Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Fixing societal problems, standing with the accused

According to the Times:
[T]he huge pool of poorly educated black men are becoming ever more disconnected from the mainstream society, and to a far greater degree than comparable white or Hispanic men.

Especially in the country's inner cities, the studies show, finishing high school is the exception, legal work is scarcer than ever and prison is almost routine, with incarceration rates climbing for blacks even as urban crime rates have declined.


According to census data, there are about five million black men ages 20 to 39 in the United States.

Terrible schools, absent parents, racism, the decline in blue collar jobs and a subculture that glorifies swagger over work have all been cited as causes of the deepening ruin of black youths. Scholars — and the young men themselves — agree that all of these issues must be addressed.


In a society where higher education is vital to economic success, Mr. Mincy of Columbia said, programs to help more men enter and succeed in college may hold promise. But he lamented the dearth of policies and resources to aid single men.

"We spent $50 billion in efforts that produced the turnaround for poor women," Mr. Mincy said. "We are not even beginning to think about the men's problem on similar orders of magnitude."

Well, here's something that's not going to help:

Facing threats of litigation and pressure from Washington, colleges and universities nationwide are opening to white students hundreds of thousands of dollars in fellowships, scholarships and other programs previously created for minorities.
I work with criminal offenders every day. Many of them feel trapped, hopeless. The solution is not more punishment (especially those awful boot camps), it is more opportunity. Job Corp., encouraging mentors (not locking them all up).

What a tragic waste of time to continue the failed drug war and other attempts that do not empower communities but instead terrorize them by failing to address the root causes of criminality. Simply throwing money at stop-gap measures that fail to make any true changes must end.

I hope to always fight for hope, always stand for those who society claims are worthless, even if simply by association (e.g. black male or someone with a prior record = bad or irredeemable). Why? I am a public defender, that's my job. Nobody is without any redeeming value.


Blogger smokevertigo said...

Right on! You have to deal w/ crazy people who don't know the difference between right and wrong, with no empathy for others...also known as jurors.

3:50 PM  

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