The shockingly high recidivism rate could easily be reduced if society would shoulder some responsibility — specifically for non-violent drug offenders.At least that’s what Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker and former New York Gov. David Paterson — who spoke Tuesday morning about recidivism and racism at a panel hosted by Stroock law firm — say.
During the talk, Paterson observed the smartest students in the Chicago Public School system are the gang leaders because they’re giving kids what they need — structure, a way to make money, and some sense of belonging.
Until society steps up and gives those kids that same sense of security, according to Paterson, this non-stop cycle of people going to prison on nonviolent drug offenses is never going to end.
Adults need an extra hand from society, too, Paterson and Booker said.
One of the main reasons so many ex-inmates re-offend is they aren’t given enough of a chance to turn their lives around.
“These guys come home and you’re saying raise your kids,” but when dealing drugs provides the best economic options to pay child support and feed their families, what can society expect them to do, Booker asked.
Paterson concurred, asking where these men, and women, should go once they’re released if they have so few options available to them.
One solution is abolishing the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, which Booker called the government agency he hates the most.
The commission was originally established to monitor the ports, which were once under the control of the Mafia.
However, now the commission places undue rules on businesses at the ports and often filters out men who were recently released from prison stemming from nonviolent drug charges who are now looking for work, according to Booker.
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