Parlaying the Prison Experience: NuLeadership, a Think Tank Staffed with Formerly Incarcerated Researchers, Lobbies for Ex-Prisoners to Have a Say in Criminal Justice Policymaking
Gray, Katti, Diverse Issues in Higher Education
At the close of almost 25 years of winding through New York state's prisons, former Black Panther Eddie Ellis walked away in 1994 with four college degrees he earned while incarcerated and kept treading is singular path as an activist on the issues of police, courts, crime and punishment. As he had done in prison, he organized felons and former felons. He conducted community workshops, lectured and lobbied. In 2000, before conferees who, except for him, were White criminologists and law enforcement officials, Ellis dared to ask how, given the topics at hand, he was the solitary ex-prisoner and sole Black among the invited analysts.
"None of them, of course, (were) directly related to the Black and Latino communities, the substance-abuse communities, prison communities. So when it was my turn to speak, that had to be the first question I put on the table," says Ellis, 67, founder and executive director of the Center for NuLeadership on Urban Solutions. Housed the last five years at Medgar Evers College, the City University of New York's Brooklyn outpost, NuLeadership was officially christened an academic center by CUNY administrators in December.
NuLeadership, the only think tank of its kind devoted to analyzing and helping rejigger a variegated U.S. system of justice, is staffed full time almost entirely by ex-prisoner researchers.
Its second tier of researchers comprise the NuLeadership Policy Group, a nationwide complement of what its administrators count thus far as 300 ex-prisoners of a certain profile: Each must have been out of prison at least five years. Each has publicly stated the reasons they landed behind bars. Each holds at least a bachelor's degree. Each is an executive in an organization addressing head-on the policymaking aspects of adjudicating crime. Equally to the point, they are helping shape policies surrounding the re-entry of ex-prisoners into nonprison life. Annually, roughly 700,000 people across the country are returning to their home communities of mainly minorities and poor people. NuLeadership and like-minded …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Parlaying the Prison Experience: NuLeadership, a Think Tank Staffed with Formerly Incarcerated Researchers, Lobbies for Ex-Prisoners to Have a Say in Criminal Justice Policymaking. Contributors: Gray, Katti - Author. Magazine title: Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Volume: 27. Issue: 1 Publication date: February 18, 2010. Page number: 7+. © 2008 Cox, Matthews & Associates. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.