CARS HOMES JOBS

Helping prisoners re-enter successfully helps us all

Monday, December 24, 2012
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Re-entry is one of the most dangerous times for an astronaut. The same is true for people returning to the community after years in prison. They need help and guidance, of the kind the Schenectady County Re-entry Task Force is providing, if they are to make it back successfully and turn their lives around.

If you just release them and send them back without support — or, worse, have laws that make it difficult or impossible to get housing and employment — they’re very likely to commit another crime and return to prison. (Sometimes they’ll even commit the crime so they can return). And society pays the price — with new victims, and the costs of more cops, prosecutors and incarcerating the criminal again.

Avoided costs are important to economists. But in this case they should also be important to anyone who cares about the concepts of justice, redemption and salvation. They represent a human being saved, and often a family along with him. They mean prison has been used as it should be — not as something that defines and marks one for life, but as a finite punishment, with the prisoner getting a legitimate second chance afterward.

The Schenectady County task force has been operating since 2009, guiding the transition of around 150 prisoners a year, helping them get mentoring, counseling, housing and employment. It is funded and overseen by the state, and run by the nonprofit Center for Community Justice. It’s one of 19 such efforts in the state — a smart, cost-effective and humane approach to criminal justice.

 
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comments

December 25, 2012
10:29 a.m.
wmarincic says...

Hey Gazette, I see lots and lots of stories about the criminals but never any stories about the police unless they are lies or some made up story to make them look bad like the stripper story with no place to post a comment. Maybe you should try to be unbiased for once. The criminals made a choice to hurt someone else either by robbery, rape, assault or murder and you treat them better than the Schenectady Police who put their lives on the line every day. You really should be ashamed of yourselves.....

December 28, 2012
6:22 a.m.
tonijean613 says...

Hey-wmarincic- you clearly have not been paying attention. Most people arrested and in jail are for minor drug offenses, and most of those are people of color and from poor neighborhoods due to the police discriminating and searching and frisking not based on evidence but based on appearance. When I start to see corporate white collar theives, or white upper class people who buy the drugs and fund the drug trade which is the sadly most of the time the ONLY option of survival. And clearly, you have not been paying attention to the increasing brutality the police have been engaging in against peaceful protesters including young professional women and grandmothers who have been pepper sprayed and beaten by police for simply exersizing their right of free speech and assembly (the Occupy Movement and Anti-war) which are mostly made up of educated and professional people wanting to create political change peacefully. The burden is on the police to protect and serve, not to terrorize its citizenry. The character of a society is based on how its government and police treat all its citizens- with dignity and basic human rights. America is no longer the beacon on a hill and moral compass it once was. The pressure should be on the police and our government to be and act better than criminals

December 28, 2012
10:16 a.m.
Will1960 says...

For those of you who doubt tonijean613's statements on racial disparities in the enforcement of the drug war, they are backed up with facts and studies from the Sentencing Project in Washington DC. The SP have been studying incarceration rates and trends for 20 years. You can see them for yourself by going to their website at www.Sentecningproject.org.

December 28, 2012
10:18 a.m.
Will1960 says...

For those of you who doubt tonijean613's statements on racial disparities in the enforcement of the drug war, they are backed up with facts and studies from the Sentencing Project in Washington DC. The SP have been studying incarceration rates and trends for 20 years. You can see them for yourself by going to their website at www.Sentencingproject.org.

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