Author Archives: Jillian Keith

Is punishment the best way to encourage rehabilitation?

An age-old debate: how should prisoners be treated?

Should they be caged up like animals? Left to fester in cold cells? Is punishment the best way to encourage change? Or should preaching and practicing rehabilitation be the main aim of imprisonment?

The United Kingdom spends more money on public order than the United States or any other European Union countries. Nevertheless, jails are highly ineffective. With an imprisonment rate of 150 per 100,000 people and over 83,000 prisoners currently locked away in England and Wales. Since 1994, English and Welsh prisons have been overcrowded.

Arguably, the whole point of imprisonment is to lower the number of criminals in our society and rehabilitate them by punishing them and taking their freedom away. With nearly 75 percent of teenagers under 18 being reconvicted within in a year of release, it’s clear that the system’s agenda is not being achieved.

“As it stands now, justice systems are extremely expensive, do not rehabilitate, but in fact make the people that experience them worse.”- James Bell, an American lawyer and prison reform activist

It’s not just the United Kingdom that is failing at upholding the ultimate goal of the prison system. Countries across the world are not following through with their agenda either.

As a result, a growing number of prisons are embracing rehabilitation and a new form of incarceration. By giving inmates more responsibility, freedom, and comfort, prisoners are given the chance to change.

Justizzentrum Leoben, a minimum security prison in Austria, allows convicts to live in one-bed cells containing a television set and ensuite bathroom.

Halden Prison in Norway takes on a campus-style prison with two-bedroom houses where inmates can enjoy overnight visits from family and friends.

Critics of minimum security prisons believe that they could encourage and increase unruly and dangerous behaviors. Nevertheless, Halden boasts the lowest reoffending rate in Europe.

Situated on an island off the coast of Norway sits a minimum security prison home to 110 criminals name Bastøy Prison. Inmates here are encouraged to cycle along biking trails, go on walks, fish in the surrounding waters, and interact with the 69 staff members who work there.

The idea of giving prisoners a higher amount of freedom is slowly beginning to become more supported. Prisoners in UK prisons are now being encouraged to listen to radio stations such as the Prison Radio Association. Many of the shows run by the Prison Radio Association are even presented and produced by prisoners.

“Reducing reoffending is of benefit to everybody. Equipping prisoners with skills and confidence is crucial in bringing down reoffending rates. Prison radio offers a unique, innovative and effective way to communicate with prisoners and engage them in education, debate, and community,” says a spokesperson from Prison Radio Association.

An inmate from HMP Lindholme expresses his praises towards the station,  “I’ve just been introduced to NPR and the inspiration your radio station gives has been a very welcome breath of fresh air. I have now found a new lease of life and I’m now going after a dream I once had as a student at college”.

The United Kingdom prison system is focused on punishment versus rehabilitation. Nevertheless, the results of giving inmates a higher sense of responsibility and loosening our grip on prisoners looks to be the best way to fulfill the agenda of our prison system.


Featured image VIA https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/12188159/The-way-to-cut-crime.html

Study finds students are advocating for and practising lower alcohol consumption

Freshers week: a fortnight popularly known for heavy drinking, partying, and ”getting blackout drunk, making friends, and not getting judged for it.”

The drinking culture associated with university provides a wide range of wine filled occasions worthy of head splintering hangovers.

Nevertheless, according to the National Union of Students, the demand for alcohol-free university events and residential halls is on the rise, with almost a quarter of students actively advocating for the cause.

A Brief History of Sports

A survey completed by 2,215 undergraduate university students explored student’s behaviour, attitudes, and perceptions towards alcohol use.

This survey found that one in five students don’t drink alcohol at all and recognized a shift in drinking habits amongst students and the perceptions of alcohol in relation to their peers and selves.

Two-thirds of students strongly believe that excessive alcohol consumption is widely accepted because it is the “easiest way to fit in.” “I think it can be super toxic and foster casual alcoholism without anyone even realizing,” says one student. 

While plenty of students are still regularly going out and dropping money on tequila shots, the typically regarded stereotype of students spending the majority of their time getting wasted is getting further and further from reality.

NUS claims that the financial pressures of students are leading to a shift in students’ drinking habits.

Nevertheless, universities are stating that a wide range of factors are leading the students decreased drinking indulgence. An increased awareness of health, wider diversity of faiths, and the rise of alternative sources of entertainment should be taken into account when looking into the drinking habits of students.

Despite this research, 79 percent of students still believe that getting drunk is a “right of passage” and a massive part of university culture. A mere one in ten university students are aware of responsible drinking activities and campaigns on their campus.

