• Preventing Violent Crimes

    In Hempstead, NY multiple violent crimes have been reported for many decades such as murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults. Technically speaking, the crime rate took 14 years to drop beyond its starting point. In fact, from 2004 until 2009 the violent crime rate spiked so high that it took 9 years to get it below the 2004 statistic. I’ll save the 20 years of data from 1980 - 2000 for another blog. However, that is why we focus on working with people that are charged with violent crimes to combat the high violent crime rate, especially gun violence.

    Recently, I came across a report on 4/08/2021 and President Biden announced to focus on putting federal funding into local guns and violence prevention programs. This is important because urban areas are typically getting the short end of the stick when it comes to funding smaller local violence prevention programs. It has always been a high focus to address gun violence more around public shootings or mass shootings, or school shootings, but not so much on the people and programs in impoverished urban communities to end the ongoing violence.

    President Biden described the current intervention programs as being “badly underfunded or not funded at all.” His responses have shown he identified the problems and made changes to multiple current grant programs between various departments to highlight the work that needs to be done with people in racially divided, high-crime, impoverished neighborhoods where homicides are most severe and widespread. 

    It is clear, in the United States, a wedge exists between the people from poorer communities and law enforcement. We must fortify the relationship between law enforcement and the community. Why? Because law enforcement part in gun violence in our community is not a problem for them to solve on their own, it is an ongoing issue for the community members and leaders along with law enforcement to resolve together. However, law enforcement, city officials, the state, and government must understand that the community leaders and members of those neighborhoods are the most valuable to resolving the problems because of their direct experience of the problem with violent crimes especially gun violence.

    The cost of gun violence in the US is $280 billion. By investing funds into smaller local nonprofit programs that are closer to the people that live in these distressed communities affected by the crimes committed will lower the crime rate, and save the taxpayer dollars. 

    More than anything we need to focus on saving lives in our community. Not just by gun violence but by fighting violent crimes overall. The victim of a gun crime equals two lives lost. The shooter will now have to spend the rest of their life imprisoned or worst. Families are also mourning the death of their loved ones. Children are affected, wives or girlfriends are left to raise their child or children alone with very little support. The victim’s friends even take a loss. Also, the family members of the friends, who may have not had a relationship with the victim at all, feel the pain of their loved one’s grief. This is a communal problem. Not a victim, victimizer problem. Many people continuously suffer from violent crimes, especially gun violence crimes.

     

    Please note, as I am writing this blog the news reported that a man shot 3 people and killed one of the 3 victims at the Stop & Shop in W. Hempstead. Currently, the police have Terrace Avenue blocked off because the shooter allegedly is hiding in the area.

     

    At the end of the day, let’s put these programs into play by developing partnerships, building community relationships, fortify a relationship with law enforcement, local non-profits, and the community members to make a positive change for years to come.

  • Are there any adult corrections programs that work?

    The title of the blog is important for many reasons. One reason is a positive return on taxpayer investment. We focus on implementing an evidence-based re-entry program that produces desired outcomes however, our title refers to the various types of corrections programs. For example drug courts, boot camps, drug treatment, correctional industries employment programs, and of course re-entry programs and others. It is clear, some of these programs work and some do not. The goal is to take these mixed findings and pour resources into the ones that are proven to reduce recidivism and create a one-stop-shop program.

    Reducing recidivism or rearrest is the goal for many reasons. One approach that needs to be taken to produce positive outcomes with the program participants is to provide Cognitive Behavioral Treatment. I’m not talking about Mental Health treatment such as what is practiced by court personnel, or mental health courts. What I’m talking about is intervening to improve mental health. This type of organized therapy addresses, irrational thoughts, and beliefs that lead to distortions, and anti-social behavior. CBT programs are designed to help offenders correct their thinking and provide opportunities to model and practice problem-solving and pro-social skills.

    Job training and placement and educational programs for incarcerated individuals have also been proven to work. The educational, vocational, and job skills of adult offenders is important for an inmate that will soon be discharged. These programs will begin during the individual’s incarceration and continue post-release or in the community for the formerly incarcerated. It is well-known that employment and educational programs have shown meaningful reductions in recidivism rates. These programs are put into five categories.

    1. In-prison Correctional Industries Program

    Statistically, these types of programs have proven to produce a noteworthy reduction in recidivism rates. 

    1. Basic Adult Education Programs in Prison 

    Providing remedial educational skills to young adults and adult detainees during incarceration has also shown favorable results in reducing recidivism rates.

    1. Employment Training

    We investigated the outcomes of multiple meticulous evaluations of community-based employment training programs for people held in custody and found it plays a statically significant role in reducing recidivism rates and preventing re-arrest and is cost-effective. 

    1. Job Assistance Programs in the Community

    Developing an individual plan for people incarcerated and providing a place for job searches, and job assistance, and helping these young adults and adults execute their plan can produce a modest but statistically significant reduction in recidivism.

    1. Vocational Education Programs in Prison

    Vocational training programs for individuals in corrections generally reduce recidivism and increases an inmate’s chances of securing employment after release. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, inmates who leave prison with vocational degrees have a 43% lower recidivism rate and a 28% higher employment rate.

