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April 22, 2006

An interesting pair of Newsweek treatment articles

This week's edition of Newsweek has two interesting pieces about renewed interest in criminal justice treatment programs both within and after prison:

April 22, 2006 at 01:07 AM | Permalink

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One of the major issues that cause such high recidivism rates is the association with those convicted and unemployment. It seems that with the increase in private industry's ability to retrieve data about a persons background, arrest and other complications they [offenders] are at risk of being increasingly stigmatized as potential career criminals. A persons past record of offenses does not statistically or legally give any indication of whether or not the person will commit subsequent offenses. However, employers are allowed to use this information as derogatory references in the hiring process. First, many of the databases should be ruled intrusions into governmental property if not used for earnest intentions (the law should be changed to ensure only a reasonable extent of scrutiny). Secondly, means of allowing offenders to seek expungement is in order--by seeking this privilege, ex-convicts would be pratically excercising their ability to become better citizens while participating in governmental politics. This would increase employability because it is mitigating evidence that the former criminal is ready to re-enter with a positive note reflected on his or her background record. Thirdly, governmental agencies (also those which the government can regulate) should only be allowed to search into backgrounds at specified margins of years depending upon the importance of security at prospective positions: e.g. 3 years for construction contracts; 5 years for low security positions; 7 years for medium security positions; and 10 years for position requiring the highest degree of security. Until legislation and policy such as these are implemented, i.e. change in the hirinng practices of potential employers, offenders will continue to offend and and crime rates will continue to swell. People in America who commit crime in urban areas are largely dealing with social-economic issues suggestive of poverty. The ills of poverty are being realaxed by high rates of diliquent behavior such as: drug use, violence, disrespect toward authority (police), etc. Jobs are not the sole answer but this type of concern for social sickness and the illimination of extreme poverty is step in the right direction if we really expect to curtail crime and reduce the recidivism rate. America must become a human nation with human feelings versus one controlled by those databases which we use to label and define. A value system must replace the prospect of rejection in the market place. The message that former offenders would recieve is that America continually supports their efforts to re-entry versus they are "good for nothings." Lastly, creating jobs for offenders is not impossible; we are simply not concerned about their social, economic, and financial well-being. We seem to be more concerned that there is an abundant supply of cheap labor to replace them coming from the South. What we don't realize is that they [immigrants] are loyal to there home nations, sending capital across the border while our fellow citizens are starving and facing insanity in every major city. This helps to explain the high rates of crime and the alarming recidivism crisis.

Posted by: Christopher C. Perry, Jr. | Apr 23, 2006 10:41:33 PM

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