Social systems vs jail time

Almost 20% of the people in jail are under the age of 26 and almost 94% of that number is men.  Most men don’t even wake up until they are 26.  There are obviously exceptions to everything but when someone lands in jail under 26 years old, the chances that they will go on and live a productive life once serving their time is questionable.  Your record could read for the rest of your life “do not hire me”.  Also, consider this, 50% of all black males have been arrested by the time they turn 23.

Our attorney General, Jeff Sessions, seems to be stuck to a theme that didn’t work in the 70’s which is of heavy-handed jail terms and a belief that our streets are riddled with crime.  The data points otherwise but the Trump administration is not interested in data, they are only interested in what they believe with no facts.  They are fabulous at creating fear around unfounded data which is just like hearing fake news spewed at you all day long until at one point you actually believe it.

In California, a place where change is taking place around future thinking, there is a program in the courts based on science.  The data shows that adults under the age of 24 have not fully matured yet they are being tried as adults in court.  Scientists believe that an immature brain may contribute to some criminal behavior. Considering that this generation of 24-year-olds will live to be 100, the concept of just tossing them in jail for a crime and hoping that they get on with their lives or not is a huge expense to all of us.  A program in California took people for this age and instead of putting them in jail, gave them an alternative to meet with the court administrators to help them with employment, housing and education.  They also go to weekly therapy and life-skills classes.

I really like these approaches.  It might not save everyone but this way of thinking can have a better impact on the community, the economy and most important, a human life.