Your story, “From Collared to Scholar,” is an interesting essay that begins by comparing the cost to house an inmate with the cost to educate that inmate. I find many logical fallacies throughout the story. It is false that education is the answer to unemployment (ask many recent graduates), drug addiction and the waste of potential because of poor upbringing. It seems like the story just makes everyone a victim of their families and the state. I agree that parole and probation programs do little to help people stay out of jail. They are designed to lock up those who cannot meet the terms of their release, but the term social justice suggests that those in the program did not receive justice in their lives.
It is true that I am not the same as them. I was raised by a loving family that encouraged education and self-expression. I had a better environment than most of those who are in the program. But there are just as many people who were raised within difficult families that went on the make something of themselves; let’s hear from them and make them the story! There is not enough education money to go around. Why spend it on people who probably will be less successful in achievement than the average person. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is a fitting adage. Please don’t advocate taking money for education away from an innocent child and give that money to drug dealers (former maybe) and gang members. In fact, offer them distance learning via computer only. I don’t want them mixing with our children.
Russell Person, Los Alamos
I so appreciate your last week’s feature article on SBCC’s “Transitions Program.” Thank you so much for writing a genuinely positive and authentic piece regarding this exquisitely worthwhile program. The publicity you provided is richly deserved and will hopefully aid in spreading the word to other potential participants. As you quoted Martin Leyva, “Transitions is a social justice movement,” and the article’s opening lines comparing the cost of one year at SBCC to that of a year in prison makes a critical point. While the US continues to lead the world in placing people behind bars, wasting human and financial resources on a crime-prevention strategy proven to result in more harm than help. SBCC’s Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS) Department has quietly established a positive, cost-effective alternative. Truly supporting and valuing people who are reentering the educational system is a supremely more humane and productive method by which to address criminal activity than incarceration. EOPS, the umbrella department for Transitions, additionally provides support for reentering high school dropouts, single parents, and others with academic or financial challenges. Again, thank you for your excellent coverage.
Vivian Stanton, S.B.