In a recent Editorial Board meeting with Pennsylvania Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel he made some very alarming factual statements that should concern all Black people whether they are in a Black community or a mixed community.
One fact that really stuck out was that that there are currently around 51,000 people in Pennsylvania state prisons, which breaks down to 1 out of 200 Pennsylvanians are incarcerated. One out of every 64 Blacks in Pennsylvania is incarcerated. One out of every 34 Black males is incarcerated. And one out of 15 Black males between the ages of 20 to 34 is incarcerated. Southwestern Pa. makes up about 8 percent of that number meaning about 1600 inmates will be hitting the streets each year. What do we do with them, and more importantly what was done with them when they were in prison?
We all want the violent criminals locked away from society. We do not want them in our community around our children, around our loved ones. But what about the non-violent criminals in jails and prisons? And what about the violent criminals who will eventually be let out? Shouldn’t something be done to make sure these prisoners don’t come out and create more victims with more crimes?
The view in the past was lock them up and forget about them until they get out. Then wait for them to commit a crime and lock them up again.