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Archive for January, 2015

Just a Taste

Title: Just a Taste

Author: Shannyn Schroeder

Publisher: Lyrical Press

Pages: 259

Genre: Romance

Format: Paperback/Kindle

Grief has brought them together again—will love open the door to their future? When it’s an O’Leary in the picture, finding out is just part of the adventure…

Carmen Delgado is left reeling when her father dies. Taking care of him has been her sole purpose for so long, she’s forgotten what it’s like to have dreams of her own. And with steady, sexy Liam O’Leary inheriting a share in her dad’s successful food truck, Carmen is suddenly free to explore her life’s possibilities. She never expected Liam to provide the kind of temptation she’s not sure she can resist…

A talented chef, Liam O’Leary has been itching to open his own restaurant for years—and the death of his mentor is a reminder that time passes too quickly. Gus’s Taco Taxi isn’t exactly what he dreamed of, but he can’t desert Gus’s daughter. Working side by side is an unexpected pleasure—and grownup Carmen is alluring in all new ways. Is love on the menu—or will old fears and insecurities drive them apart?

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Shannyn is a former English teacher, who now works as a part-time editor while raising her three kids.

Even though she wrote from high school through college (mostly poetry), she’d never considered a career as an author. Writing fell by the wayside as she focused her energy on creating lesson plans and new and fabulous ways to torment her teen students. One group in particular dubbed her “The Torture Master,” a title she carried into motherhood.

After the birth of baby number two, Shannyn resigned from teaching and fell in love with reading romance novels. She read so many books so quickly that her husband teased, “If you’re going to read so many damn books, why don’t you just write one?”

So she did.

That first book is safely buried on her hard drive, but the process set Shannyn on the path to where she is today—agented with a debut ebook coming out with Kensington in late 2012.

She is recovering from her Diet Coke addiction, fears putting her foot in her mouth on social media, and has a renewed appreciation for the bad girls of the world.

Shannyn is represented by Frances Black and Jennifer Mishler of Literary Counsel.

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Visit Shannyn’s website.



Connect with Shannyn on Twitter , Goodreads and Facebook 

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Title: Suicide Forest
Author: Jeremy Bates
Publisher: Ghillinnein Books
Pages: 350
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Format: Paperback/Kindle
 Just outside of Tokyo lies Aokigahara, a vast forest and one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in Japan…and also the most infamous spot to commit suicide in the world. Legend has it that the spirits of those many suicides are still roaming, haunting deep in the ancient woods.
When bad weather prevents a group of friends from climbing neighboring Mt. Fuji, they decide to spend the night camping in Aokigahara. But they get more than they bargained for when one of them is found hanged in the morning—and they realize there might be some truth to the legends after all.
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  • Suicide Forest is available at Amazon

Jeremy Bates is the author of the #1 Amazon bestseller White Lies, which was nominated for the 2012 Foreword Book of the Year Award. He has spent the last ten years traveling the world, visiting more than thirty countries. He has lived in Canada, the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines. Bates is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a degree in English literature and philosophy. He is an active member of Horror Writers Association, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Inc., and Crime Writers of Canada.

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The City Beneath


Title
: The City Beneath (The Night Blood Series)
Author: Melody Johnson
Publisher: Kensington Books

As a journalist, Cassidy DiRocco thought she had seen every depraved thing New York City’s underbelly had to offer. But while covering what appears to be a vicious animal attack, she finds herself drawn into a world she never knew existed. Her exposé makes her the target of the handsome yet brutal Dominic Lysander, the Master Vampire of New York City, who has no problem silencing her to keep his coven’s secrets safe…

But Dominic offers Cassidy another option: ally. He reveals she is a night blood, a being with powers of her own, including the ability to become a vampire. As the body count escalates, Cassidy is caught in the middle of a vampire rebellion. Dominic insists she can help him stop the coming war, but wary of his intentions, Cassidy enlists the help of the charming Ian Walker, a fellow night blood. As the battle between vampires takes over the city, Cassidy will have to tap into her newfound powers and decide where to place her trust…

