuned and share!
UPDATE (1/2018): We were not able to launch this series, but may repurpose some of the content in the future. Stay tuned. Thanks!
By: Monique Thornton @theMATmph
We’re a full month into 2016, and desperately trying to stick with our New Year’s resolutions. At least, I am. I have quite a few. But the most important one has nothing to do with me.
It's easy to get focused what we need to improve in our own lives that we forget one simple fact: Improving the lives of others can help us improve ourselves too. And with the giving spirit of the holidays fading, if not already gone, I thought I'd rewind the clock for a minute and bring a little bit of that spirit back.
Last October, I was lucky enough to help One by 1, Inc. host its annual Ballin' for a Cause community flag football and charity drive event. With this event, we had two goals: build relationships between law enforcement and the community members and host a successful charity drive. For last year’s drive, we collected new books and toys for kids being treated at Children's Hospital.
I would love to say that the giving spirit hit me when I was collecting those toys and books at the game. But it didn’t. It didn’t hit me until we dropped the toys off at Children's. When we arrived, we were greeted by amazing volunteers. They welcomed us and our goodies with such appreciation and gratitude. They thanked us repeatedly, took pictures with us, answered our questions, and really welcomed us with open arms. It was like we were visiting family.
What stuck with me the most was the spirit of these volunteers. They took time out of their weekends to help sort and organize donations for Dr. Bear’s Closet. You could feel their passion for the organization. And it's that sort of passion that can cleanse the soul. They made me want to be more dedicated and reaffirm to my commitment to One by 1. And that is something I could not have gotten from anywhere else.
So find your cause! Find an organization that you believe in and give it all you can. You might find that in end, you got more from it than you could have ever put in. That it fuelled you and gave you purpose. That it gave you another family, another of circle of friends. That it made you whole. That it made you a better person.
For more info on volunteering at:
Welcome to the Blog!
Meet the writer of the most recent post on the blog:
My name is Tara Debek, and I'm writing for the One by 1 blog to promote a system of justice and incarceration that better serves our citizens. I believe that we are doing a significant disservice to those who are victims of a broken criminal justice system, and through the work of organizations like One by 1 we can work towards a better future.
One by 1 and its volunteers, staff, interns, partners, clients, supporters, and friends are all welcome to post on our blog. Email us with your ideas!