A recent report from the Public Safety Perfomance Project, financed by the Pew Charitable Trusts, drew the following conclusions:
1. The nation's state and federal prison population will reach 1,722,477 by 2011--an increase of approximately 192,000 over a five-year period.
2. This rate of growth--about 38,400 more inmates per year--is markedly higher than the growth rate of the past three years.
3. The prison incarceration rate will continue to grow, from 491 per 100,000 U.XS. residents in 2005 to 511 per 100,000 in 2006, than to 562 per 100,000 in 2011.
4. The Western region will have the largest prison population increase (18 percent) while the Northeast will experience the smallest growth (7 percent).
This next statistic boggles the mind. Pew reports: "Almost two-thirds of the estimated 600,000 plus people who are admitted to prison are those who have failed to complete probation or parole."
Did you catch that?
Yes, we release about 600,000 every year, but at the same time, we imprison another 600,000. We break even!
It's clear that many of those 600,000 who go to prison each year are repeat offenders who were released last year, the year before that, or the year before that.
So the question becomes how do we shatter this incredibly expensive cycle of crime, conviction, incarceration, release and crime?
Is it possible? Can it be done? Is there a systematic process by which criminals can become community contributors?
Unequivocably yes! It's not easy! But criminals can do it. I know. I did it!
I launched my crime career when I was five-years-old by stealing $5 from my aunt's pocketbook. Thus for 20 years, I did something criminal almost every day. Imprisoned when I was 17-years-old, I spent more than 80 of the decade's 120 months in North Carolina's prisons. Released December 9, 1968, I've spent 39 years learning how to change, how to make the arduous trek from crime to contribution.
I summarize the process this way! To change, a criminal must:
1. Break the crime habit
2. Earn an ever-free
3. Achieve the crime and prison record into insignificance
4. Teach and train others to duplicate his or her efforts
I will deal with each of these steps to change in subsequent articles, but now please understand that the families and loved ones of criminals (FLOC) play critically important roles in this proces. More on that later, too.
See you at success.