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“To limit that access in any way, to me, is truly cruel and unusual punishment.”

Dylan Pyles, co-founder of Kansas City-based group Liberation Lit, regarding Missouri’s new rule that will prohibit people incarcerated in state prisons from receiving books and other publications from friends and family starting Sept. 25 in an attempt to reduce the influx of drugs and other contraband into the facilities. Incarcerated people will now be required to buy their own books, magazines, newspapers and correspondence courses. The base salary for incarcerated people working in a prison is $7.50 or $8.30 per month, but could be as high as $80 per month; people in work release programs outside of prison make closer to minimum wage and those in Missouri Vocational Enterprises job training programs make 81 cents per hour. (KCUR — Aug. 29, 2023)

More Quotes
  • Eric Hitchner, an English high school teacher in Philadelphia, regarding the lack of air conditioning in his fourth-floor, 111-year-old classroom and how COVID-19 relief funds were spent on education tech, like smartboards, instead of cooling systems. Last September, when it was in the low 70s outside, Hitchner’s classroom was 86 degrees inside. Hitchner’s Philly school is one of the estimated 36,000 public schools nationwide that do not have adequate air conditioning. (NPR — Aug. 28, 2023)
  • Chelsea Andrews, executive director of Montgomery County’s Housing Opportunity Commission, commenting on the Maryland county’s unique law that allows it to invest in property development to ensure a steady supply of housing for low-income residents. The law requires developers to set aside about 15 percent of the units in new projects for households making less than two-thirds of the area’s median income. (New York Times – Aug. 25, 2023)
  • Jared Walczak, vice president of state projects for the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax policy group, regarding a proposed California bill that would give unemployment checks to striking workers while they picket for better pay and working conditions. The state’s unemployment benefits fund is filled by a tax that businesses must pay for each worker, but the tax only applies to the first $7,000 of employee wages and has not been changed since 1984. The state has only increased unemployment benefits twice since then, once in 1989 and once in 2001. Despite three years of record job growth, the state estimates that benefit payments will exceed tax collections by $1.1 billion. (Associated Press — Aug. 23, 2023)
  • St. Louis, Mo., Mayor Tishaura Jones, regarding proposed legislation that would prohibit “military-grade weapons” on city streets and make it a crime for “insurrectionists” and those convicted of hate crimes to possess firearms. The state’s attorney general is warning that such a law would violate the state constitution. (Associated Press — Aug. 23, 2023)
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