Lightning flashed across Kentucky skies a few nights ago. "I love storms," said my roommate, Gypsi, her eyes bright with excitement. Thunder boomed over the Kentucky hills and Atwood Hall, here in Lexington, KY's federal prison.
L.A. has long maintained an image in America as a progressive, cutting-edge, and trend-setting environment. So it should come as a huge shock that regarding the treatment of children in the juvenile justice system - Los Angeles may be the most backward major metropolitan area in the nation.
In a town where Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on light bulbs or cafeteria utensils, legislation to address overcrowding in the federal prison system had the backing of both President Obama and Senator Ted Cruz.
Overreaching governmental intrusions into our personal privacy, criminalization of minor drug offenses and an extremely overpopulated prison are realities we've all begrudgingly come to accept. But why?
When Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his proposed 2014-2015 budget it included over $500 million in additional spending for private prison contracts, anticipating an additional 10,000 inmates over the next few years.
Any successful system of rehabilitation requires multiple components, ranging from mental health and drug treatment to education and skills training. One aspect that may not be initially obvious, however, is the power of art and theater.
If the federal government recognizes that mandatory minimums are likely inappropriate sentences for nonviolent offenders, perhaps the states will follow suit, developing diversion programs, prison alternatives, and reasonable means for re-entry.