Criminal justice reform is an issue that affects all of our lives in the United States. It's vital to our functionality as a nation and its impact can extend beyond what happens when you get pulled over or arrested. The criminal justice system often imposes social and economic limitations on returning citizens as they attempt to transition back into family life, community involvement, and the workforce. Reforms need to take place so that formerly incarcerated people have a fair chance at becoming productive citizens and establishing stability.
To create real change, instead of surface-level changes like building larger prisons and enforcing a cash bail system, we need deep criminal justice reforms now more than ever before. Here are five ways that America could improve its criminal justice system:
Rehabilitation VS Incarceration - The U.S. needs to reconsider incarcerating people for nonviolent drug offenses. Addiction should be treated as a health crisis, not a criminal act.
Profitable Alternatives - Inmates should be allowed to work for living wages and learn up-to-date skills that will help them to secure gainful employment after incarceration. More employment opportunities for returning citizens will reduce our recidivism rates nationwide.
Consider the Disparities - As a country, we need to change our attitudes about crime and punishment - we should not be so quick to judge. Some crimes are the result of low access to resources and/or education, which are the true disparities that need to be addressed by the American government.
Improve Police Relations & Training - Law enforcement officials need more training on how to de-escalate situations without violence. We cannot expect to increase community cooperation with the police if they don't make an effort to build a more caring and trustworthy reputation within the communities that they are assigned to.
Intervention VS Punishment - We need laws that encourage rehabilitation, rather than just punishment. Some non-drug-related offenses can be prevented or de-escalated with interventions and medical attention. The law often assumes that crimes are committed with malicious intent. However, some crimes are the result of misdiagnosed or untreated mental and/or social issues that are beyond the individual's control.
Criminal justice reform will require a political shift from our government and a mindset change from our community members. At Paroled2Pride, we do our best to help bridge the gap between returning citizens, the workforce, and the community by providing accredited career training and local volunteering opportunities. If you or your company would like to learn more about how you can help us to reduce recidivism, CLICK HERE to contact our team.