Recidivism is an issue American felons battle every day. Once someone gets out of jail, they battle with whether or not they’re fall back into their old ways and re-enter into the corrections system.
Many legal communities have attempted to look into the idea of “healing” inmates per se while they’re in prison so that they can serve their time with peace and become productive citizens.
Along with Associate Legal Studies Professor Linda Keena, Graduate Assistant Kelly McCall is taking part in a research project to explore the world of therapeutic community evaluation within maximum-security prisons.
While visiting a prison in Missouri, both Keena and McCall learned a great deal of information about their research, including the instituting of military values to the inmates.
“They have access to a twelve step program and they follow a military routine everyday,” McCall said. “They’re up at 5:30 and their recreation consist of military march.”
Not all areas have advanced into therapeutic options for inmates. Some issues arise due to funding, space and other factors.
For Caddo Parish (Louisiana) District Judge Katherine Dorroh, there are more traditional means being used in her Parish.
“We have the more common options in Caddo Parish,” Judge Dorroh said. “Offenders have the general work release and reentry programs available to them.”
The unnamed prison in Missouri has taken major steps to aid the rehab participants.
“There are a lot of proponents that go into it,” McCall said. “Inmates are segregated from all of the negativity, drug use and gangs while they’re in rehab programs.”
One inmate told the research team the programs aren’t just about the curriculum, but also how everything is set up.
“It’s not like you just go to a class and go back to the yard, and there you are, right back into the mix,” he said. “You are in a nice environment that is dedicated to this change.”
According to the research, Keena and McCall found that creates a community within prison that the program such as intensive therapeutic research “provides opportunities to grow as a human being, body, mind, and spirit.”
Many student athletes across the country will tell you they’re not at their school to “play school,” but instead they are at their respective university to simply perfect their craft and make it to the next level.
Though that may be the perception for many fans and followers of college athletics, that’s not necessarily the reality. After examining the data of many student-athletes on the University of Mississippi campus, it shows there are quite a variety of majors across all the different colleges on the university campus.
If you look at the graph, you will see there is a wide variety of majors among the 378 current student-athletes at Ole Miss.
For senior Taelor Rubin, who plays golf for the Rebels, her sport had no weight on her selection.
“My sport didn’t affect my choice,” Rubin said. “After looking at it, I just picked what I had interest in, and competing in college athletics really wasn’t much of a factor.”
Many fans or students on the outside looking in would think that you’ll see a lot of the easy majors among the student-athletes. When speaking with Sheila Padgett, Assistant Director of Academic Support at Ole Miss Athletics, the record was quickly set straight when it comes to the perception of easy majors.
“There are no easy majors at the University of Mississippi,” Padgett said. “The General Studies major is mistaken as an easy major that we recommend to our student-athletes so they can stay eligible. That is simply not true.”
“On occasion, a particular sport may trend towards one major or another due to the interests of the students, but it is not common,” Padgett added.
General Studies accounts for nearly 15% of the majors according to Padgett, while the next closest is undeclared at nearly 12%.
“General Studies allows a student to build their own degree from the areas they enjoy the most or need for future careers,” Padgett said. “Our student-athletes in General Studies have chosen combinations of 22 different minors to make up their majors.”
Some other issues that the public may not know about often arise among the student-athletes in regards to their eligibility. If they don’t meet certain requirements, they could be ruled ineligible by the NCAA.
“Some basic eligibility rules state that they must have completed 40% of their degree prior to the beginning of their 5th semester, 60% by the beginning of their 7th semester and 80% prior to their 9th semester,” Padgett said.
When asked about certain majors for certain sports, Padgett also squashed that thought.
“On occasion, a particular sport may trend towards one major or another due to the interests of the students, but it is not common,” she said. “They talk to each other and share what they like about their major, which could influence a teammate’s decision.”
Padgett went on to say that the large academics staff within Ole Miss Athletics go to great lengths to keep the majors at a wide variety. She stated they try to prevent large clusters of student-athletes all in one major.
The University of Mississippi continues to grow. This means more people on the Oxford campus, and more people means more cars. Traffic parking on campus continues to be a recurring issue on campus and officials are looking for alternatives. During this piece, I visit with Sara Douglass of the UM Office of Sustainability and Steve Valliant of UM Parking and Transportation about using bikes rather than vehicles when traveling to and from campus and while traveling across campus. They speak about the Rebel Pedals program, and all the things they have to offer. According to Douglass, the campus bike community continues to grow and as more students come to campus, the demand will be even greater.
With the 2015 Ole Miss baseball season underway, Ole Miss Athletics has announced some big changes to the policies regarding alcohol consumption with the famed right field seating area.
The area, mostly occupied by Ole Miss students during games, is famous for intense crowds and showers of beers when Ole Miss hits a home run.
