The pandemic provided a natural experiment, one that suggests fewer people in jail does not lead to more crime








and decide if the sentences below are True or False?

1. COVID-19 led to a increase in arrests nationwide.

2. California released thousands of inmates from its jails and prisons to prevent COVID outbreaks.

3. Critics were concerned that releasing inmates would lead to an increase in crime rates.

4. Downsizing measures in California before the pandemic had a considerable impact on public safety.

5. Critics were proven right when violent crime rates increased in California during the pandemic.

6. Homicide rates in 2020 were higher than peak rates in the early 1990s.

7. The study suggests that downsizing prisons and jails won’t lead to an increase in crime rates.


Key: 1. F; 2T; 3T; 4F; 5F; 6T; 7T




  • decarceration – release from imprisonment
  • to go hand in hand with sth – to be closely related to something and happen at the same time as this thing or as a result of it
  • inmate – a person who is confined to an institution such as a prison
  • to expedite – to make something happen more quickly
  • to stem – to stop sth form spreading, increasing, or continuing
  • uptick – an increase, rise, or upward trend
  • to parse – to study (something) by looking at its parts closely; to analyze


Practice makes perfect

Watch the video and answer the questions below:


1. Have you ever been in a situation where you had to be creative to survive?

2. Do you think that prisoners should have access to rehabilitation programs?

3. What do you think are the biggest challenges that ex-offenders face when they try to reintegrate into society?

4. Do you think that entrepreneurship can be a way for ex-offenders to start over?

5. What do you think society can do to help ex-offenders succeed after they are released from prison?


Fill in the gaps with the words in bold below. Make sure their grammatical form is correct.


             savvy           ingenuity        uptick        expedite  

   to stem              go hand in hand

1. We’re starting to see a pretty major ………….. in sales.

2. This government is consciously …………….. progress.

3. Power and fear sometimes …………………… .

4. I’m going to call her and see if she can help …………… the process.

5. These kids are even more ………… because the Internet came along at the same time that they did.

6. I was truly impressed by their effort and …………… .



Key: 1. uptick ; 2. stemming; 3. go hand in hand; 4. expedite; 5. savvy; 6. ingenuity



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Damon Horowitz teaches philosophy through the Prison University Project, bringing college-level classes to inmates of San Quentin State Prison. In this powerful short talk, he tells the story of an encounter with right and wrong that quickly gets personal.