Skip to comments.Thanksgiving is a Time for Caring, for the Children of the Incarcerated
Posted on 11/26/2015 8:08:37 AM PST by Kaslin
The Thanksgiving season is upon us, and as most Americans look forward to spending this special time of year with family and friends, many other Americans, including 2.7 million children, are forced to spend the holidays without their mother and/or father, through no fault of their own.
In all too many homes, there will be an empty seat at the Thanksgiving table.
The U.S. criminal justice system incarcerates more citizens than any other country in the world including, incredibly, those with authoritarian (or worse) governments. That makes it impossible to ignore the high cost we pay as a society for a cycle of shattered communities, broken families and Americans that are lost to a life of crime.
While these people are behind bars often for a reason, we must ask ourselves: Is this really how we want our children to be raised by relatives or foster parents? Is this cycle something that we want to continue, or is there a way to break that disturbing cycle, at least for the children of some of the incarcerated?
There's hope on the horizon for many of these families. There's a gathering consensus giving rise to a national movement toward a more effective criminal justice system one that promises to improve public safety, to save taxpayer dollars and to strengthen families through data-driven reforms at the state and federal level.
Those reforms have already demonstrated their effectiveness in states such as Texas and Georgia. It's all the more striking in that these are both deeply "red" states that no one would suggest are in any way "soft on crime."
U.S. taxpayers spend $80 billion per year on the state and federal jail and prison systems, and billions more in collateral consequences to our families and communities. The time to reverse course on this destructive path is now.
We can protect the public while also reducing prison sentences for low-level, nonviolent offenders, who make up a majority of our prison population. Our system should instead focus costly public-safety resources on those criminals who truly pose a serious public threat. A good first step would be enactment into law of the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Oct. 1and which enjoys surprisingly broad, bipartisan support. This and a number of other pieces of legislation currently being considered by Congress offer reforms that would greatly improve the plight many Americans face.
Alternatives to incarceration, such as restitution, as well as recidivism-reduction programs, have effectively decreased prison populations in many states, and through programs operated by faith-based and community organizations, many inmates have changed their lives, and now contribute to society and care for their families instead of becoming career criminals.
The best-known example of faith-based communities working to reduce recidivism and to turn lives around is Prison Fellowship, a Christian outreach group founded in 1976 by onetime Nixon administration Special Counsel Chuck Colson after he served seven months in federal prison himself on Watergate-related charges.
The Leesburg, Va.-based Prison Fellowship's operating premise is simple, but heartfelt: "Remember those in prison," it says on its website's homepage. "Even the most broken lives and situations can be restored and made whole when we respond to God's call to serve men and women behind bars." Prison Fellowship's mission includes material, emotional and spiritual support for the families and loved ones of the incarcerated.
At this time of year especially, it's important to remember the inherent dignity of each human life, including those having served time in our nation's jails and prisons, and those closest to them.
The time has come for Americans on both sides of the political divide to join hands to support meaningful criminal justice reform that breaks this cycle of incarceration and instead provides a cycle of redemption and second chances.
If not for the incarcerated, let's do it for our children this Thanksgiving season.
Sorry, I’ve run out of room for another guilt trip. The responsibility lies with the two who got naked and produced the babies.
Maybe they should have thought about their children before they committed their crimes.
A great article and spot on. Too many NONVIOLENT offenders are sitting in cages. That space should be better used for VIOLENT offenders. But alas, the profitability is in locking up drug offenders and drunk drivers. Not the murderers and sex offenders.
Arm the populace, use prisons for the violent scum amongst us, and watch criminality plummet.
I remember a child being late for school and when asked by the teacher why he was late, his response went like this.
“The car wouldn't start so I had to wait while daddy went out and stole a battery”!!!
(1) We incarcerate more people than "authoritarian countries" by definition because those countries are themselves large prisons. Any prisoner in the US would rather be where he is than out of prison in North Korea or Zimbabwe.
(2) One ethnic group makes up such a large percentage of our prisoners that, if they were left out of the equation, our rate of incarceration would be pretty low.
As usual, THANK A DEMOCRAT for the mess we’re in. Destroy the Black American Family, and THIS is the end result; generational incarceration, millions of children without fathers in the home, millions of women DEPENDENT upon Mother Government for their three hots and a cot, etc.
All. By. Design.
But, I’m preachin’ to the choir...
I’m NOT heartless; I just think the FACTS of the matter need to be out there before SOLUTIONS can be implemented.
Well, they didn’t. So what are we supposed to do now? If it’s a nonviolent offense, they should not be in prison. It serves no ones interests. Except, of course, the interests of the judicial/prison industrial complex.
We pay for the children of baby daddies whether they are in jail or they have not been caught yet. What’s new.
So then who is going to fill that seat? Some militant lesbo from child “protective” services? The wandering mobs of ghetto rats?
Or are you volunteering?
If the incarcerated were more responsible to their families they wouldn’t be incarcerated.
Then how should nonviolent offenders be punished?
I’m taking the not so laughable position that drug dealers are usually funding their own habit and that it would be far cheaper to legalize the substance in question than fill jails and provide profitability for the cartels. I also favor getting the people who are sitting in jails and consuming resources out of jail when they pose minimal risk.
Unfortunately, a lot of so called conservatives are of the persuasion that mama government needs to step in to protect people from their own folly.
let’s do it for our children this Thanksgiving season.....For the CHILLRUNNNN. Good Lord! Stop it already!!! Conform to the laws of the land, stop screwing everything that walks and MAKE A LIVING.
Do “those with authoritarian (or worse)governments” execute rather than incarcerate? Just wondering.
Townhall should be renamed Downhill.
More liberal blather. The missing parent is most likely where he or she belongs, and it’s no one’s fault but their own.
No I am 75 and I have already adopted 3 children. Have you?
The fathers place will probably be taken by another bum but we can always hope not.
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