Good afternoon. It is my privilege and pleasure to speak to you today as the newly appointed crime advisor. Let me make one thing perfectly clear when it comes to my views on crime and punishment: America, it’s time for a change!
Five times the number of Americans who were incarcerated in 1970 are sitting in jails today, the majority of them poorly educated minorities from urban areas lacking educational and employment opportunities. Presently in America, many states spend more money on building and maintaining the prison system than they do on the educational and employment infrastructures of cities in those states greatly in need of refurbishing. California and Pennsylvania recently spent more than $1 billion on new prisons and refurbishment and expansion of existing ones instead of and at the expense of education and employment in areas badly in need of resources.
To whit, our modern politicians use fear to convince people that America is soft on crime and the answer to reducing crime is incarceration. Yet, if we are soft on crime, why are there more than five times the number of people in jail now than thirty years ago? If we are soft on crime why is new legislation with harsher punishments continually adopted – three strikes, trying adolescents as adults, etc.? And, if we are soft on crime why are we pouring billions of dollars into the prison system instead of spending those monies on education and employment in dilapidated urban areas?
Presently, our dilapidated urban cities act as a feeding ground for our prison systems. Lacking the resources to provide quality educational or employment opportunities, many poor, minority males turn to crime as a means of making income. As long as we continue to arrest them and lock them up without investing resources in these areas on education, employment, and other community institutions, the urban cities will continue to represent the