Does This Make Sense?

There are 9,000 probationers living & working in Pinellas County. You probably don’t even notice her when she serves you & your friend lunch, cuts your bangs, takes your order for a latte or washes your car windows… Next time ask yourself if you could adequately support your family on those wages.

10 million children in the US have a parent in jail or prison. That is larger than the entire population of North Carolina! An entire state of children whose lives have been dramatically affected by the trauma of parental separation & the life of poverty that incarceration creates. Think about it.

The US incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country in the world. “Why is that?” Is it because we are committed to safety, or to punishment? Even punishing women who have problems saying no to drugs. When will we separate illnesses from crimes? “The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world not because it has higher crime rates, but because it imprisons more types of criminal offenders, including non-violent and drug offenders, and keeps them in prison longer.” 95% of the women who have participated in the Red Tent classes are in jail for drug-related offenses.

Imprisonment first became the most popular way to handle drug offenses during the 70’s & remains so today, even in the face of research to the contrary. It is said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” What is it going to take for us to wake up & try looking at this issue in another way?

“Florida and New York began the twenty-first century with nearly the same size prison population (about 70,000 inmates). During the ensuing decade, Florida added 30,000 inmates and now has more than 100,000 persons behind bars. Meanwhile, New York’s prison population fell below 60,000. Yet the crime rate dropped in both states fell by about the same rate.”

The rate of incarceration in the South almost doubles that of the North. People have been brainwashed into thinking that imprisoning addicts is a solution. In reality, it dramatically compounds the problem. Upon release, this mom now has to not only deal with the issues that led up to the drug abuse but also all the new restrictions & limitations that incarceration has piled on top of her. And we wonder why 54% return to jail…