Sunday, October 07, 2007

Saddled with debt and expected to prosper

Why is it we think that tightening the screws on people will somehow make them recover? In actuality, I believe it does just the opposite.

It wasn't until I started talking to people who were getting out of jail that I realized serving a jail/prison sentence doesn't make you "free" when you're done. Instead, once you get out, you continue to have to make weekly visits to a parole officer (sometimes for years later), along with paying monthly fees...despite the fact that you have no job and you now have a record so most people won't hire you.

From what I've heard from parolees, most of them aren't given support by their parole officer. They need leads for viable jobs, guidance, etc. Perhaps the parole officer has too many on his/her caseload...but the other big problem is that few people are hiring ex-offenders.

Last year, a job fair for ex-offenders was highly promoted. After it was over a man came in my office looking for employment. I mentioned the job fair. Very bitterly, he explained to me that only about 2 people showed up to offer jobs. Wrongly, I doubted his sincerety. Later, however, I heard that, sure enough, only 2-3 businesses had showed up to the tune of over 200 ex-offenders looking for jobs.

Still believe that ex-offenders don't want to work?

There are many other issues that exist with the prison system...a major one to me being that we spend more to house prisoners than we do to try to educate them while they are still children...which would often prevent them from going to prison.

Ted Koppel presents more about this tonight on the Discovery Channel. You can go here and click on Inside Prison Exclusive Video to see a preview of what he will be talking about. Click on the heading of this post to read a New York Times Opinion article on the debt that one has after coming out of prison.
Post a Comment