In prison debate, race overshadows poverty
I actually agree with parts of the Salon article and I'm saying that because its not everyday that agree with Salon about anything. But they do give me opportunities to write contrarying counterpoints to what they write which is why I use them. But in this article Mugambi Jouet is right in this sense that our prison populations has much more to do with class then race. As much as Progressives may want to argue that a big reason why our prison population is so high in America. Because minorities get convicted of crimes based on race when the fact is if you look at the prison population as a whole. Minority and majority, you see the overwhelming majority of our inmates both majority and minority. Lack basic education and skills to succeed in life and as a result have turned to crime and gangs in order to pay their bills. And of course the War on Drugs and how we treat our prison inmates also has a lot to do with it as well. Not to excuse their crimes but to explain how people become criminals in order to survive in large part. Why else would someone try to con someone else out of a fortune and steal from them and sell illegal products. To make money of course.
So its fairly simple as far as what we need to do as a country to lower our crime and prison rates. Have a better public education system so we have more students in this country not just graduating from. High school but with the skills that they need to get a good higher education and have the skills that they need. To get a good job and succeed in life, as well as have fewer parents who raise their kids in poverty. And make education and job training available to those parents so they can get themselves a good job and not. Have to live to live in poverty and have to raise their kids in poverty. What happens by doing these things, less kids going to school at what Secretary of Education Arne Duncan calls dropout factories. Schools with high dropout rates where a lot of our inmates probably have intended before dropping out of school and. Starting their criminal careers as adolescents when they should be in high school instead. These two things alone would bring down our crime and prison rates.
But even if you accomplish these two things which in today's political environment would be very hard to accomplish. We'll still have crime and prisons in this country and people who have to serve time there for the safety of society. And since most of those inmates end up being released from prison, they are going to need an opportunity to prepare themselves for life outside of prison. And that gets to things like education, work and counseling. Investments up from that pay for themselves and then some down the road.