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Hear more from Pete about what you will learn from the “Biggest Lie Ever Told” on October 9th

Post-Prison Education Program asked Pete Earley for six take-away points you will gain from the October 9th Town Hall. Here are a few of those points :

1. What sort of seriously mentally ill individuals are ending up in our jails and prisons, which have become the largest caretakers of individuals with serious mental illnesses.

2. Why jails and prisons are inappropriate places for persons with serious mental illnesses who have committed crimes directly linked to those illnesses.

3. How progressive cities, including Seattle, have created jail diversion and other successful programs to divert sick persons out of incarceration and into treatment, saving tax dollars and reducing unnecessary incarceration. Newest concepts being put into action.

4. While successful, Seattle and other communities should have as their goals zero intercept between people who are sick and the criminal justice system. No one should have to be arrested to get help.

Innovative steps being taken to achieve zero intercept :

1. Federal efforts to provide help to those caught in the criminal justice system by changing federal payments to communities.

2. Tips on how you can help a loved one with a mental illness and a call for advocacy in your community.This will be explained by example and specifics, including the story of the author’s son, who ended up being arrested, tasered by police, incarcerated and finally recovered and is thriving.

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This is why you need to be at Town Hall October 9th
How did we get to this point? 
What compelled us to reach out to Pete Earley asking him to fly in from Washington, D.C. to Key Note a Town Hall discussion the evening of October 9th? It was meeting a prisoner in 2010 who over the course of 10 imprisonments has spent 25 years in prison – not because he is a criminal, but because he comes from poverty and suffers serious mental illness.Each month, the state of Washington releases approximately 700 people from its prisons. These men and women seek a productive life on the outside. 

Yet, within three years, more than one-third wind up back in prison with one or more new felony convictions.
State policymakers, concerned about this cycle, have commissioned studies, convened task forces, and introduced legislation aimed at preventing people from reoffending. Nevertheless, the recidivism rate hasn’t gotten any better over the last decade, in fact, continues to increase dramatically.

Since 2005, the Post-Prison Education Program has changed the odds. 
Three-quarters of our students have been classified as high-risk by the corrections system — the category deemed most likely to recidivate. 48% of our high-risk students suffer serious mental illness. Nonetheless, of the students we have served, according to data audited by researchers from the University of Washington | Tacoma, only 8% have recidivated — a rate one-quarter of Washington State’s average.
Prison wasn’t the solution. It never is, and it never will be. When people who have long suffered serious mental illness leave prison and land in a well-knit safety net, they can build lives worth living for themselves, their families, and our communities.

Please join the Post-Prison Education Program, Pete Earley, and a distinguished panel at Town Hall Seattle Wednesday, October 9th to discuss problems and solutions and to pave the way for people to build lives worth living rather than spend their lives rotting in jails and prisons. 

Ari KohnFounder and PresidentPost-Prison Education Program

Pete Earley is a former Washington Post journalist and bestselling author. His book, “Crazy,” a Pulitzer Prize finalist, tells the story of Earley’s son, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and arrested during a manic episode. Earley put his investigative journalist skills to the test over the next five years, and uncovered a prison system ill-equipped to properly treat mental illness and quick to criminalize.

Pete Earley will speak on a panel at Seattle’s Town Hall on Wednesday, October 9th, at 7:30 PM, in conjunction with the Post Prison Education Program. Tickets can be purchased here.

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Pete Earley, former Washington Post reporter, mental health advocate and bestselling author of “Crazy” and “The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison” will be joining Ari Kohn, founder and president of the Post-Prison Education Program and will educate and encourage you to learn more about the impact of mental illness on prisoners, those formerly incarcerated and highlight many personal battles in the criminal justice system. Show your support for reforming how prisoners are reintegrated into society and help raise awareness of this critical issue.

More about the Post-Prison Education Program:
The Program offers hope and create opportunity for men and women returning to society from prison by providing wraparound services centered on post-secondary education. Students are offered the tools and human support needed to find gainful, meaningful employment, and break free from cycles of hopelessness, inter-generational poverty and imprisonment, and to become leaders for change.We believe that recidivism is a solvable problem and the rate can be virtually zero. We hope to clarify why our organizations methods work instead of current mainstream public policy.

We must seek clarity, justice, and change for those engulfed in a worldwide silent epidemic: mental illness.

Ari Kohn runs the Post-Prison Education Program, which provides scholarships to former inmates and community mentorship while they earn degrees.

Their graduates have a recidivism rate of only 7.8%, compared to the Department of Correction’s average of 33.5%.

Recently, Facebook miscategorized the group as a political organization, preventing them from advertising one of their fundraising events on the platform. The mistake took months for Kohn to undo, and brings up questions about how Facebook has been watching for Russian interference since the 2016 election. How are stringent standards without seemingly much oversight affecting us on a community level?