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A three-part series, titled “Where Do We Go From Here: A Series Re-imagining Our Criminal Justice System,” will explore the criminal justice system through the lens of systemic racism and chronic poverty. Click here to learn more.

In part one, Rhonda K. Oliver shares her personal experience of incarceration. Part two examines the choices our society makes to divest from communities and focus on punishing crime, and explores how those choices have spawned segregation, chronic poverty and mass incarceration. Part three provides a radical alternative, based in reconciliation and grace, through the story of Canisius College alumnus Zach Presutti ’02, SJ.  Presutti is the founder of the Thrive for Life Prison Project and will be featured in the upcoming issue of Canisius College Magazine. 

“If you look at the American criminal justice system right now, you don’t see failed human beings, you see a country that’s failed,” says Presutti, who founded Thrive for Life as part of a small step towards healing communities wounded by a system that locks many up for too long and does too little to help them get back on their feet afterwards.

Thrive for Life offers formerly incarcerated individuals a safe space for education, reconciliation and crucially, love.

Submitted by: Sarah Signorino, director, Office of Mission & Identity