A message from the NIA
Once again, we stand ever so timidly on the crumbling edge of a familiar precipice. That predictable summit of selfish motives hidden in plain sight that pits black against white, poverty against prosperity, Christians against everyone else, and victims of crime against the most convenient representation of “them.” A misdirection from solutions led by a crafty powerful few who unapologetically “don’t want to do a damn thing for criminals,” but boldly site anthems of what “justice” means to theirs. Meanwhile the cost and consequence of crime and living desperately continue to grow “for all.” If we were all stuck in a collapsed mineshaft or in a burning barn, all our apparent differences would disappear as urgency swells. In those situations, the most different of hands reach in tandem to grab the same shovel with mirrored thought and intention. And nobody, politician, idol or mogul could dissuade those tandem hands.
If we follow the studies, the data and the money to explain why – perhaps why, we’d see that the picture is still the same as it has been for generations: We miseducate and underdevelop, then we over incarcerate, refuse to cure or rehabilitate, and exacerbate the depth and scale of the problem because the resulting cycle is both a cash industry and a social-control phenomenon too overblown to contend.
The unfortunate evidence is that crime, like discord and war, is good business for some. The hopeful outlook is that the masses of regular every-day people can change most, if not all of that by doing in general, these four things:
One, ignore the apparent and amplified differences between us and learn more of what we all have in common. Heard that before, haven’t you? Tried it in all truthful earnest? Not so much, right?
Two, stay aimed at the numbers – not the rhetoric – and play up our common issues by the numbers, keeping politicians answering only the numbers. Like, how many former offenders living in your district, city or state, were transformed to never be arrested again? You can extract 2 to 4 data points or numbers from that one question alone.
Three, spend our monies, our taxes and our votes on reducing those same numbers. That is if those numbers are really as frighteningly important to us as news reports suggest they are.
Four, ignore all orchestrated distractions from focusing on the three points above.
That’s it. Oh, we can make it much more complicated than this. But we don’t have to. We all know what we’re saying here.
Roland Washington is a Social Innovations Consultant and COO of the National Incarceration Association, joinNIA.com