Ram Cnaan probably knows more about prisons than even he would like. As a Professor at the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2), it’s pretty much his job. As a concerned citizen, Cnaan considers it his duty. “We are the most incarcerating society in the history of the universe,” he offers. “We have 5 percent of the world’s population, and 25 percent of its prisoners. And when they leave prison, there’s no one to help them. Very few people can make that transition on their own.” • It was precisely this lack of reentry assistance that inspired Jim Miller, W’83, to pledge his support to Penn’s Goldring Reentry Initiative (GRI), an academic program, founded by Cnaan and Gary Goldring, W’78, WG’79, that provides SP2 students the rare opportunity of working directly with prisoners and reducing recidivism rates in the bargain. • Miller recalls the prisoners he met while volunteering near his home in Massachusetts as flawed but savable. “These are just people who made bad decisions. We all make bad decisions.”
Jim Miller, W’83, firmly believes that prison doesn’t have to be the end of the line. And he’s putting his money where his mouth is to prove it.