One Crisis Away: The Price of Prison | KERA News

One Crisis Away: The Price of Prison

How The Misdemeanor System Intensifies Inequality

Jan 17, 2019
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By definition, misdemeanors are relatively minor crimes. However, the misdemeanor system is so large, it includes a wide spectrum of offenses.

VIDEO: Learning To Become A Businessman Behind Bars

Dec 21, 2018
Kelsey Murrow as he pitches his business plan to visiting business executives at Sanders Estes Unit State Prison in Venus, Texas.
Screenshot of video by Thorn Anderson

Watch Kelsey Murrow as he completes nine months of business training with the Prison Entrepreneurship Program at Sanders Estes Unit State Prison in Venus, Texas, preparing for his release from incarceration.

MICHAEL COGHLAN / FLICKR

Brick-and-mortar debtors’ prisons were once common in the United States, locked institutions where people were sent to work off unpaid debts. 

Allison V. Smith / KERA News Special Contributor

When John Creuzot takes office in January as Dallas County district attorney, he promises to usher in a new era of prosecution.

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The recognition of a wrongful conviction is meant to fix an injustice, but it also creates upheaval in the lives of the accused and the victims.

Christopher Scott, wrongfully convicted of murder in Dallas, was exonerated in 2009. He spent 12 years in prison.
Allison V. Smith

The statistics are startling: If you’re a black man in America, you’re five times as likely to go to state prison as a white man. Latinos and African Americans make up one-third of the U.S. population; they make up two-thirds of the prison population.

You can’t talk about incarceration without talking about race. Christopher Scott knows that too well.

Chainnaron Soeurn at Hutchins State Jail on Aug. 15, 2018.
Thorne Anderson

A lot of people see prison as the last resort — the ultimate thing to avoid. Then there's Chainnaron Soeurn. After he was released, the struggle to pay the costs of probation was so tough that he chose to go back behind bars.

Stanley Walington, 38, with his girlfriend Lynette Sherman, 24, and their children Honesty, 1; Promiss, 3; and Stanley Jr., 2; in their apartment in Fort Worth. Walington was recently released from Buster Cole State Jail in Bonham, Texas.
Allison V. Smith

Calculating the exact cost of time behind bars is almost impossible. The meter starts running at the moment of arrest, and doesn’t stop after someone’s released. From lawyer fees to jail calls to probation, going away is expensive. Just ask 37-year-old Stanley Walington, a father of five.