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  • The City Beneath is available at Amazon


Melody JohnsonMelody Johnson
 is the author of the Night Blood series. She graduated magna cum laude from Lycoming College with her B.A. in creative writing and psychology. While still earning her degree, she worked as an editing intern for Wahida Clark Presents Publishing. She was a copyeditor for several novels, including Cheetah by Missy Jackson; Trust No Man II by Cash; and Karma with a Vengeance by Tash Hawthorne. Book #1 of the Night Blood series, The City Beneath, is her debut novel. When she isn’t writing, Melody can be found hiking the many woodsy trails in her Pennsylvania hometown or sunning and swimming at the beach. You can learn more about Melody and her work at elodymay.blog.comFacebook and Twitter.

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Huckleberry Spring Banner

Huckleberry SpringTitle: Huckleberry Spring
Author: Jennifer Beckstrand
Publisher: Zebra Books
Pages: 352
Genre: Amish Romance
Format: Paperback/Kindle

“Readers will treasure this series.” –RT Book Reviews
Nothing gives Anna and Felty Helmuth greater satisfaction than seeing their grandchildren happily married–except for planning their next matchmaking venture. And as springtime comes to Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, the air is filled with promise. . .

Ever since the Helmuths’ grandson, Ben, abruptly broke his engagement and moved to Florida, Emma Nelson has kept busy tending her vegetable garden and raising award-winning pumpkins. She can put her heartache aside to help Ben’s Mammi with her own pumpkin patch. At least until Ben shows up to lend support to his ailing Dawdi. . .

Gardening side by side with pretty, nurturing Emma is a sweet kind of torture for Ben. She could have her pick of suitors who can offer what he can’t, and he cares too much to burden her with his secret. Leaving once more is the only option. Yet Emma’s courage is daring him to accept the grace that flourishes here, and the love that has been calling him back to Huckleberry Hill. . .

Praise for Jennifer Beckstrand’s Huckleberry Hill

“A delightful cast of characters in a story that overflows with Amish love and laughter.” –Charlotte Hubbard

“A warm romance with two likable main characters and ultimately a great ending for all.” –Parkersburg News & Sentinel

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I grew up with a steady diet of William Shakespeare and Jane Austen. After all that literary immersion, I naturally decided to get a degree in mathematics, which came in handy when one of my six children needed help with homework. After my fourth daughter was born, I started writing. By juggling diaper changes, soccer games, music lessons, laundry, and two more children, I finished my first manuscript—a Western—in just under fourteen years.

I have always been fascinated by the Amish way of life and now write Inspirational Amish Romance. I am drawn to the strong faith of the Plain people and admire the importance they put on enduring family ties. I have visited and studied Amish communities in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin where I met with a bishop and a minister as well as several Amish mamms, dats, and children. It has always impressed me at what salt-of-the-earth people they are. My interactions with these kind people have been some of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I have a dear Amish friend with whom I correspond in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She helps me keep my facts straight and gives me inspiration for my stories.

My goal is to write uplifting, inspiring stories with happy endings and hopeful messages. If my books make readers want to give themselves a big hug or jump up and down for joy, I’ve done my job. I am a member of Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers and am represented by Mary Sue Seymour of The Seymour Agency.

There are three Amish romances in the Forever After in Apple Lake Series (Summerside/Guideposts). Kate’s Song, Rebecca’s Rose, and Miriam’s Quilt are all now available.

I have six Amish Roamish buggymances in the works with Kensington Books. The first and second books, Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Summer, are now available in stores and online. The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill is set in northern Wisconsin Amish country.

The series, The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill, is about an elderly Amish couple who try to find suitable mates for their grandchildren. What could be more fun than throwing two young people together to see if sparks ignite? No one would ever suspect two octogenarian Amish folks of mischief.

Romantic Times gave Huckleberry Hill 4 1/2 stars and chose Huckleberry Summer as a TOP PICK.

I have four daughters, two sons, three sons-in-law, and two adorable grandsons. I live in the foothills of the Wasatch Front with my husband and one son still left at home.

