#287 College Rehabilitates

Date: Tue, 30 Mar 2004
Subject: #287 College Rehabilitates

COLLEGE REHABILITATES

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DrugSense FOCUS Alert #287 Tue, 30 Mar 2004

The New York Times says it as it is in the editorial
below:

“Researchers Have Discovered and Rediscovered That Inmates Who Earn
College Degrees Tend to Stay Out of Jail.”

Thus your letters to the editor in praise of the editorial, along with
additional supportive facts, will be appreciated.

You may find facts worthy of including in your letters at or linked
from these websites or pages:

http://www.ssdp.org/

http://www.november.org/

http://www.drugwarfacts.org/prison.htm

There is much more you can do to support this issue, if you
will.

Write a LTEs to the papers in your state about this issue. This is a
good example of a topic that may result in a printed letter without
the need to tie it to any other specific item the papers may have printed.

To find your state/local newspapers, go to MAP’s media links page
at:

http://www.mapinc.org/media.htm

Using the ‘List by Area” dropdown find and bring up the list of
newspapers in your state and their LTE contact. Note those with the
higher numbers of Clippings or Excerpts as this tends to indicate a
higher interest by the paper in our issues, and thus should be your
first targets.

Also consider sending them the New York Times editorial and asking the
papers when they will print a similar editorial.

And last, but not least, let your members of congress know about how
you feel about this issue. If you can, visit with the members, or
visit their state/local offices as telling them or their staff
directly always shows a deep concern, stronger than any other message.

You can use the drug policy action center easily to send a message to
Restore Student Financial Aid. Just go to this link, personalize the
message with your own thoughts and facts, and send. It is easy and
fast:

http://actioncenter.drugpolicy.org/action/index.asp?step=2&item=14997

Thanks for your effort and support.

It’s not what others do it’s what YOU do

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PLEASE SEND US A COPY OF YOUR LETTER OR TELL US WHAT YOU DID (Letter,
email messages, etc.)

Please post a copy of your letter or report your action to the sent
letter list (sentlte@mapinc.org) if you are subscribed, or by
E-mailing a copy directly to MGreer@mapinc.org if you are not
subscribed. Your letter will then be forwarded to the list so others
can learn from your efforts and be motivated to follow suit.

This is _Very_ Important as it is one very effective way of gauging
our impact and effectiveness.

Subscribing to the Sent LTE list (sentlte@mapinc.org) will help you to
review other sent LTEs and perhaps come up with new ideas or
approaches as well as keeping others aware of your important writing
efforts.

To subscribe to the Sent LTE mailing list see http://www.mapinc.org/lists/index.htm
and/or http://www.mapinc.org/lists/index.htm#form

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The New York Times EDITORIAL:

Pubdate: Tue, 30 Mar 2004
Source: New York Times (NY)
Copyright: 2004 The New York Times Company
Contact: letters@nytimes.com

OILING THE REVOLVING DOOR

The American prison system will release more than 600,000 prisoners
this year – and half will commit new crimes and be back in prison
three years from now. There is at least one proven way to break the
cycle. Researchers have discovered and rediscovered that inmates who
earn college degrees tend to stay out of jail. But former offenders
have found it increasingly hard to educate themselves and gear up for
productive lives since Congress began to cut them off from federal
education aid in the 1990’s.

Congress may be ready to consider at least a half-step back from that
mistake. Lawmakers may not be prepared to revisit the federal ban that
made convicted felons ineligible for Pell grants, the federal tuition
aid aimed primarily at poor and middle-income students. But the House
of Representatives is at least talking about changing the 1998 law
under which more than 140,000 students have been turned down for
federal student loans because of drug offenses, some of which are
minor and a decade old.

The law was not supposed to work this way. According to Representative
Mark Souder, the Indiana Republican who wrote the measure, it was
aimed only at students who committed drug crimes while receiving
federal loans. But the law has instead been applied to every applicant
with a drug conviction, even if the conviction was so minor as to
carry no jail time, and even if it occurred long before the student
ever envisioned going to college. Mr. Souder has put forth a revised
version of the law that would return to his original intent. That
would be an improvement, but student aid should still not be turned
into a law enforcement weapon, particularly for those convicted of
minor offenses that a court would appropriately dismiss with a fine or
probation. Congress should repeal this law instead of just tinkering
with it. Beyond that, the country needs to back away from all policies
that prevent ex-convicts from attending college, because college is
the one sure way to get them back into the mainstream and keep them
out of jail.

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ADDITIONAL INFO to help you in your letter writing efforts, Please See:

Writer’s Resources http://www.mapinc.org/resource/

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TO SUBSCRIBE, UNSUBSCRIBE, OR UPDATE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS:

Please utilize the following URLs

http://www.drugsense.org/hurry.htm

http://www.drugsense.org/unsub.htm

We wish to thank all our contributors, editors, Newshawks and letter
writing activists.

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Prepared by: Richard Lake, Focus Alert Specialist