In a release sent out to University of Mississippi students, the athletics department plotted out what changes were going to me made.
“In accordance with the law, consumption of beer and light wine beverages is limited to patrons 21 years old and up,” the release said. “Students who are violating university policies including alcohol and drugs policies (possession, public drunkenness, distribution, etc.) will be issued a citation from UPD and a possible fine.”
The most notable changes to the area include wristbands for students over the legal drinking age, 21, to better help law enforcement ensure legal alcohol consumption by the Ole Miss students. Also, the university is putting a limit on cooler size to 20-quart coolers to limit the amount of alcohol brought into Oxford-University Stadium/Swayze Field.
“I don’t understand where the change is coming from,” Junior Accounting major Peyton Parks said. “They’re going to lose support if they regulate it too much, and could ruin the environment.”
Ole Miss sports marketing staffer Thomas House cleared up some of the questions regarding the new policy.
“A change had to be made in regards to the drinking age,” House said. “The drinking age has always been 21, and the time came where Ole Miss had to regulate it a little more.”
The crowd is known for getting a little out of hand at times, and that was no different last season. When Ole Miss hosted and won the Oxford NCAA Regional the outfield seating area became a massive field party. Some of the student-athletes made their way out there to celebrate with the fans and it had potential to create some issues.
Incidents of over intoxication occurred during that regional including security personal having to tackle one fan. That fan was taken away by ambulance.
Issues like that are what prompted the changes to the alcohol policy according to Director of Athletics Ross Bjork, who answered student’s questions via Twitter on opening weekend.
“We shouldn’t have problems escalate to people drinking too much or our security staff tackling anyone,” Bjork said via his Twitter account.
Some students were worried about the changes, but most university did not have much of a choice in the matter. Junior business major Jake Parsons, who is over 21, said he doesn’t mind the change.
“I can see why underage students are frustrated because I’ve been there, but I’m over the drinking age now so it doesn’t bother me,” Parsons said.
With the new policy, students are required to scan their Ole Miss student ID card at station upon entrance to Oxford-University Stadium. After scanning their ID they’ll receive a wristband proving they are the appropriate drinking age. Along with the alcohol limits, the university is also limiting furniture to only tailgating furniture such as tents, folding chairs, small tables etc, in the right field area.
Other areas of the stadium will not be affected by the policy changes this season. The same rules as years past will be enforced for the main grandstand and left field area.
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In year two of the Matt Insell era at Ole Miss, the Rebels are 17-11 with one game to go and are poised to make it to a postseason tournament for the first time since 2007.
With one game left in the regular season, Insell told reporters Thursday that his success comes from the foundation laid by his three seniors, Tia Faleru, Danielle McCray and Amber Singletary.
“Those three kids bought in, and had eight newcomers that they convinced to buy in,” Insell said. “This program is going in the direction it’s going in because of those three seniors.”
Insell told reporters that Ole Miss will win a conference championship while he’s here, and when that happens his 2015 seniors will get championship rings.
The Rebels finished the 2014 season at 12-20 with two wins in conference play and a year later they sit at 17-11 with seven wins in just the second year under the new coaching staff. Ole Miss looks for their 18th win Sunday at Mississippi State, and are poised to make their best start since the 2006-07 season when newly named SEC Legend Armintie Price was on the team. That 2006-07 season was the last time Ole Miss went to the NCAA Tournament, and Insell thinks they’ve done enough to get there this season.
“The problem we have here is the RPI, and we don’t have a good RPI,” Insell said. “I really hope the NCAA looks at the eye-test for Ole Miss, because if they see us play we’re in.”
Realistically, the Rebels will likely end up on the outside looking in when it comes to the NCAA tournament, but the university has submitted a bid to host part of the National Invitational Tournament. Participants in the NIT are the teams that just missed the full field of 68 in the NCAA Tournament.
When Insell was hired at Ole Miss, Athletics Director Ross Bjork spoke very highly of the Rebels coach, and looks forward to the staff’s future success.
“Being a part of the rebuilding job at Kentucky enabled Coach Insell to gain the necessary requirements needed of our new staff we recapture the legacy that is Lady Rebel Basketball,” Bjork said. “He is the perfect fit to make this happen and we are excited he is joining our team.”
Fans are joining in on the excitement now that the program is back on track to its winning ways. “It’s a good thing we have two basketball programs again,” junior business major Blake Cocanougher said.
It’s been a long road for the Rebels, and with their recent success fans are starting to take notice. “My freshman year, the women’s basketball program at Ole Miss was forgettable, and it’s great to see their new found success,” Cocanougher added.
Highlights this season for Coach Insell and the team include a tournament victory in Nevada, and wins over major SEC programs like Georgia, Kentucky and LSU. No matter how the season ends, the Rebels are on track to having their best finish in nearly a decade.