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Rarity Title: Rarity

Author: D.A. Roach

Publisher: Amazon Digital

Pages: 197

Genre: Young Adult

Format: Paperback/Kindle

It’s her junior year at Stanton High. Brogen, an empathic teen, is looking forward to another uneventful year with her buddy Meg at her side. Meg and Brogen are not in the in-crowd, actually, they aren’t in any crowd. They are content keeping a low profile and doing their own thing.

But the first day of school brings Becca, the blonde babe, and Jay, the charismatic guy who doesn’t fit any stereotype. These two new students pull Brogen out of her comfort zone and into a new social situation. And with the good parts of this new situation…comes the bad.

Becca is attracted to Jay and is prepared to stomp on the competition when it comes to making Jay her boyfriend. Brogen wants no part of any high school drama, but life…or fate keeps putting Jay and Brogen on a path together. This puts a target on Brogen’s back and she’s not sure Jay is worth the wrath of Becca.

As they journey through their school year, several life changing events alter the relationship between Jay and Brogen. But the question remains, should they give in to fate and give love a chance? Or fight it and take the easy road?
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D.A. Roach lives in the midwest with her 3 kids and husband.  In her free time she enjoys reading, writing, music, and art.  She has had a diverse job list including teacher, pharmacist, and factory worker.  Her life is rich with vivid characters and stories and she enjoys taking inspiration from these characters and tales to create new stories.
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Crystal LotusTitle: Crystal Lotus
Author: Jinna Van Vliet
Publisher: Xlibris
Pages: 129
Genre: Biography/Autobiography
Format: Ebook

Purchase at AMAZON

The Harmonic convergence in 1987 launched the awakening of the Mass Consciousness into the realization that human consciousness is rising into a higher frequency. Coined as the Big Shift it created many guidelines to help with this transition process. Crystal Lotus is just one such guide gifted to us by the Divine Feminine Creator Energy through one of her Aspects, the Goddess Quan Yin.

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 Could you please tell us a little about your book?

Crystal Lotus was written as a guide book to help anyone who wishes to walk the path towards transformation and enlightenment.

Who or what is the inspiration behind this book?

My own spiritual awakening inspired me to write the book.

What cause are you most passionate about and why?

I am passionate about helping others walk the path of healing because in healing myself I have gained the understanding that we are all part of one family.

Do you have any rituals you follow when you finish a piece of work?

Nothing specific except to celebrate with friends.

Who has influenced you throughout your writing career?

Many other authors and Spiritual Masters.

What are some of your long term goals?

My intent is to continue to walk the Goddess path the best way I know and to be of service to those who wish to travel the path as well.

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Hope For a Better World

Title: Hope for a Better World

Author: Monique Mitchell

Publisher: iUniverse

Pages: 244

Genre: Biography/Autobiography

Format: Ebook/Paperback

Purchase at AMAZON

The book is basically my memoir; however, there are some fictitious characters but all is based on real events.

Flashback to my childhood in Madagascar: country with a fascinating history and a unique population, with ethnic characteristics in my own family.

Recollecting past personal tragedies in childhood and situating myself in the present where loving people( my family and church friends) are surrounding me, motivating me to be a good person and see life in a happy perspective. In particular, feeling as a great privilege to be part of the melting pot in the USA.

Recollection of the life at the Faculty of Medicine (Angers), France and the following years in Paris, graduating in social studies. Identifying the influence of the French culture as a pivotal factor in my life and grateful to Bon Papa (grandfather)who, by becoming a naturalized French citizen enabled his descendants to benefit from their French education, while identifying their difference and /or alienation, could also choose individually, how to find a balance between a dual culture they were./are exposed to (their own native and the acquired one).

An interesting trip to the Champagne region through the wine road and to the east of France (Alsace), rich in war (WWI) memories. And there also, exhilarating history about the Statute of Liberty: designed and constructed (before being brought to the USA) by the French architect, Frédéric August Bartholdi.

