WELCOME TO THE ZOO | Guantanamo Bay

With an open mind and two sides of the story, you’re bound to learn something new. Welcome to the zoo! This is a blog where both the Republican and Democrat viewpoints are represented. The blog is not meant to sway you either way necessarily, just present both sides of the story. You may not agree with the whole article, but hey, you’re likely to agree with half!

MALPASS | America’s Prison Problem

There are plenty of pressing issues at hand — the environment, our foreign policy regarding the Middle East and the economy to name a few. We hear these topics covered in the presidential candidate debates nonstop and as important as they are, they can draw attention away from other issues important to this country, specifically our broken justice system. There is plenty to be said on this issue — I’d say its most pressing concern is racial bias — but I would like to discuss another worrying trend in our justice system: the increasing privatization of our prison system. Privatizing prisons does nothing for us in the long run. I don’t care what you think the point of prisons are (be it to punish the guilty, or rehabilitate them back into society), when the system becomes private, prisoners begin to become a financial bottom line.

Cornell Prison Education Program Receives $1 Million

The Cornell Prison Education Program received a $1 million grant from The Mellon Foundation on Thursday, which will allow the program to double its presence in central New York correctional facilities, according to Rob Scott, executive director of CPEP. “We offer more than 30 courses right now with over 100 students within prison walls,” Scott said. “With this grant, we’ll jump to over 60 classes a year and probably more than 200 students once it’s fully implemented.”
The program currently offers courses taught by Cornell faculty and graduate students at Auburn Correctional Facility and Cayuga Correctional Facility. So far, CPEP has held two commencement ceremonies — the first in 2012 and the most recent in 2014 — and conferred more than 15 associate degrees to inmates each time. The grant money will enable CPEP to expand its services to Five Points Correctional Facility and Elmira Correctional Facility.

BROMER | Our Incarceration Nation


Hello, massive and fervent column audience: I know you’re probably all here expecting me to talk about something fun, like the politics of feline hook-up culture or the secret world of Insane Clown Posse slash fiction. Today, though, I decided to take a relatively brief diversion into a topic that’s, well, a wee bit serious. So tune in next week if you’re looking for something smile- rather than frown inducing. With that out of the way …

In the middle of the 18th century, Charles Dickens visited the United States, and while in Philadelphia, encountered the Eastern State Penitentiary. Dickens was shocked and appalled by the conditions of a prison known for its focus on rehabilitation.

Zambian Editorial Board Faces Prison Time for Prof’s Editorial

The editorial board of a major Zambian newspaper will be facing up to six months in prison as a result of a column written by a Cornell Professor in defense of the paper’s imprisoned editor.
On Aug. 27, Prof. Muna Ndulo, law, director of the Institute for African Development, wrote a column in The Zambia Post, the primary opposition newspaper in Zambia, criticizing the government’s arrest of that newspaper’s editor, Chansa Kabwela, on charges of distributing obscene materials.