On August 8, 2011, Sunbury Press signed prison education advocate Christopher Zoukis to a one-book deal for Mr. Zoukis’ debut title “Education Behind Bars: A Win-Win Strategy for Maximum Security.” The sale was facilitated by author Randall Radic.
Christopher Zoukis – a two-time PEN American Center award winning writer (drama and fiction) and federal prisoner – is a candid advocate of prison education. Mr. Zoukis is the author of a number of articles on prison education, the Editor of the Education Behind Bars Newsletter, and an Adult Continuing Education instructor at FCI-Petersburg, a federal prison in Petersburg, Virginia. Mr. Zoukis is also the contributing editor of the Prison Education Blog at PrisonEducation.com.
Education Behind Bars is both a reference guide and a social policy title. Half of the impressive 650+ page text is dedicated to the need of prison education, its history, travails, current situation, and the refutation of arguments against it. The other half of the text is directed toward the incarcerated student. It contains detailed instructions on engaging in education behind bars and even includes program outlines about several hundred correspondence programs the world over. It is the most comprehensive document of its type.
Education Behind Bars is unique in a number of ways. While penned by Mr. Zoukis, a prisoner and prison education advocate, the text is not based upon his experience, but upon his extensive research which is verified by his personal experience. The text itself presents a very academic topic in a manner all can understand and even enjoy. The text provides a detailed assessment of prison education, connecting it to the best interest of the American public, and outlines a program to implement college-level learning in prisons across the nation in a very economical fashion. Hence, the text is of extensive use to policy makers, law makers, prison administrators and educators, researchers, and prisoners alike.
Mr. Zoukis notes, “From a scholarly perspective, prison education reduces recidivism, enhances life skills, and is a cost-effective method of crime reduction.” He continues, “But from a humane and ethical perspective, prison education allows those who want to change their lifestyle the opportunity to do so. As with various immigrant populations, education holds the power to raise prisoners and their families out of the depths of poverty and all that ensues.” He finishes, “The argument is a simple one: An education is an inherent right of all peoples, incarcerated or not. It is our duty as good Americans to foster educational opportunities for the less-fortunate. This means inside prisons as well as outside of prisons.”
Mr. Zoukis may be reached for comment, collaboration, or interview at ChrisZoukis@Gmail.com. His prison education advocacy website can be found at PrisonEducation.com and his personal site at ChristopherZoukis.com. He may be followed on Twitter @Czoukis.