Marriage to an American business man and birth of son in 1965 but early on, had to raise her child as a single mother due insurmountable challenges in the marriage.

Worked for 20years for the UN in 9 countries in Africa and Asia, all called hardship posts, including those for peace-keeping missions located in politically challenged and/or war-torn countries. For each country, there is a description, besides my administrative work, of history, culture, population etc…

Farewell trip to Madagascar visiting the tomb of my grand parents with great sadness, fond memories and gratefulness for having raised me as a Christian child with the moral values I still carry with me at this day. Joining my American family on a permanent basis to be with my beloved son.

Birth of granddaughter, Jade, who is now a teenager and praying for all members of my family to be blessed by God in the country where I am now conveying my message for love and tolerance in my book “Hope For a Better Work”.

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Born in Madagascar and now living in the USA where I joined my family following a long search for what the Creator of the Universe meant me to be, and that search is now well defined. It started to emerge gradually from my childhood and my adolescent years in France, and became more discerning during my 20 years as a UN staff member in various countries of Africa and Asia.

As a result of that search, I wrote a book in order to convey the well defined message from the “We the peoples” of the UN Charter: peoples are different, have differences, but all should “hope for a better world”,with love and tolerance.

Monique is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

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Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Amazon Gift Certificate or Paypal Cash.
  • This giveaway begins December 8 and ends on December 19.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on Monday, December 22.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!

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Plug Your Book!

Front Cover hi resTitle: Fantastical: Tales of Bears, Beer and Hemophilia

Genre: Memoir

Author: Marija Bulatovic

Website: www.fantasticalbook.com

Publisher: SOL LLC

Purchase on Amazon.

SUMMARY:

It’s been said that the truth is stranger than fiction.  Marija Bulatovic’s dazzling debut, Fantastical: Tales of Bears, Beer and Hemophilia, certainly underscores that adage.  Fantastical, Bulatovic’s reflections on her Yugoslavian childhood, is a mesmerizing memoir that takes readers on a wild and unforgettable tour of a country that has vanished from the map, but lives on in this lively collection.

With a pitch perfect voice, and a keen eye for capturing the absurd, the outrageous, the hilarious, the touching, and the sublime, Bulatovic weaves a rich tapestry.  Bears, gypsies, quirky family members, foiled plans, unusual and unorthodox neighbors, Fantastical has it all.  Lovingly told with an unmistakable fondness and deep affection, Fantastical is resplendent with humor, magic, and whimsy.

In this…

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Marija Bulatovic 2014Born in Yugoslavia in the 1970s, Marija Bulatovic, along with her parents, immigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s just ahead of the 1990s Yugoslav wars and the breakup of the country.  An accomplished business professional with years of experience driving enterprise business with Fortune 500 companies, Bulatovic graduated from Colgate University. Marija Bulatovic lives in Seattle with her husband and son.

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Q: Congratulations on the release of your latest book, FANTASTICAL: Tales of Bears, Beer and Haemophilia. What was your inspiration for it?

A: My inspiration for writing FANTASTICAL: Tales of Bears, Beer and Haemophilia was to provide amusement, lift spirits from the mundane set of activities and transport readers to another place and time, fantastical in my memory, that has vanished from the map but not the mind.

My goal was also to tell stories about 1980s Yugoslavia, this beautiful country and time that was magical and very special to those of us who had the opportunity to be touched by the richness of its people, culture, its Slavic soul that embraces melancholy with a twinkle in the eye.

Q: Tell us something interesting about your protagonist. 

A: The protagonist in FANTASTICAL is me as a young child and the 13 stories describe episodes in my life in the 1980s Yugoslavia.  It’s the world recounted from memory and seen through the eyes of a child.  It’s filled with curiosity, typical misbehavior of children, and mystery of growing up.

Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

A: The writing process was easy and enjoyable as all the stories in FANTASTICAL are personal to me.  The writing itself took about a month, as I had a goal of writing a story a day for 25 days.  The entire process of publishing FANTASTICAL took much longer-2 years.

