Prisoners have to be released from prison or the county jail into the same community, and can’t get a job because they’re ex-cons, and often not even an apartment. Result? Homeless ex-cons turning to crime.Female ex-cons in Lowndes County have some places they can turn to for housing. Male ex-cons have only the Salvation Army, and they have to leave there every morning early. In Atlanta they’ve examined their situation and determined that housing is the most central issue.
Which would we rather do? Pay as much per year to send them back to jail as it would cost to send them to college? Or find a way to provide housing for them?
How about helping ex-prisoners learn job-hunting skills and job-holding skills? Employment is the best preventative for crime. There are local organizations ready to work on that, such as CHANCE: Changing Homes and Neighborhoods, Challenging Everyone.
Local tax dollars need to be spent in a way that benefits the entire community, and not just a few. Maybe we can afford to do something about getting ex-prisoners a place to live and jobs so they stay out of crime and improve the local economy. Actually, can we afford not to do that to reduce incarceration expenditures?