Rennett Stowe / Creative Commons

Young people coming out of college today have a strong desire to do good in the world, but it’s not easy to find jobs with a social purpose. Instead, many are starting their own businesses, combining an entrepreneurial spirit with a social mission.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut has received national attention for juvenile justice reforms, like its efforts to reduce the number of kids in the system. But advocates say a black eye remains.

For years, critics of the Connecticut Juvenile Training School have called on lawmakers to close the facility for delinquent boys, saying youth -- especially with a history of trauma -- aren't being helped. 

George Chochos.

Lawmakers in Washington are considering federal criminal justice reform legislation, as some 6,000 inmates are released nationwide, part of the largest one-time release of federal prisoners in U.S. history.

An ex-offender from Connecticut is in Washington, DC today to tell his story as part of Senate and House briefings with faith leaders.

When you’re on vacation or in an unfamiliar part of town looking for something to eat, you might look up restaurant reviews on Yelp to help narrow your choices. But now, prisoners across the country are also gravitating toward the platform and describing their experiences in jail. Review platforms like Yelp have become an unexpected online space for people to make the prison system more transparent while simultaneously fulfilling a personal and therapeutic void.

Connecticut has received six federal grants totaling more than $2 million in support of efforts to reduce recidivism and better reintegrate nonviolent offenders after they are released from the criminal justice system.

fergregory/iStock / Thinkstock

The state of Connecticut has received $2.3 million in grants for programs aimed at reducing recidivism and giving ex-offenders better opportunities to restart their lives.

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in a case that could determine the fate of more than 2,000 convicted juvenile murderers.

In 2012, the high court struck down as unconstitutional state laws that mandated an automatic sentence of life without any possibility of parole in these cases. The question now is whether that decision applies retroactively.

Todd Lapin / Creative Commons

Inmates from Connecticut are among those expected to be released from federal prisons at the end of October, part of the largest one-time release of federal prisoners in the nation's history. 

Karen Brown / NEPR

In the fall of 2013, Mark Schand walked out of court in Springfield, Massachusetts a free man, after 27 years in prison for a murder he said he did not commit.

A former prison worker who helped two convicted murders escape from a maximum-security prison in upstate New York was sentenced Monday to up to seven years behind bars.

Under the terms of a plea deal, Joyce Mitchell, 51, faces a minimum sentence of 2 years and 4 months in prison. She pleaded guilty to charges stemming from her role in providing convicted killers Richard Matt and David Sweat with tools such as hacksaws, drill bits and lighted eyeglasses ahead of their June 6 prison break.

Office of the State Child Advocate

Connecticut's Office of the Child Advocate has released a follow up to their July report on conditions at the state's two juvenile detention centers. 

Kuzma/iStock / Thinkstock

A Connecticut man who spent more than 12 years in prison for a crime it was determined he did not commit has been awarded $4 million by the state.

Lawrence Miller Jr., who now lives in Branford, received the funds under a state law that established a mechanism to compensate those who file claims of wrongful incarceration and can validate their cases.

Wikimedia / Creative Commons

The state's top prosecutor wants the Connecticut Supreme Court to reconsider its recent landmark decision to completely eliminate the death penalty in the state. The Connecticut Law Tribune reports that Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane has filed a motion for argument and motions to strike the 4-3 decision, which was handed down in August.

A new report from Yale Law School looks at solitary confinement in the U.S. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

A few miles down the road from the University of Connecticut campus in Mansfield, Connecticut, an abandoned prison sits empty. It's shrouded from public view by a fence of vines and razor wire. 

First in a three-part report on solitary confinement use in U.S. prisons.

In the yard at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, gray-haired men make their way up to a small stage. A towering stone prison wall rises overhead. One by one they sit at a scratchy microphone and tell their stories — of being locked up 23 hours a day in a place that just about broke them.

"This place here really did something to me psychologically," says former inmate Anthony Goodman.

John Phelan / Creative Commons

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in favor of a full repeal of the state's death penalty on Thursday.

The decision comes more than three years after a repeal of the death penalty for crimes committed after the law was enacted. It means that eleven people currently on death row in the state will be spared execution.

Susan Meiselas/Three Guineas Fund Project

A collaborative art installation created by ten women incarcerated at the York Correctional Institution in Niantic is now on view at the Brooklyn Museum. 

CTN screenshot

The first two years of high school were a breeze for Ibrahim Adetona. But he started to struggle during his junior year, and he was eventually suspended from school for 10 days. After that, his struggles got worse.

Chion Wolf

  Our guest this hour, DCF Commissioner Joette Katz, was at the center of a public hearing this week at the state capitol in the wake of two reports critical of the state’s juvenile detention facilities.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Connecticut General Assembly’s Committee on Children met on Wednesday to learn more about the conditions at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School for boys and the nearby Pueblo Unit for girls. 

The Obama administration Friday is taking a small step toward expanding adult prisoners' access to federal Pell grants. The money would help pay for college-level classes behind bars.

It's an old and controversial question: Should federal Pell grants be used to help prisoners pay for college?

Tomorrow, at a prison in Jessup, Md., Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch are expected to unveil a program to do just that. The new plan would create a limited pilot program allowing some students in prison to use Pell grants to pay for college classes.

The key word there is "limited" — because there's only so much the administration can do. To understand why, we have to go back to November 1993.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Earlier this week, the state Department of Children and Families took emergency steps to protect children incarcerated at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School and the Pueblo Girls Unit, including the phase out of face-down and mechanical restraints, expanded clinical staffing, and required counseling sessions when a youth is in isolation.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A new report by the state Office of the Child Advocate reveals dangerous safety issues for children incarcerated at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School and the Pueblo Girls Unit.

"What are we trying to accomplish for these youth, and can you really accomplish meaningful treatment, meaningful trauma-informed treatment, in a juvenile prison?" asked Connecticut's Child Advocate Sarah Eagan.

After David Sweat was captured — three weeks into his escape — police spoke to him while he was still recovering in a hospital bed.

Jonas Dahlbert

In 2011, Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in Norway, most of them teenagers. He's serving a 21-year prison term, which can be extended. But in the meantime, he'll study political science at Oslo University from his prison cell. 

Thomas Hawk / Creative Commons

Gov. Dannel Malloy told Connecticut inmates about a new state law that attempts to give nonviolent criminals more opportunities to get drug treatment and successfully reintegrate back into society.

President Obama has made incarceration reform a White House theme this week. On Monday, he commuted the sentences of 46 mostly nonviolent drug offenders; and on Tuesday, he spoke about reducing the prison population in a speech to the NAACP.

"The United States is home to 5 percent of the world's population but 25 percent of the world's prisoners," Obama said. "Think about that. Our incarceration rate is four times higher than China's."

George Chochos

Back in 1990, there were more than 300 college-in-prison programs in the U.S. By 1997, the number was down to less than ten -- eliminated as part of the nation’s movement to get "tough on crime."