Front Cover hi resWhile there were no real bumps along the way, there was a lot of learning, especially as I self-published FANTASTICAL.  Self-publishing is enormously labor and time intensive, but also very rewarding and profitable, assuming one is able to make investments to get the book to the finish line.

Q: How do you keep your narrative exciting? 

A: FANTASTICAL is a deeply personal work for me and I was just excited to be up every day and writing another story that I felt so deeply connected to.  I was also excited about sharing these stories with the broader audience and sharing the magic of this bygone era with my readers.

Q: Do you experience anxiety before sitting down to write? If yes, how do you handle it? 

A: I didn’t but I understand it’s very common.

Q: What is your writing schedule like and how do you balance it with your other work and family time?

A: Since I was so excited to pen my stories and share them with the broader audience, I had a personal goal of writing a story a day for 25 days.  The actual writing took place during my baby’s naps while the house was quiet and there were no distractions.

However, most of the envisioning of FANTASTICAL came during night feedings, while I was nursing my baby.

Q: How do you define success?

A: I already feel that I’ve been successful with this book project-FANTASTICAL is published and available for readers to enjoy it.  That is very satisfying and rewarding to me.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?

A: First, I’m sorry you are experiencing lack of support for something that is very important to you.  While domestic harmony is important too, following one’s own professional path is important to one’s happiness and fulfillment which positively impact those around you.  To foster this virtuous cycle, find out why your family is not supportive of you becoming an author.  What in specific is the problem?  Perhaps it’s just 1 or 2 assumptions which I’m sure you can work to clarify and move beyond. Good luck!

Q: George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Do you agree?

A: No, I had a very enjoyable and enriching process!

Q:  Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

A: Thank you for your interest in FANTASTICAL and hope your readers and enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed writing it!

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Title: College for Convicts: The Case for Higher Education in American Prisons
Author: Christopher Zoukis
Publisher: McFarland and Company
Pages: 300
Genre: Social Sciences/Education

Purchase at AMAZON

Provide education to prisoners and they won’t return to crime. America accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population, yet incarcerates about 25 percent of the world’s prisoners with about 2.3 million men and women in U.S. facilities. Examining a wealth of studies by researchers and correctional professionals, and the experience of educators, this book finds an irrefutable conclusion: the likelihood of an undereducated prisoner returning to crime is high, but recidivism rates drop in direct correlation with the amount of education prisoners receive, and the rate drops dramatically with each additional level of education attained.

Presenting a workable solution to America’s over incarceration and recidivism problems, this book demonstrates that great fiscal benefits arise when modest sums are spent educating prisoners, instead of dedicating exponentially higher resources to confining them. Educating prisoners brings a reduction in crime and social disruption, reduced domestic spending and a rise in quality of life.

Book Excerpt:

Hundreds of articles and studies about prison education, and many papers presented at academic and professional conferences, almost all come to the same conclusions:

  • Prison education reduces crime,
  • Prison education reduces recidivism, and
  • Prison education will make an enormously positive impact on our national economy.

This is an idea that evokes a lot of controversy, because most people are more concerned with educating their own children than educating prisoners. And the idea of providing post-secondary education in prisons is a hard sell because most of the public is unaware of how it can impact our economy and the safety of our communities.

Let’s understand from the start: the concept of educating prisoners is not a “bleeding-heart, humanitarian, feel-good-for-the-imprisoned” kind of cause. On the contrary, it is an issue with huge impact upon the economic stability of our country, the protection of our communities, and a higher quality of life for law-abiding citizens.

Consider this: the US accounts for only 5% of the world’s population, but it holds 25% of the entire world’s prisoners. There is something wrong with this picture. With our prison population now at 2.3 million, we, as a nation, incarcerate far more people per capita than any other country in the world – almost double the next closest nation. Our state and federal prison population has increased almost ten-fold since 1970 and this explosive growth not only creates an untenable financial burden for state and national budgets, but also creates an impossible situation for our judiciary overburdened by high recidivism rates. In some states, like California, prisons are so overcrowded that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the state had to reduce their prisoner population by tens of thousands because the state’s system was “incompatible with the concept of human dignity”.