DT Shackelford has seen his fair share of time on the sideline the past two seasons, and after missing two years the senior linebacker is back on the field for the Ole Miss Rebels poised for a come back.
Before the season opener this season at Vanderbilt, Shackelford had not seen action since November 27, 2010 in a loss to Mississippi State. Many would give up and move on after missing two years, especially a player who carries little to no draft stock according to the NFL experts. But for this Ole Miss veteran, there was a reason for coming back.
“I’m just blessed to have this opportunity again, to be with my teammates. To be with them on the field means the world to me”, Shackelford said, “I know there are a lot of people that have been through a lot of the things I’ve been through that haven’t had the chance to come back.”
Shackelford suffered a torn ACL at the end of spring practice in 2011 forcing him to miss the upcoming season. The Decatur, Ala. native was supposed to be ready for a 2012 comeback but the surgery wasn’t completed correctly forcing Shackelford to miss the 2012 season as well.
Shackelford played both defensive end and linebacker in 2010, appearing in all twelve games while starting six. He led the team in sacks and quarterback hurries before being crippled with a knee injury in the spring.
For junior linebacker Keith Lewis it was an extra motivation to play harder as a young player when Shackelford was out.
“Coming in and seeing how vocal he was regardless of the circumstance, the impact of seeing how positive DT could stay made me stay positive,” Lewis said.
Prior to the end of Spring practice in 2012, Shackelford was awarded the Chucky Mullins Courage Award, which is an award given to a Senior defenseman for the Rebels who displays the work ethic, courage and likeness of Chucky Mullins. The award is named for Roy Lee “Chucky” Mullins. Mullins was an Ole Miss defensive back who was paralyzed during the 1989 Homecoming Game against Vanderbilt who later died from his injuries.
The honor is given to a senior leader on the Ole Miss defense, and for Shackelford it is more than just another award.
“Everyone in this town knows what that award means to not only this football team but this community, so that’s something that I hold near and dear to my heart,” Shackelford said.
Ole Miss graduate and former linebacker Jason Jones was the 2012 recipient of the courage award. Similar to Shackelford, Jones spoke very highly about the honor.
“It meant so much to me because this award is not something that you for or labor for, but it is an award based on you being you and if that brings out courage, leadership and willingness to do everything it takes to be the best at everything you do without giving up, the spirit of Chucky definitely lives within you as an individual,” Jones said.
Senior Linebacker Mike Marry is the current recipient of the Mullins award, and is a part of Shackelford’s recruiting class. For Marry it has been good to have his teammate back on the field this season.
“It makes a big difference with the energy he brings and the attitude he brings on and off the field whether he’s on the field or not he can always get you ready to play. Being that I came in with him, it makes it that much more special to be with what’s left of my class,” Marry said.
Marry will be leaving after this season but Shackelford will have one more year of NCAA eligibility to return to Ole Miss and is unsure what his decision will be. Just as any other player, he still holds his professional football dreams.
“I’ve been dreaming about that ever since playing flag football, but you also have to be realistic with situations that you can’t necessarily control which was two ACL [injuries] that I thought I would never have, and they happened so that was a situation that I never thought would happen. Fortunately for me I took my grades the right way and I am able to do both, but yes it’s still a goal for me and it’s still something I want to pursue,” Shackelford said.
If Shackelford were drafted, he would join the already 22 former Rebels on active NFL Rosters, including 2006 Chucky Mullins Award recipient Patrick Willis. The fifth year senior knows that the NFL may be out of reach for him, so the Student-Athlete is prepared off the field as well.
“Of course there is life after football, I’d be the one to know because you never know when an injury can happen, so to be prepared on the academic side of life is always good,” Shackelford said.
Shackelford will receive a Masters degree in Education from Ole Miss in May, and has thought about exploring other education options if he decides to return to Ole Miss for another year. He has plenty on his mind now, like a bowl game at seasons end, so he will revisit future plans after the season.
While he was out, Shackelford missed a 2-10 season with a coaching change from Houston Nutt to Hugh Freeze. He missed the first year of the Hugh Freeze era, which was a 7-6 season capped off by a bowl game win over Pittsburgh. He will be a part of Ole Miss’ second straight bowl trip this season.
“I know how it was when we were 2-10 and 4-8 so repeatedly going through losing seasons then now having the opportunity to go to back-to-back bowl games, that’s certainly a blessing to this program,” Shackelford said.
The Rebels have two more regular season games this season including a matchup against No. 8 Missouri and the in-state rivalry game against Mississippi State on Thanksgiving day. Ole Miss is ranked in the BCS for the first time since Shackelford’s freshman year, and the seniors in his class are on track to finish 2013 the way they started back in 2009.