A big to do was made about this announcement. It seemed the government was serious about actually doing something about the prison system. It got a lot of press. Our president was going to start releasing prisoners. 6000 sounded like a great first step. So many politicians were jumping on the bandwagon, although each party blamed the other for causing the problem in the first place. Since the people want change if politicians didn’t at least pretend to want it, it could cost them votes. But what they tell people during their campaigning they could always change later. No one is really obligated to follow through with their campaign promises.
I waited. There was something missing from this story. Something vital, and I wasn’t hearing anything about. Today I started hearing the truth, but not all of it. They aren’t really releasing 6000 locked up United States prisoners. Almost 1/3 are illegal aliens they’d been holding. And they politely call them “Foreign Citizens”. That’s a switch. They’ll be sending them home. Many of the rest were already scheduled for release.
An article written by Jeff Pegues of CBSnews.com wrote an article that voiced some of my concern.
“This is all going to be dropped into the laps of the American police,” said New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton. “We are letting them out of jail, but treatment is not there. Job training is not there. Housing, for many of them, is not there.
Asked if he believed his concerns have been heard at the Federal level, Bratton answered, “No.”
An earlier article stated they would be sent to halfway houses because inmates are supposed to have a step down program – rehabilitation programs. It’s hard to go from prison to the street, especially if you are in for drugs. You need treatment. It’s easy to get drugs in prison. If you don’t have a support structure on the outside how will you make the change? There will be no jobs for them, and no housing. There are not enough halfway houses as it is and there is no housing for these inmates. Many families of inmates are low income. If they live in section 8 housing or government subsidized housing a former inmate can’t live there or they will kick the entire family out.
There is a box on job applications asking if you have ever been convicted of a felony. There are people working to get that eliminated, but it’s still there now. Even though businesses aren’t supposed to discriminate, they do. Jobs are hard enough to get. How successful will these people be when they have been dumped on the street and have no programs to help them assimilate into a society that really doesn’t want them – those that say, “Once a loser always a loser.” People will not want them living next to them. There is no help for these people. It’s hard to follow through with having a better life when the shackles are still on their ankles. Many will fail. I think it is intentional. Even the police know this. They feel the problem is being dumped on them.
There is another important point and I have yet to see this discussed. The Prison Industrial Corporation that owns so many of our state prisons or has contracts with the government for 20 years that promises those prisons will be kept full is never going to agree to give up their profit. Maybe that is why only a small percentage Federal prison inmates will benefit from having 2 years of their sentence shortened, as long as they didn’t have previous sentences that included a weapon. But of the 2.3 million inmates only 800,0000 are in Federal prisons – less than 25%. The other 75% are in state prison. So most of the inmates can’t even hope to be included.
Most of the inmates are black. Only 1/6 are white. There are more Hispanics than whites but there is still a huge gap between both of them compared to black inmates who are the ones who have been aggressively targeted. I’d like to know how the percentages fare when compared to those released. It is a fair question considering white privilege in this country. If it shows up in those released as well, it will cause a problem.
It seems to me that this is, to a large degree, a smoke screen that looks like a good thing until you take a closer look at it. Because of the shoddy way they are dealing with the inmates there will probably be a high recidivism rate. If that is the case then they will have their proof that they really should have never let them go. Time will tell.
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