The growth rate in federal prisons is even worse than that of the states. While state prison populations dropped in 2009 and 2010, federal prisons are bursting at the seams, and federal prison budgets are increasing by 10% a year to accommodate the ever-growing prison population. Lawmakers are calling for the creation of a second federal “supermax” similar to “the notorious Florence ADX in Colorado – a place where solitary confinement has been raised to a torturous art, and prisoners seldom, if ever, see another human being. Conditions at this ‘Alcatraz of the Rockies’ are so harsh that the European Court of Human Rights initially refused to extradite terrorism suspects to the United States lest they end up in ADX”.

Hundreds of studies and all the research in the field of criminology affirm that prison education is the least expensive and most effective solution to overcrowding and strain on the budget caused by recidivism. Nevertheless, despite overwhelming evidence, policy makers and the general public still do not support funding post-secondary higher education in prisons. Year after year, even the most basic correctional educational programs are further reduced. Computers are not allowed. The result? Increased prisoner unrest and violence, and even more money spent for additional security.

Today, higher education for prisoners is almost non-existent. And, as we shall see, our failure to invest in opportunities for correctional college education weakens the very fabric of our society. With proper implementation, the impact of prison education can be enormous – not just on prisoners, but on our entire society and our nation’s prosperity. Let us hope that greater understanding will result in wise legislative action for our common good.

“In response to the American public’s growing fear of crime and the call for more punitive measures…, many legislators and policymakers have promoted building more prisons, enacting harsher sentencing legislation, and eliminating various programs inside prisons and jails. But more than half these prisoners are in on drug charges and another 10% on immigration violations, so that more than 72% of our incarcerated population are offenders with no history of violence. With re-arrest rates averaging around 67% to 80%, it is clear that incarceration alone is not working”.

In the opinion of Chief Justice William Ray Price of the Supreme Court of Missouri, “We may have been tough on crime, but we have not been smart on crime.” He noted further, “For years we have waged a ‘war on drugs,’ enacted ‘three strikes and you’re out’ sentencing laws, and thrown away the key to be tough on crime. What we did not do was check to see how much it costs, or whether we were winning or losing. In fact, it has cost us billions of dollars and we have just as much crime now as we did when we started.”

Despite all the studies that confirm society and the nation as a whole will reap significant benefits, the idea of providing post-secondary education in prisons is a hard sell. The public appears to have a visceral, but understandable, reaction against the idea of higher education for prisoners. Why, people ask, should Americans pay to provide a college education for prisoners when so many law-abiding, tax-paying citizens struggle to send themselves or their children to school? It doesn’t seem fair. Honest people have to pay to receive an education; why should prisoners get it for free?

And besides, say some of the opponents to correctional education, if we provide a learning environment for prisoners, perhaps prison will seem less terrible and serve as a less effective deterrent to crime. However, the deterrent argument fails, because people do not decide whether or not to commit a crime based on the program opportunities available if they are caught and sent to prison.

Others believe that people who commit a crime have chosen to limit their opportunities and freedoms, including access to valuable privileges like education. Therefore, handing it free to people who break the law feels wrong, feels like a slap in the face of justice.

These are legitimate concerns, but there are strong, legitimate solutions.

Make no mistake. Despite the fact that I am a prisoner myself, I do not dispute the concept of getting tough on crime. I do not advocate creating a cushy environment for prisoners. And I certainly do not propose taking privileges from deserving, hard-working people to pamper prisoners. That is not what educating prisoners is about.

So why, then, should we care about educating prisoners, educating people who didn’t care about the victims they hurt, the communities they impoverished, and the society they endangered?

We care, very simply, because they get out. Almost everyone who is locked up now is going to be set free one day. If we treat prisoners like animals the whole time they’re locked up, that’s what we’ll get when they’re back on the streets: wild, dangerous animals. But if we educate these people, give them some positive reinforcement, and introduce the idea that they’ll have something to offer society when they return to their communities, that’s what we’ll get when they are free: people who have something to offer society.”

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