The NUS vice president of welfare, Eva Crossan states, “it is clear that students’ drinking habits have changed with a comparative section of the student population not drinking at all. While many students are making active decisions about their drinking, it is concerning that university life is still strongly associated with excessive alcohol consumption.”


Featured Image VIA https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1562761

Soundcloud Image taken by Jillian Keith

Oxbridge set to increase bursaries for low-income students by 2020

The University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge are both currently on the track to expand inclusivity by increasing bursaries given to students from low-income backgrounds.

Starting in 2020, Oxbridge students from low-income backgrounds will be receiving up to £5,000 per year in scholarship funding. In an effort to attract students who would typically write off the university due to their high tuition fees, both leading British universities are looking to bring in students from “under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Following last years accusations of being socially exclusive and failing to recruit eligible students from public colleges, the University of Oxford claimed that they were “very aware” that they “must work harder.”

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Currently, the University of Oxford provides 25 percent of its students with £8,000,000 of financial support. Students whose guardians earn less than £27,500 are currently receiving between £3,700 and £1,700. In 2020, this figure will increase to between £5,000 and £4,200.

According to research performed by the Sutton Trust charity, between 2015 and 2017, Oxbridge enrolled more students from the eight top British schools than nearly 3,000 other English state schools put together.

Advocating for a “fair chance”, Sutton Trust’s founder Sir Peter Lampl found that students from the top eight schools in Britain filled 1,310 places at Oxford and Cambridge while 2,900 state schools filled 1,200 places between 2015 and 2017.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

In 2018, Labour MP David Lammy criticized the University of Oxford following a report that found that a mere 11 percent of undergraduate students at the university were from “disadvantaged backgrounds.” This report also found that white British applicants were twice as likely to be accepted than black applicants.

In response, director of undergraduate admissions, Samina Khan claimed that that was, “not getting the right number of black people with the talent to apply to us.”

Oxford’s Student Union stepped in and claimed, “there are large and unacceptable attainment gaps in schools, which greatly disadvantage black pupils and those from low-income backgrounds, among other under-represented groups.”

In a poll taken by 336 students, 94% said that they agreed with Oxbridge accepting more applicants from low-income environments.


“I think that giving low-income and disadvantaged students a financial boost is an effort that will greatly excel the university’s diversity and reputation.”- Morgan Howk, 20

“I really appreciate what Oxford and Cambridge are doing and I wish more university’s would follow in suit.”- Katie Trent, 21

“While I admire their efforts, I think that they are not tackling the most present issue here. Their announcement is just a coverup for the fact that they don’t really want to diversify the University in terms of race. Only [17.9%] of Oxford students are BAME and I personally think that, that should be improved upon before they focus on other flaws in their admissions system.”- Shawn Waynick, 19


Overall, Dr. Jane Gover, the university’s director of student finances, said that, “there’s been really strong feedback,” from Oxford currently enrolled undergraduate students.

Gover believes that, “this is a really huge part of the university work to attract and support undergraduates from under-represented and disadvantaged backgrounds. We don’t want to see students being put off because they’re worried about the cost of living or their ability to engage with university life.”


Featured Image VIA https://focusedcollection.com/stock-photos/oxford-university.html

 

What your £20 for a NUS student discount card actually goes to

Walking through a fresher’s fair, a student is often first greeted by the welcoming bright teal sign of the NUS. More formally known as the National Union of Students, the famous brand is commonly known for offering students some of the best discounts in the United Kingdom.

Aside from the massive discounts NUS offers, when a student signs up for the union, they join a group of over seven million students aiming to use their education in order to create a fair and prosperous society.

Nevertheless, 61% of students are unaware of what the NUS does for their university environment. And even so, of the 39% who are “aware” of what the National Union of Students does, 86% thought that the organization was just their NUS Extra Card that allows them to get discounts.

Founded in 1922, as an effort to make peace after the first world war, their mission still remains to promote, defend, and extend student rights allows them to fight discrimination and injustice through democratic representation, campaigning, and targeted action.

Through the help of students across the nation, the NUS is able to bring together the collective interests of their members in order to develop research that influences national policy and take on issues that affect the lives of students now and in the future.

The National Union of Students is a voluntary membership organization consisting of 600 students’ unions. That’s more than 95 percent of all higher student unions in the United Kingdom. When a student pays £20 for their discounted student railway card or the extra 20% off at Boots, they agree to uphold and support the three core values of the NUS: equality, democracy, and collectivism.

