Prisons: Rah! Rah! Rah!

Charles McCalla was ready to be paroled from Illinois' Stateville prison last month, but he asked if he could stay until June. He wanted to stay in—for a while, at least—so that he could eventually stay out. He was in his junior year of college, which is run at the prison by Northern Illinois University, and would miss his exams if he left.

"I became tired of running in and out of prison," McCalla said. "I came to the conclusion that I couldn't communicate with intelligent people. If I got a job, it would be just through sympathy on somebody's...

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