Rebecca Ruiz

Rebecca Ruiz is special reports director at the Prospect.

Recent Articles

Not With My Home

Homeowners have been at the mercy of banks since the foreclosure crisis began. A network of activists and organizers is trying to change that.

In 2004, Egyptian immigrant Mohamed Nour and his wife, Heba, decided they could do better than their cramped two-bedroom apartment in Boston. They were expecting their second child, and rent was more expensive each year. They found a two-story, three-bedroom home on a tree-lined block in suburban Revere. Nour, now 41, bought the house for $337,000. In 2007, the interest on his original adjustable-rate-mortgage loan shot up by 3 percentage points. He was able to refinance at a more favorable rate, but then in 2008, his 4-year-old son, Pheras, was diagnosed with a glioma, a malignant brain tumor. Nour, a limo driver, began missing work shifts to bring his son to chemotherapy treatments. After a losing struggle to persuade his loan servicer, IndyMac, to modify the loan, Nour was told in that his only option was a forced sale to the bank for $170,000, roughly the house's present market value. Since Nour bought his home, values in Revere have plummeted 32 percent. Rejecting the so-called...

Eyes on the Prize

Our moral and ethical duty to end mass incarceration

Today, nearly 1 percent of the American adult population is imprisoned -- a rate unprece-dented in this country's history. A staggering $68 billion is spent annually on the country's local, state, and federal corrections systems. This "investment" in public safety has fundamentally transformed American society, removing a disproportionate number of nonviolent minority offenders from their communities while diverting much-needed taxpayer money from critical social programs. Most of these offenders will be released only to return to prison because of anemic re-entry efforts and policies. In recent years, these and other grim statistics, as well as enormous state and federal budget deficits, have persuaded even the staunchest advocates of incarceration to reconsider how America handles crime and punishment. We can no longer justify the cost of mass incarceration or defer its moral and social consequences. Ending mass incarceration and reducing crime rates are not mutually exclusive goals...

Care for the Caregivers

Child-care providers have long been thought of as full-time baby sitters. Government can make them well-paid professionals.

Being a child-care provider in the U.S. often means living at the edges of poverty. The average salary for the nation's 2.3 million child-care workers is $19,605, according to the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying organization. That's just a hair above the poverty level for a family of three. Despite their meager incomes, the women who provide daily care to the nation's children -- 95 percent of workers in the field are female -- are increasingly expected to provide their charges with quality learning experiences. Research has shown that early-childhood learning is a key indicator for future academic and personal success, and in recent years, policy-makers and advocates have embraced the idea that child-care workers are an essential yet neglected part of the equation. Gone are the days when child-care workers were seen as doing little more than handing out blocks and Barbies. In theory, it's a welcome shift for...