Prison: The Financial and Human Costs of the New York State System

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First in a Series of Discussions at the Hue-Man Bookstore led by former NY Times Journalist Sheila Rule

The United States imprisons more people than any other country on earth – at an incalculable cost. New York State, for example, spends $50,000 per year to house and feed each inmate, the equivalent of a year’s tuition at an Ivy League college. But the financial cost is only part of the story.

The Hue-Man Bookstore is located at 2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (between 124th and 125th Streets) in Harlem. “America’s policy of mass incarceration is exacting a crushing human cost on inner-city communities—in ways that are rarely reported, “ said respected former New York Times journalist Sheila Rule. “If we don’t have an informed national conversation about this critical issue now, society as a whole will pay an even greater price.”

On Thursday, June 23, 2011 at 6 p.m., Rule will launch an important series of discussions at the Hue-Man Bookstore in Harlem ( ), to tee up a major symposium at Riverside Church this fall, presented with the support of the Ford Foundation. Rule, now married to an incarcerated man, has founded the Think Outside the Cell Foundation ( and published a series of eye-opening books designed to spotlight the little acknowledged humanity of men and women who’ve served time in prison, as well as their loved ones.

Her guests for the first discussion include:

  •     Dr. Khalil Muhammad, noted historian, the new director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black

Culture and the author of The Condemnation of Blackness and

  •     Flores Forbes, a vice president at Columbia University who was formerly incarcerated and is an expert on economic development, and author of Will You Die With Me? My Life and the Black Panther Party.

Upcoming discussions in this series:
July 21 August 18 September 23.

Please note:
On September 24, 2011, an all-day symposium, “Think Outside the Cell: A New Day, A New Way,” will be held at Riverside Church to explore issues affecting the incarcerated, the formerly incarcerated and their families. Confirmed participants include the Rev. Al Sharpton, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Michelle Alexander, author of the groundbreaking book, The New Jim Crow.


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