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September 22, 2021

Daily News Lesson: Inmates released to home confinement during pandemic fear ‘devastating’ reincarceration


This lesson is part of our Searching for Justice series on criminal justice reform.

Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. Some students may find it easier to read along with the transcript or turn on closed captions/CC.

Summary: Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Justice Department has released more than 30,000 non-violent inmates to home confinement to try to limit the virus’ spread in prison. But, as John Yang reports for our ongoing “Searching for Justice” series, some of these men and women could be forced to return to prison once the pandemic ends.


Warm up questions: 

  1. What are the reasons some prisoners have been released to home confinement?
  2. Who is interviewed in this piece, and what are some of their concerns?
  3. Why is home confinement different than confinement in a prison?
  4. When are the people sent to home confinement likely to return to prison?
  5. How are the people interviewed in this piece trying to advocate for continued home confinement?

Focus questions:

  1. What are some of the benefits to individuals who have been released to home confinement, including to their families and communities?
  2. Do you think more incarcerated citizens should be released to home confinement? What circumstances do you think should lead to this sort of arrangement besides COVID precautions?

Media literacy: How do you think the two formerly imprisoned people interviewed in this piece were chosen?

 Additional resources: 

  • Take a look at this lesson to better understand the obstacles that newly released citizens face after prison.
  • This story is part of NewsHour’s “Searching for Justice” Series. Searching for Justice explores criminal justice reforms unfolding across the country, as the leaders from both sides of the political aisle attempt to end mass incarceration by rethinking laws that some say have become barriers to work, housing, and economic stability. Click here for more stories and the series and watch for more NewsHour EXTRA lesson content based on Searching for Justice stories.

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