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Yale Divinity School Student Talks About Life Behind Bars

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George Chochos.
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George Chochos.
A former inmate hopes to bring an insider’s perspective to the national discussion on prison reform.

Lawmakers in Washington are considering federal criminal justice reform legislation, as some 6,000 inmates are released nationwide, part of the largest one-time release of federal prisoners in U.S. history.

An ex-offender from Connecticut is in Washington, DC today to tell his story as part of Senate and House briefings with faith leaders.

George Chochos was sentenced to 14-years in prison for multiple bank robberies in New York State. While behind bars, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bard College and New York Theological Seminary. A few years after his release, he entered Yale Divinity School where he is currently a student.

The former inmate said he hopes to bring an insider’s perspective to the national discussion on prison reform. 

"To hopefully cast a new vision for what I believe a more just criminal justice and prison system could look like, that takes into consideration public safety, victims’ rights, also re-entry," Chochos said. "A good majority of those in prison are returning home. How do we want them to return home so they can become productive members of society?”

Today's briefings, presented by the Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition, center on moral questions raised by the 'Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015', considered by many criminal reform advocates to be the measure with the best chance of passing Congress this year.

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