    The goal is to cater to people in County, State, and Federal correctional facilities by providing health, employability, and educational services to reduce crimes, re-arrest, and promoting successful re-entry initiatives. Producing positive results can improve the quality of life for impoverished communities and save the tax-payer dollars.

    By: Jamar Jackson

  • Mental Health, Drug Abuse, & Re-arrest

    People with mental health issues are known to be re-arrested. Numerous people across multiple studies as far back as 15 years ago to date were arrested many times during the observation of the various studies I’ve examined, including an individual who was arraigned 71 times during almost a decade. The data suggest that achieving successful reintegration in some cases proves difficult. Re-entry and recidivism are not new and have been adequately studied, and plenty of factors have been recognized that seem to add to the failure of people reintegrating into their community from jails and prisons specifically, people with mental health conditions. I came across another study by the United States Department of Justice titled Lessons Learned from the Second Chance Act: Moving Forward to Strengthen Offender Reentry. And I’ve learned that the challenges that the individuals deal with who are leaving corrections are facing circumstances that are intimidating and difficult to deal with and are even more disheartening for persons who have complicated psychiatric and substance abuse drawbacks. 

    The underlying issues are universal, many people reentering back into their communities don’t feel prepared for life outside jail or prison after being incarcerated for 6 months or longer, especially after spending time in solitary confinement. I spoke with serval men and women before pre and post-release and discovered that 10 of the 40 people, 1 in 4, I interviewed stated they were nervous and felt like they would fail in our society and 20 of the 40, 50%, of the individuals claimed they would be homeless, have no support system and don’t know how they would be able to take care of themselves once they were discharged from jail or prison. 

    People that have psychiatric illnesses can also have many difficulties with re-entry and re-arrest because the psychiatric treatment provided in the jails and prison are inadequate. The likelihood of a person having a successful transition into their community after incarceration is highly compromised because of the lack of sufficient psychiatric treatment. Various factors such as not meeting regularly with a Psychiatrist or having a medication regimen designed to maintain the mental health and well-being of the patient works against those individuals leaving jails and prison. Bad enough these individuals hold the triple stigma of being criminals, mentally challenged, and drug abusers. Even worse, they are released back into the same slum, drug-infested, high crime, impoverished community, like Terrace Avenue, Hempstead, NY. Only increasing their chances of falling victim to criminal activity, drug use, or making poor decision. With formerly incarcerated people being placed in these situations it should be understandable why they are violated by probation or parole or engage in abusing drugs, committing crimes and recidivate. Also, consider the fact that a great percentage of these individuals released will experience homelessness and face many obstacles as far as securing employment, making it hard for them to take care of their essential needs, children and families. 

    Novel programs must be established to connect the people transitioning pre and post-incarceration with DSS for housing, food assistance, and Medicaid to pay for mental health and substance abuse services. 

    If we fail to prepare those locked-up, we are practically contributing to the high crime rate, recidivism, and ignoring public safety. We must collaborate to focus on targeting mental health, drug abuse, crime, and secure funding for local mental health and criminal justice systems that support the development of efforts to prevent recidivism, mental health issues, crime, and drug abuse of persons from poorer communities. We need to identify inmates with mental health issues, drug abuse history, and criminogenic needs that are 2 years, no less than 6 months release, and start a transitional plan that will set them up for success by providing their essential needs, like providing identification, treatments services, medication regimen, housing, job training and placement and more. We must work intensively with inmates during the pre and post-release phase to increase the rate of successful re-entry and preventing recidivism. #BLOCWORK

    By: Jamar Jackson

  • Felons Need Jobs Too

    I know I made some poor decisions I'm my life. Still, I am glad to have learned the hard way than to have never learned at all. No shade, but some folks still haven't learned yet! 40+, 50+ years old getting illegal money. 
    Then again, employers don't have any jobs for those who came up hard and paid their debt to society, so what should they do? 
    1. Be homeless and live in some ratchet shelter or crackhead, $5 prostitute hotel? 
    2. Try and survive on $123 EBT, and $123 cash bi-weekly ($369 a month) from the government? 
    To be clear, I do not condone crime of any nature, but I am not everybody and vice versa. Some folks are not willing to live on crumbs. You are not ready to live that way. So, at least understand why people recidivate, or regress, or relapse into a previous mode of behavior, especially delinquency or criminal activity because of a broken system. A system designed to keep people from poorer communities all over the USA poor, imprisoned, or dead. 
    For you naysayers of course, many people from marginalized communities have slipped through the cracks and lived a crime-free lifestyle, and are very successful. Yet, listen to how it's described as slipping through a crack. It's a very accurate description. Especially when we have statistics from empirical data that states 1 in 3 black males born will be locked-up in their lifetime. On the flip slide, some may want to combat the 1 in 3 statistics and say no, it's 1 in 4 now regardless, the numbers are still disturbing. 
    Other facts from credible census reporters like neighborhood scout most recent claims, the violent crime rate in Hempstead is one of the highest in the nation. Neighborhood Scout also stated the "Violent offenses tracked included rape, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, armed robbery, and aggravated assault, including assault with a deadly weapon." Not only drug dealing. I can carry on, but the bottom line is we must have programs that promote change in policy or systems that will employ those who made poor decisions in their past. It will add value to their community and lives and reduce crime and increase public safety. #BLOCWORK
     

    By: Jamar Jackson