Note to Ben Thompson
Ben, I read the Times article as you suggested. I found it terribly discouraging. There are always, it seems, good people (such as Peter Santos and Mayor Booker in the article) who want to help, but no program yet that seems to be effectively working for the majority of the returning ex-offenders, helping them to get back into life and work and stay there.
You’re right, the educational component is missing from the Newark program(s). And education may be, as you believe, the missing factor, although I sometimes think that there are problems that will always go beyond our ability to remedy, and this may, at the moment anyway, be one of them.
I guess I would agree with Ms. Giardi when she says: “A lot of these guys want the easy way out. We can give them everything — hold their hand, give them a job and a place to live — but something has to click in their head. I don’t think anyone has figured out what that magic switch is.”
What about you?
"Something has to click in their head." In fact one can probably say that about most everyone, ex-offenders certainly, but also kids in our inner city public schools, even our own children on occasion. The only effective change strategy has to come from within. I guess we know that and that from the outside we can’t make that "click" happen, try as we might.
Ben Thompson is the CEO of STRIVE, the Boston, Massachusetts branch of STRIVE National. STRIVE under Ben’s leadership has decided to concentrate its re-training efforts on ex-offenders, first helping them to complete high school and at least two years of community college, before helping them to find a job.
For recidivism is considerably less for those ex-offenders who have gone back to school, and remained until graduation, than for those going directly from prison to job, most often one usually not paying a living wage.
The Times article makes clear the extent of the problem we are facing, one that neither Hillary or Barack is addressing.
First that in Newark alone, some 2,300 men and women pour into the city from prison each year, and that 65 percent are rearrested within five years, and also that one in six adult residents of the city has a criminal record.
And second that even with crime at historic lows, the number of people behind bars in the country is 2.3 million, its highest level ever, according to the Pew Center on the States; last year, there were 7 million people in jail or prison, on probation or on parole.Explore posts in the same categories: Current Affairs