The latest elected officers of the NUS focus on pursuing equal opportunities for everyone to fully participate in a society of students to celebrate diversity. The NUS also aims to “[build] open, transparent, and accessible democratic structures that increase performance and strengthen accountability.”

Furthermore, their message strongly resonates with the quote, “unity is our strength” by constantly promoting the idea that students’ unions are more effective when they work with each other on a local, national, and international level.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Within every student’s union lies a desire to provide wide-ranging research and discussion about the policies of further education, higher education, society, citizenship, union development, and welfare.

Spanning across Great Britain, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Northern Ireland, the NUS also campaigns and defends the rights of highly marginalized and underrepresented groups such as black students, disabled students, LGBTQI+, and women.

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

Although it may seem like the NUS does nothing but give you 10% off at Pizza Express and lead the funding and mission student unions, their recent movements and parliamentary wins for students are very present for plenty of individuals.

Student’s right to protected student deposits in the private rented sector, exemption from Council Tax, Young Persons Railcard, and Endsleigh Student Insurance are all due to the constant efforts of the NUS.

Less known strides towards a more student-friendly world have been made by the NUS as well. In the past three years, the National Union of Students has managed to help 48,000 international students who were wrongly deported after falsified English language tests were turned in.

The NUS is also the reason why students over the age of 30 are still able to receive student loans.

When founded by Sir Ivison MacAdam, his vision for the future involved providing “hope for tomorrow.” Giving a voice to their seven million members from all walks of life and fighting for a better student environment for the future.

Read all about what the NUS is doing to not file bankruptcy here.

The best way to curb climate change: have one less child

In a world with 7.7 billion people, water is scarce, food is no longer abundant (despite over production), and affordable shelter is becoming rapidly more difficult to find, is our population truly sustainable?

Every year the world’s population grows by another 83 million people. With an upward trend in population size leveling out at an annual 1.4% increase, it is no question that the size of our population is slowly, but surely becoming a clear issue.

In 2017, the Guardian brought the topic of overpopulation to light.

Now more than ever, environmentalists are posing if more feet equals more heat and if having one less child is actually the best way to help correct climate change.

Katy Bellotte: “organized chaos” turned influencer

“I was a mess, I wasn’t ready…”

Picking at her freshly painted maroon colored nail beds and staring that the white oak floors, YouTuber and Instagram influencer, Katy Bellotte, looked back on her journey from a life full of “organized chaos” to promotional boxes of Free People and Glossier at her New York City flat’s doorstep.

Accrediting her success to not being afraid to produce hard and clear content that hurts, Bellotte has grown a fanbase of 469, 387 Youtube subscribers, 159,000 Instagram followers, and the second leading podcast on Spotify for Lifestyle and Health. As a result, she has become a frequently sought after fashion, skincare, and beauty ambassador and is friendly with several celebrities such as Taylor Swift and Jenna Mourey.

Nevertheless, the road to becoming an influencer is a rocky one, and Katy’s journey is no exception. With millions of individuals fighting their way into the social media fashion and beauty scene, just how difficult is it to actually make it.

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

Perhaps Bellotte’s strongest motivation came from her desire to fulfill an unsatisfied market. “…I decided that I wanted to become for others what I wanted for myself.”

Born and raised in the small, bayside town of Annapolis, Maryland, Bellotte always felt slightly out of space. “Back in my early teens, I was brutally bullied. The way that I looked, acted and talked caused me to be ridiculed. It was a tough time for me and I really wish that there would have been I’d an older girl who I could have sought advice from.”

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

With her Youtube algorithm showing that most of Bellotte’s viewers being slightly younger than her age, 23, she sees herself as one of the “big sisters” of Youtube. “It has always been my goal to act as a beacon of hope for girls who have gone through similar situations and are just looking for guidance and a helping hand.”

Despite her tripod of textbooks from her previous degree at Elon University, Bellotte has still managed to make a name for herself because of the passion that she has for her hobby. “When you’re 14, you’re constantly searching for ways to label yourself and the only clear label that I could find that suited me and I enjoyed was a videographer.”

