One of every hundred citizens of the United States of America is behind bars -- the highest incarceration rate in the world. in 2010, our military budget of $688 billion (as reported by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Military Expenditure Database for 2010) was greater than the combined military budgets of the next 20 countries in the world's top 21. Two illustrations of why the United States of America ranks 82 out of 153 countries in the Global Peace Index.
But there are signs of hope. One in particular, a light shining from behind prison walls, had me moved and mesmerized last night.
The PBS News Hour aired a piece last night (July 26) about B.A.s and post-graduate degrees being offered by Bard College to and enthusiastically pursued by hardened felons in five maximum security prisons in New York state. The News Hour's website summarizes the story as follows:
What college is tougher to get into than Harvard, Princeton or Yale? Bard College. Not the campus in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., but the one behind bars in five Empire State prisons. The privately funded Bard Prison Initiative is putting convicts through a rigorous B.A. program that would challenge even the smartest Ivy Leaguers.You can read the transcript of the story and watch the video here.