Front of the Page…..Front of the World……On Front Street

After several conversations and some research I have come to The conclusion that over 200 million citizens of the United States are either being jacked around by the court system or are being affected by that corrupt legislative and criminal justice system. “Currently one in four American adults has an arrest or conviction record1 and around 8% of all Americans have a felony conviction2 with a population of the United States at around 320 million people that would mean that there are over 80 million people in the United States with criminal convictions. There are 2,267,000 adults presently incarcerated in the United States and that number does not include family members who are just as affected by the current political idiocy of laws, rules and regulations that are placed on both citizens and their families after their release from prison.

For every person convicted of a crime there are at least 3 to 4 family members that are negatively affected by the rules and regulations that make it hard for returning prisoners to find housing and jobs. If just the family members of people currently in prison who hope someday to be released and rejoin society would speak out . That is 9 million people, and if everyone with a criminal record and their family members stood up and spoke out against these blockades placed by legislative action against returning prisoners that would be over 200 million people. It then becomes political suicide, continuing the path the government is following now.

Perhaps it is time that returning prisoners, their friends and family members realize their power. These numbers alone when joined as one can be used to affect the world. They can be used to change the course of time and alter how our government runs things. We can make politicians stop working for their own agenda, and start focusing more on individual constitutional rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

I’m not talking about what your race, religion, creed, sexual preference or even what the crime was, I’m talking about any one and their families, that have been thrown to the wind by our judicial and political system, not just registered citizens, but everyone that has or is being denied the American dream because of mistakes in their past.

I recognize that there are people out there that believe certain individuals should be incarcerated or institutionalized forever because they are perceived as being sociopaths, but I also realized that there are citizens out there who could easily be diagnosed with this problem, somehow they find ways to function in society.

Our entire country since it’s founding has been based on the ability to have second chances in life, and that everyone in this country is on equal standing. Therefore I believe that everyone should have that right to second chance’s and that there shouldn’t be vindictive roadblocks placed on people that turn them into second-class citizens and drive them into sadness and despair to the point where they see no other option but to return to their criminal ways. There well may be people who cannot function in society, but even hardened criminals with multiple convictions can turn their lives around if you give them the opportunity to have meaningful jobs, decent places to live, and the ability to have positive friendships.

At a time in the past, the job of parole and probation officers was to work to help individuals rejoin society. Now they seem to have taken on the job of doing their best to put roadblocks that will guarantee a return to prison. Even the worst individuals can change and become functioning members of society. If you need an example of such a person read,  “The one-eyed man is king: A story of winning”, by Gordon Graham

The saying, “innocent until proven guilty”, means nothing. Nowadays we all know the truth you are, “guilty until proven innocent” and “beyond reasonable doubt”, means nothing as well.  As long as the courts are somewhat sure that you may have committed a crime you will be punished to at least the, “mandatory”, minimum which in its self is a joke.  How many of us have wanted to talk to a representative or a senator in the hopes that something will change? Well here’s the truth, they’ll all agree that the way things are being run is wrong, that is at least behind closed doors, but each and every one of them will say it would be career suicide to speak out about it.

Well what if you had, the voices of over 200 million speaking out as one behind you? That is my question. My goal is to change the world and with your help we can do that. So I ask you, my brothers and my sisters stand behind me……No, stand beside me and right the wrong. Do away with second-class citizenry because of a mistake in a person’s life. A wise man told me when you see an injustice RIGHT IT.

Realize that when Jesus stopped the people from stoning a person because of their sin,  He didn’t stop there. He also offered them a hand up and accepted them as a human being and that small effort changed their life.

I stand before you willing to be your voice, willing to carry your message and be your sword that shall pierce the veil of injustice. For together we shall become and unstoppable force fighting for our constitutional rights.

1. See Solomon, supra note 10.
2. Christopher Uggen, Jeff Manza & Melissa Thompson, Citizenship, Democracy, and
the Civic Reintegration of Criminal Offenders, 605 ANNALS AM. ACAD. POL. & SOC. SCI.
281, 288 (2006).

4 comments for “Front of the Page…..Front of the World……On Front Street

  1. Scott
    January 9, 2015 at 2:14 am

    The system failed when they stopped the funding for rehabilitation outside of the walls of prisons and county jails. People these days on the outside have no support groups or anyone they can use as an accountability partner unless they are involved with parole or probation which then cost them a supervision fee. Many who rely on churches where most rehab programs are offered are rejected from the church because of the nature of certain crimes.

    George H W Bush passed a bill called the second chance law but that is only worth the paper it was printed on if people are willing to work together within the community and the judicial system. It seems to be most of these programs aren,t offered to certain individuals based on the nature of charges.

    That needs to change. Along with morals and/or ethical practices of every individual.

    • Kathy
      January 9, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      I totally agree with Scott. Many of those reincarcerated were from the time when there was no support upon release back to society. Someone in a maximum security prison released without treatment and support is bound to failure. So, they may realize now that prisoners released may suffer from PTSD, what happens to those that fell through the cracks? Not fair and so injust!

    • February 1, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      I completely agree and this post has gotten me even more fired up! Everybody gets a second chance except RSO’s. Well, it’s time for that to change. I am trying start a ministry for the family of a SO, because I am the wife of an RSO and I know how hard it is. I want to be able to create a safe haven for families so that they can become whole again. A neighborhood where they don’t have to worry if the next door neighbor finds out or fear that they will be vandalized or protested against.

      I think that having the family support system and accountability makes all the difference in the world to prevent recidivism. And yes, many (possibly most) church’s will help until they realize the offense, but some are different. My church is actually trying to start an adult-only evening service specifically for SO’s (not to say they can’t come to any service, we have a few that come already and bring their kids, but some might be uncomfortable or are not allowed to be in a place that would also entertain children).

      I reluctantly started a public blog to try to create awareness, build a following and hopefully change some minds. Check it out please and reply or make suggestions.

      We have to find a way to put action to our passions and support our brothers and sisters facing the same issues. What’s the phrase? United we stand, divided we…sit at home (or under a bridge/in the woods) stewing in depression, dreaming of the things we could be achieving if not for the tragedy that overwhelmed our life.

      • Scott
        February 1, 2015 at 8:35 pm

        Jesus, ate with sinners. Many of his followers got mad at him and he asked, is it the healthy that need a doctor or the sick?? This type of stuff happens all to often within churches and I have been rejected by many. Someone asked me how my growth in the lord was and I simply answered not as strong as I,d like to be. They asked what stopping me, I told them because I have find it hard to be accepted in a church. I just recently stopped searching for a church and listen to online sermons from various sources.

        I do want to Thank You Ashley for starting a ministry for those in need. I was involved in something similar to that but funding for materials grew pretty short and the group eventually disolved. It was fun, we worshiped, prayed, checked in with other for support and feedback and then did a bible study. I pray it works out for you and those who you minister to.

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