by Jason Keag
A wise person had read what I wrote about Death By Incarceration (D.B.I), she asked “What impact does D.B.I sentences have on the community”? This is my response; I view it as a loss of positive impact by not returning those men & women who are serving Long-term/D.B.I sentences back to the community. Here is why;
First and foremost I feel one of the biggest impacts is the loss of mothers & fathers from the community. Yes that impact may have come from their own doing more times than not, but the negative side effect of not allowing those same parents to return to their children and communities by way of Long-term/D.B.I sentences it is a loss of guidance, a loss of discipline, and a loss of support for those children from that community. That has a HUGE impact on that community.
When I say there are benefits/positive impacts by returning people serving D.B.I sentences back to the community this is what I mean, I know of a few men who were serving Life Without Parole sentences, some were resentenced because of the Juvenile Lifers Bill and one or two received commutation. If you are from Philly, which I am not, you may know of them, maybe not by name but you’ve seen them on the local news trying to find ways to end gun violence in the community, or you may have ran into them at a Town hall meeting trying to bring solutions on how to reduce the recidivism rate, crime rate, and gun violence/homicide rate in the community. All of those things they are trying to accomplish are a gigantic benefit and have a positive impact on the community.
By returning those men & women back to their communities you are returning the knowledge needed to guide the younger generation onto a better course. Who can better explain to a young person in the community what their negative actions can do to their neighborhoods more than a person who has served decades for their own negative actions and have changed their course in life into something better? …
Before I go any farther let me state this, those men & women I speak of who are trying to make positive impacts in the community, a majority of them you most likely WILL NOT know by name. They don’t do it to say ” Look at me, here’s what I’m doing “, it’s NOT for notoriety or financial gain, It’s NOT for political reasons or personal gains. IT IS for the betterment of their communities.
Here is a clearer and better understandable list of what I mean by positive impacts that can come from those returning home from Long-term/D.B.I sentences;
They come get jobs, become taxpayers and bring value to their communities. A positive impact.
They either rent or buy homes which brings up the property value in those neighborhoods. A positive impact.
Some come home with the skills to open their own businesses within the community. That has MULTIPLE positive impacts from hiring employees, to the economic value it brings to the community.
They are community activists speaking with the younger generation or by finding ways to curb gun violence. A positive impact.
Some become community leaders in a sense because they are at Town Hall meetings bringing the knowledge necessary to try and bring positive change to the community. A positive impact.
Some are fighting for Justice Reform so men and women won’t be sentenced to Long-term/D.B.I sentences or can come home from such sentences. There are also multiple other areas of Justice reform they are fighting for. A positive impact.
So when I wrote, ” There are multiple benefits to returning individuals with Long-term/D.B.I sentences back to the community “, the examples I stated above is what I meant by that statement.
I have spoken about others who have reentered their communities let me speak about myself now. I will say I DO NOT have political ties or famous friends, ALL of the positive ideas I have I’ll have to put in the “leg work” to get them possibly accomplished IF/WHEN I get my second chance to be in society. Here are some of the things I would like to accomplish;
I would like to volunteer to speak at the Juvenile detention center in Pittsburgh so I can maybe bring a different view of life to the younger generation about how our negative actions bring pain & suffering to more than just our victims.
I have an idea for re-entry when it comes to jobs and their interview process which would involve Parole, the D.O.C, and businesses who hire ex felons/parolees. Which could make having a job when a person goes home easier to accomplish.
I have learned a few trades while incarcerated so obviously holding a job would be my main priority. One of the trades I am currently learning is welding, I use that for job opportunities and possibly a business opportunity somewhere in the future if possible.
I would like to find a way to help those who are incarcerated find the help & information that is needed when they file for commutation. I know how hard it is to find all the info that is sought because I have tried to find it. There is also a house that would be given to me and all I would have to do is remodel it. This would bring up the property value, give me equity, and give me a stable living environment.
Finally and obviously I will keep using my One Voice to try and bring light to the many issues within our Criminal Justice System. All of these things may seem minute to the general public but they are ALL positive impacts I could possibly have on and within my community.
Many may not see the things I have mentioned as positive impacts we have had on or could have on a community because they cannot see past the negative impacts we had on the community in the past. To you this is worth repeating, “WE ARE BETTER THAN THE STATE AND JUSTICE SYSTEM PORTRAY US TO BE”.
I do hope this clarified what I meant when I said “There are benefits/positive impacts people with D.B.I sentences can have on a community”.
What do I know, I am One Voice