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|Living facilities in a California State Prison(Credit Wikipedia)|
by Marcel F. Williams
Per capita, most victims of crimes are people of color. Just check the stats. So simply allowing hardworking people of color to continue to be disproportionately victimized by the anti-social individuals in their communities is obviously no solution to crime and prison overcrowding. And simply dumping former inmates back into the environments that created them in the first place tends to create a lot more crime rather than reducing it!
Are there too many people in prison? Yes! But that's because prisons now house hundreds of thousands of mentally disturbed individuals who use to sequestered away in mental institutions for the criminally insane. But America shut down most of those institutions decades ago which is part of the reason why we also have so many homeless people on our streets today.
America also abandoned any type of serious rehabilitation in US prisons decades ago. So we make it very difficult for former inmates to get jobs after they are out. What former inmate wants to tell a potential employer that he use to be in prison? And what employers wants to hire such an individual?
But simply feeling sorry for convicted felons and letting them out of prison early doesn't solve America's high crime problem.
The solution, in my opinion, is the rehabilitate convicted felons in prison and then put them in an environment where they are most likely to be productive citizens and not to return to crime.
So, the solution, in my opinion, is:
1. Prison work programs where prisoners work for private and public institutions for half the state minimum wage with 60% of their income going back to the government with the inmate only getting payed 40% of half the minimum wage as a salary. The money earned by the prisoner would be placed in a private bank account with the prisoner having absolutely no access to his or her funds-- until they are out of prison. This would allow former felons to have substantial amounts of money in the bank once they are out of prison making it economically a lot easier for them to financially reintegrate back into society.
2. Private companies that employ former felons should get an annual payroll tax rebate from both the Federal and State governments for every former felon that they employ.
3. Sentences for convicted felons should be a combination of prison time plus temporary exile to designated Sanctuary Cities.
A Sanctuary City would be a walled working city within each US state or territory designated to accommodate domestic and foreign refugees (illegal aliens) and former prison inmates transition back into society. Such Sanctuary Cities would be declared by Congress as international territories under the jurisdiction of the Federal government. Anyone with a US passport or US visa would be allowed to visit, depart, or even live and work within the walls of a Sanctuary City. Former felons would not be given passports to leave the Sanctuary City until they have completed their court mandated time within a Sanctuary City.
Felons who commit non-violent crimes should be given two years of exile within a Sanctuary City after they serve their prison sentences, IMO. Violent criminals would be exiled for five years within a Sanctuary City after serving their prison sentences.
Ex prisoners would also have full access to the money in their bank accounts once they are exiled to a Sanctuary City. This would allow states and the Federal government to shorten prison sentences while still not immediately dumping former prisoners right back into the environments that created their criminal activity in the first place.
Sanctuary cities would specialize in employing former prisoners with full workers rights and pay and would serve as test environments to see if a former prisoner has been truly rehabilitated. But rehabilitation through payed labor, providing tax incentives for employers to hire former felons, and serving the last few years of a felony sentence within the confines of designated Sanctuary Cities should dramatically lower the crime rate in most cities and towns in America, especially in minority neighborhoods, increasing public safety while catalyzing new economic growth and prosperity in America.
I will elaborate a lot more on my Sanctuary City idea in future post since I believe that this concept would be the best way to humanely deal with illegal immigration, domestic transients, and US prisoners transitioning back into society!
References and Links