"Training Ex-Offenders is the Right Thing to Do to Boost Our Economy"

Caren Carlson

Posted on February 03 2014

Jersey City, NJ's Mayor Steven Fulop is a big supporter of creating opportunities for the formerly incarcerated and is one of our major partners for SAME SKY America. We applaud his focus on prisoner reentry into society not just as a moral imperative, but an economic necessity. Read his fantastic Huffington Post article on Jersey City's initiatives and why training ex-offenders is the right thing to do to boost our economy below.

Most Americans would be shocked to know the United States has a higher incarceration rate than that of any other country in the world. One out of every hundred Americans is imprisoned today and one out of every 35 Americans is either jailed, under watch through probation or on parole. Said another way, nearly nine million Americans have been a part of our corrections system.

It's even worse if you are a person of color. For instance, the incarceration rate of black males in the U.S. today is higher than the rate of black males imprisoned in South Africa under Apartheid rule. This is a tragedy that ought to give moral pause to all Americans.

In no way am I suggesting that people who commit serious crimes ought not to be incarcerated. Instead, what I am stating is the need to change for the better the lives of those who have served their time.

We need to recognize the impact of the nation's criminal justice system has slowed our economic recovery. No doubt part of the lag in reducing the unemployment rate is the difficulty of those who have been in prison to gain respectful employment. As a nation, it is in all our interest to ensure that those Americans who have paid their debt to society are able to remake their lives and contribute to society in a positive way. There is nothing more productive than being employed.


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