Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Register weighs in on NIMBY: Albia

In my morning roundup yesterday, I mentioned that some Albia residents were up in arms over a group in their city that helps drug offenders get their lives back on track. The Register has an editorial on the matter today.

As Iowa continues to imprison a greater percentage of its population than most other states, this problem is going to continue to grow. It's also a big part of the reason 40% of Iowa's prison population will be released and end up in prison. Granted, people are in prison because they made a mistake, and one the state defines as pretty serious. But once they've paid their debt to society, they're released and face:

difficulty finding a job,
difficulty finding housing,
difficulty reconnecting with family,

Not to mention the fact that many of them will still have parole officers to contend with. Bear in mind that a large portion of these prisoners were in prison with a substance abuse problem in the first place. When we make it impossible for them to work, support themselves or find a place to live, is it any surprise their substance abuse problems resurface?

Most of these people being released are not dangerous. The four men living in the Freedom House in Albia were in jail for non-violent crimes. They want to stay out of prison. They want to turn their lives around. The least the citizens of Albia could do is give them that opportunity.

I'm giving a presentation at 11:15, have a task force meeting at 2, and need to clean tonight before my mom gets here tomorrow, so I may not be around to post much more today.


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