Urban Planning for the Depopulation of Prisons

Throwing money at prisons is not the answer except for those who are doing the receiving.
Throwing money at prisons is not the answer except for those who are doing the receiving. | Source
Source

Building more prisons is flawed thinking.

If new prisons are built they will soon be overcrowded after a generation; Because, state laws will conform to populating this federally funded "cash cow" that in many cases employ entire communities. Building more prisons is flawed thinking. It circumvents the real issue of legislative reform which will ultimately empower those who are traditionally muted and underrepresented in society. Local and state governements, NPO's, grassroots organizations, families of the victims and religious institutions must actively be involved to lower the explosive rate of recidivism.
Tension from overcrowding prisons can be relieved by streamlining aide to grassroot organizations that directly affect the lives of ex-offenders. Largely, in the past Department of Correction (D.O.C.) issues have been addressed in a trickle down (Supply- Side Economy) fashion, starving any hope of prison reform.

Two Fronts


This is a problem that has to be addressed on two fronts: federal and grassroots levels. The responsibilities of both are equally important. It is essencial to have guidelines for federal funding, that's easily accessible without local or state bureacracy hindering progress and fattening their coffers. Some oversight may be necessary but directing provisions through the government, some foxes in the desert may be encountered that ciphen the lion's share of aid earmarked to assist previously incarcerated persons who are qualified for reintegration (i.e prison construction).

"More than 60% of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities. For Black males in their thirties, 1 in every 10 is in prison or jail on any given day. These trends have been intensified by the disproportionate impact of the "war on drugs," in which two-thirds of all persons in prison for drug offenses are people of color."

http://www.sentencingproject.org/template/page.cfm?id=122

Employment

There are a few organizations in the community that have programs that teach trade skills, offer certified training for basic employment, offer free computer courses and provide temporary employment. Nevertheless, the real challenge is to connect full-time employers with previously incarcerated individuals in an economy that has a high unemployment rate. One option is a Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) for employers that hire ex-offenders. WOTC is impractical, just a smoke and mirrors act, created for the sake of just saying that it exists. The incentives to employers are outweighed by the hoops they must jump (The employer has to be informed of the tax credit before they hire and must complete IRS form 8850 the day after the job is offered) usually for a person they never seen, fresh out of prison.

"To teach a son no trade is to teach that son to steal" Arabic Proverb

The Electric Chair at Holman Prison in Alabama pictured. It's affectionately called "Yellow Mama"
The Electric Chair at Holman Prison in Alabama pictured. It's affectionately called "Yellow Mama" | Source

Exit Strategy for the Department of Corrections

Alabama

Currently, Alabama has over 35 state prisons not including federal prisons or county jails. Every day ex-convicts are being released into the community from these facilities, county, municipal jails and federal prisons. Politicians remain apprehensive to address this fact because endorsing crime prevention through reform makes them unpopular with their constituents. Yet, ex-convicts are coming in and blending into our neighborhoods and communities everyday! Some who are still on probation or parole and many with end of sentence (E.O.S) status.

Crime & Punishment in a New Millennium,


To be a premier 21st century urban center a strategy that addresses housing and employment for ex-offenders with clarity must exist. The more successful the program the metro contracts, the lower the crime rate. If there is no strategy the crime rate will increase by default, more money will be funnelled into police departments and the judicial system will be in perpetual gridlock. Weak districts coerse planning boards to banish ex-offender facilities outside politcial jurisdictions. This produces short term problems for future generations and the emnity of our children (black and white) will be directed towards failing fathers and community leaders.

Sesame Street Incarceration Visit

Local Organizations:

You swim - I sink or I sink - you swim; mentally permeates our community and create social tension by dividing the have nots from the have lesser.

Huntsville Alabama

Local organizations that assist previously incarcerated individuals like Project FOCUS, Alabama Nonviolence Offenders Organization (ANVOO) and Huntsville Madison County Community Collabrorative (HMCCC) and a few others are be applauded because their mission is geared to help the ex-inmates. Yet even within these organizations, certain pressure and financial woes persist.

