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It took “eight tubs of candy and endless cups of coffee” and I presume a whole lot of talent for 14 journalists from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, University of Nebraska and City University London to produce Behind Bars.

It is a multimedia project worth everybody’s time, thought and appreciation.

Behind Bars looks at man angles of the prison experience – Victims, Survivors, Parole Dept. Sweeps, Policing, Racial Segregation, Criminal Justice Law, Three Strikes, Geo-Tagging, Probation, Second Chances.

Behind Bars has 19 videos to view. I picked one out about lifer, Marvin Caldwell, in for 29 years to life for his third strike, a non-capital crime.

Behind Bars is a project of News 21, a national initiative led by 12 of America’s leading research universities with the support of two major foundations to advance the U.S. news business by helping revitalize schools of journalism. Universities integrate the schools of journalism more closely with the entire campus in an effort to better teach, challenge and prepare the next generation of news industry leaders for an increasingly complex world.

Now I know we all struggle to comprehend millions vs. billions for bail-outs, quarterly profits and deficits.

And I know we are all juggling gallons vs. barrels (US and UK measures) and official and industry estimates as the gushers spew out oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico …

… but this next figure is simple and devastating. There are 2.3 million Americans in prison. That is more than 1 in every 100 adults. Think on that figure. Simple graphics such as this one by The Pew Center on the States make it easier.

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Even among my close friends, the penny only dropped this week.


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