Preventing recidivism

June 13, 2023

From the May-June 2023 issue of News & Letters

Michigan—Within the first year post-release from prison, three of every five citizens will relapse back into a state of consciousness that begets physical bondage; one of those five will be murdered; and only the remaining one will maintain enough freedom to gain a job, have a child, and struggle to survive.

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How is it that spending billions of tax dollars to keep our communities safe from crime actually produces an increase in the rate of crime? Who could possibly be benefiting from a higher rate of recidivism? In other words, “Just follow the money.”

Companies like Keefe, J.L. Marcus, Mike’s Better Shoes, Union Supply, Access and GTL all target territories heavily populated with prisons. For these companies, correctional facilities are a means to financial advancement, and I believe this is the primary factor in the business of housing more human beings—whether they are innocent or guilty.

These companies benefit from a high rate of crime, incarceration and recidivism. Why would the owners of these companies want to support programs that contribute to returning citizens back into society?

If we take more of the funding designated for the criminal justice system and law enforcement and direct it towards reform and advocacy, we would see a tremendous decrease in the rate of crime, incarceration and recidivism.

Malcolm X said: ‘’Prison is a fool’s graveyard and a wise man’s university.’’ We must reevaluate our mentalities and challenge our perceptions about how we think about crime, consequences, and rehabilitation.

If prison is perceived as a concrete jungle where animals belong, then our tax dollars are going towards manufacturing wild animals. If it is perceived as a university (and why not?), then our tax dollars will be manufacturing scholars. If prison is perceived as a rehabilitation center, then our tax dollars will be used to restore citizens back into a mental, spiritual and physical state of freedom, justice and equality.

—Sean Daniels

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