With a folder entitled, “Katy’s Creations” on her old Envy HP laptop, Katy decided to start her journey to becoming a Youtuber. Within this folder sat her first video ever uploaded: a eye makeup tutorial with one eyeshadow brush and one eyeshadow. “I remember thinking, ‘gosh, I really just want to put these somewhere, I want for other people to see them.’ I really found my worth in making videos. I loved it. I would wake up in the morning and be like, “where’s my camera?” and I am still kinda like that honestly. From there it has blossomed into something I don’t even have the words to describe”

View this post on Instagram

When in doubt, throw some avocado on it! 🥑 I’m whipping up my favorite dish of the moment, the ‘Mean Greens’ recipe from @NancyAndersonFit ’s 10 Day Detox. I’m getting all prepped and ready for the official kick off with her 10 day detox community on Monday June 18! Join us and lets get ready for summer together 👯‍♀️👏🏼 • Not only will this plan have you seeing changes quickly but it will also help you have more energy, improve your skin, health, gut and hormones in just a few days. Her results from last month are so legit- can’t wait to see how we do! To download the plan and learn more head to her page @nancyandersonfit – use the code ‘katy20’ for $20 off! #letsdothis #partner

A post shared by Katy Bellotte (@katybellotte) on

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

In spite of her popularity on social media, Katy undeterred by the numbers and fully intents on keeping her hobby and career as separate entities. “I think that as soon as you make something that you love your complete job, you start to love it less.”

Despite her strong belief, Bellotte she’s no end to her content creating anytime soon. With a New York City apartment, a social media editing job at L’Oreal, and her evergrowing life experiences, she can only see herself continue to grow. “In the words of Leonardo Da Vinci, ‘people of accomplishment rarely sit back and let things happen to them. They go out and happen to things.’ Being open and public about the things that others don’t dare to speak up about is how I’ve gotten where I am and how I’ll keep climbing.”

As a chip of her maroon nail polish fell to the ground, she looked up, “I wasn’t ready, but then again, when will you ever be? Dare to be different. Create for yourself. Work with what you have and go with the flow. You might be more ready than you think.”

The silent killer of our oceans: everything you need to know about ocean acidification

For thousands and thousands of years, oceans have been a critical part of people’s lives. The oceans have been our grocery stores, highways, pharmacies, and source of entertainment.

Due to our ocean’s vastness, we see them as infinitely bountiful, infinitely abundant, infinitely ample. Now, more than ever we are seeing beaches that are so polluted people can’t swim. We are seeing an increase in bleached coral reefs. We are seeing shellfish unable to reproduce. We are seeing massively overfished areas.

Ocean acidification, osteoporosis of the sea, the silent killer of our oceans. Whatever your preference it all means the same thing. Over the last 250 years, the average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has made an unbelievable increase from 280 parts per million to 390 parts per million. That’s a 30 percent increase. Half of which was made between 1980 and today. To most people, this just seems like numbers, but when you realize that in the past, humans have only lived in concentrations of 190-330 it is easier to comprehend the problem at hand.

Plant-A-Tree's

Illustrations by: Lucie Brunellière are available here

In long-term ocean acidification is likely to have the most significant impact on the coral reef ecosystems. Marine organisms that provide up to 50 percent of the oxygen that we breathe, such as Plankton and other small organisms, are abundant in coral reefs and will decrease dramatically. These small organisms not only affect us but other marine organisms as well. With pH levels dropping at this rate, current estimates reveal that we will lose 50 percent of our coral reefs over the next 40 years. That means that the quarter of marine species that rely on coral reefs to provide them home will face extinction unless able to adapt. At a pH level of 8.2, our seas are already acidic enough to dissolve shells. This is evident due to the 85 percent of oyster reefs gone because of the acidification of our oceans.

Not only does it threaten 25 percent of marine organisms, but ocean acidification also affects the estimated 500 million people who depend on coral reefs for their daily food and income. Finding jobs, I’m sure you all know, is hard enough in this economy, nonetheless it will become harder. Travel agencies workers, fishers, ecologists, chefs, food manufacturers and marine biologists will all be affected by ocean acidification. Areas such as Cairns, Australia, will no longer be generating over 6.5 billion dollars in tourism revenue due to the death of the Great Barrier Reef. As a result, 63,000 people would lose jobs in the area.

Although research is underway to improve the conditions of our oceans, not much is being done at the local or global level. Seeing that this is a reasonably recently discovered problem, scientists are still researching ocean acidification and its effects on the environment. Even so, scientific research has already saved species such as the Pacific Oyster from extinction.

Scientists do know one thing: irreversible damage will occur around 2060. Even if all carbon emissions stopped today, the pH of the ocean would still drop 0.1-0.2 pH units and it would take thousands of years for the world’s oceans to recover. Nonetheless, that is still better than the 0.5 units the pH was expected to fall by 2100, a 320 percent increase in acidity.

Our highways, our entertainment, our medicines. Our food, our stress reliever, our memories. Our expansion, our destruction, our mess. Ocean acidification will be a problem for centuries to come. Environmental problems have become apart of our society. Although some are discussed until the point of no longer caring, others are worth listening to.