incarceration

Calvin Manny Hills and his oldest sister, Johnnie Mae Hills Sylve, get together for a Father's Day party.
Cheryl Gerber / Unprisoned

In nearly every state, prison populations have exploded -- in large part, because of drug laws and the people, like Manny Hills, who are arrested and incarcerated for those laws. Over the last 25 years, Manny, an addict, has been convicted several times for drug possession and other petty crimes. His story is pretty typical of the people who fill up our nation's prisons.

15-year-old Jewel Williams, in Sunny Summer's third period English class at Sci High.
Cheryl Gerber / Unprisoned

Over the last forty years, as incarceration has surged across the nation, so has the number of children with a family member in prison. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the number of young people with a father in prison rose 500 percent between 1980 and 2000.


Courtesy of The First 72+

The First 72+ seeks to stop the cycle of incarceration by fostering independence and self-sustainability.

 

Imagine you've just spent years, maybe decades, incarcerated. You’ve paid your debt to society, and upon release, you're given a bus ticket and $10. But, that’s not $10 cash. It’s a $10 check that you can’t immediately cash because more than likely you don’t have a social security card, a state ID, a bank account, transportation, or family to help you out.

 

Sheila Phipps at the Unprisoned and Bring Your Own storytelling event held March 2.
Claire Bangser / Unprisoned

What do you do when a member of your family is locked up for a crime you are sure he didn’t commit? Sheila Phipps paints.

WWNO and producer Eve Abrams have launched Unprisoned: Stories From the System, a project exploring criminal justice and corrections in New Orleans, the most incarcerated place in the world.

Abrams sat down with News Director Eve Troeh to explain how people outside of prisons are being affected as profoundly as the people who are incarcerated.

President Barack Obama is visiting Louisiana Tuesday in support of issues he highlighted in his final State of the Union Address. One area with bipartisan support for change is in criminal justice reform – an issue he recently reviewed at the White House with a former New Orleans police chief.

Whether public defenders are funded by the state, county, city or some combination thereof, governments across the country are sacrificing lawyers for the poor and putting the constitutionally guaranteed right to counsel at risk.