NPO Outcasts

The plight of ex-offenders should not be disregarded our community. Organizations like Aid to Inmate Mothers (AIM) have no incentive to exist in Huntsville (they have branches in Montgomery and Birmingham). Organizations that render useful services should not be stigmatized, as community leaders do now shun. On one hand we all want safe communities on the other hand we need to support those who deserve a shot after paying there debt to society.

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No Mercy!

In America RACISM acts as a mortar that holds the Department of Corrections together in the States while exploiting African Americans, etc. (i.e His panics but not Asians) and acts as cash vacuum in the pockets of the average Joe or/and Jane Doe.
In America RACISM acts as a mortar that holds the Department of Corrections together in the States while exploiting African Americans, etc. (i.e His panics but not Asians) and acts as cash vacuum in the pockets of the average Joe or/and Jane Doe. | Source

Effectiveness of the U.S. Justice System

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Stop the Madness!

In America RACISM acts as a mortar that holds the Department of Corrections together in the States while exploiting African Americans, etc. (i.e Hispanics but not Asians) and acts as cash vacuum in the pockets of the average Joe or/and Jane Doe.

Deception of the Masses

A gross misrepresentation occurs that develops into enigmas that seem impossible to unravel. Ignorance prevails upon the back of the pretexts like, blacks must be inherently criminal due to the high incarceration statistics. Furthermore hopelessness is fueled when it seems like nobody cares and the status-quo is maintained due to fear of reprisal from the establishment.

21st Century Institutional Involuntary Servitude

Source

INSIDE/OUT (anon)

IN PRISON
AT WORK
... you spend the majority of your time in a 10 x 10 cell.
... you spend the majority of your time in a 8 x 8 cubicle.
...you get three meals a day.
...you get an unpaid break for one meal that you have to buy yourself.
...you get time offfor good behavior.
...you get more work for good behavior.
... the guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you.
...you must often carry a security card and open all the doors for yourself.
...you can watch TV and play games.
...you could get fired for watching TV and playing games.
...they allow your family and friends to visit.
...you aren't even supposed to speak to your family.
... all expenses are paid by the taxpayers with no work. required.
...you get to pay all your expenses to go to work, and they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for prisoners.
...you spend most of your life inside bars wanting to get out.
...you spend most of your time wanting to get out and go inside bars.
An interesting perspective on the interrelations of the two worlds.

"All I'm offering is the truth nothing more" Morpheus

© 2014 Reginald Boswell

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4 comments

Reginald Boswell profile image

Reginald Boswell 2 years ago from Alabama Author

Teaches, I gleaned the chart from an old ditto that I had before the internet days (no source was on it). I though it was clever so I shared it with the hub community. As for the powers that be a city editor requested this piece. However, when I submitted it he only winced. "Too raw I said to him" he responded "we like raw" but I guess it wasn't for public consumption at the time (late Sept 2014). Furthermore,"you spend most of your time wanting to get out and go inside bars." is a misnomer I currently have 52 months sober when I get off work I don't consume alcohol.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Your chart really made me think about how we are really working within a prison atmosphere. I only hope the powers that be read your article on prison reform. Prisons only address the symptoms, not the cause.


Reginald Boswell profile image

Reginald Boswell 2 years ago from Alabama Author

Thanks for the commentary Ms. Dora on our journey we encounter people gather experience and live with hope. What I found out is that I must at times take the unpopular route. Its like eating vegetables in the long run its for the best and I sleep well at night.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

I learned much--nothing I'm happy about--from your article. Your inside/out chart is very insightful and the statistics make black men look like the worst of creatures. However, as with Moses who had a death sentence on him before he was born, we must play our roles like the midwives, his mother, his sister and even the Egyptian princess to see that our boys remain alive. We really do not need more prisons; we need a new system. Thanks for dealing with this issue.

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