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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 4, 2011 / 28 Teves, 5771

Michael Vick: Symbol of the second chance

By Michael Gerson



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | President Obama's unofficial pardon of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was a fleeting story highlighting a durable problem.

According to team owner Jeffrey Lurie, Obama phoned to praise the Eagles for giving Vick a "second chance." According to Lurie, Obama said "it's never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail.'"

That field is more level when trod by millionaire athletes, particularly those who throw 20 touchdowns in a season. But though Vick is not representative, he is symbolic.

During the past few decades, America has engaged in a massive experiment in routine imprisonment. From 1975 to 1999, by one estimate, the criminal justice system grew five times more punitive. A nation with 5 percent of the world's population now has about a quarter of the world's prison population - well over 2 million people.

It has had the intended effect. At least a portion of the sharp reduction in violent crime during the 1990s can be traced to the isolation of habitual offenders for longer periods. (The increased size and skill of police forces and the subsiding of the crack cocaine epidemic also played roles.)

But other consequences were unintended - the growth in single-parent households, in the number of children with one or both parents in prison, in the universality of the incarceration among some groups, particularly poorly educated African American and Hispanic men. The incarceration rate for African American male high school dropouts is nearly 50 times the national average. And the inevitable result of mass imprisonment is mass return. About 700,000 former inmates come back to communities each year with considerably dimmer prospects than Michael Vick.

Criminal justice experts argue about the effect of race and class on rates of incarceration. But one racially charged fact is clear enough: If such incarceration rates prevailed among middle-class youth, it would be a crisis rather than a curiosity.

The most effective responses are also the most daunting. Crime prevention, in the long run, is youth development. The alternative to cultivating the next generation is fearing it. Children, as one would expect, do better in life when they have not been poisoned by lead paint, abandoned by parents or betrayed by failed schools. There is promise in encouraging preschool attendance, providing mentors for the fatherless, demanding competent teachers, rewarding high school completion and making street gangs less attractive.

Such policies, while essential, don't seem sufficiently urgent; they are like recommending exercise and vitamins for a cerebral hemorrhage. So states are searching for better ways to sort their criminal population - to distinguish between the predatory who require prison and the nonviolent who need something else. They are questioning mandatory minimums, experimenting with alternative sentencing and creating drug courts that give priority to treatment. There is less creativity, but equal need, on the reintegration of ex-prisoners: providing transitional work programs, addressing addiction and mental health issues, removing unnecessary barriers to employment and housing. It is never a level playing field for prisoners when they get out of jail.

Preventing crime and reducing recidivism are among the most difficult social policy challenges. Gains come slowly and tend to be incremental. But such efforts are also the practical demonstration of a defining national principle: While human beings are capable of great horrors that merit justice, they do not become trash to be thrown away. Even the least sympathetic - heroin addicts and jailed criminals and gang members - remain part of the American community, the human community. And their very lack of sympathy tests our commitment to that ideal.

Obama's instinct on this issue is entirely correct, and he should run with it. The president has exhausted the nation with grand reforms. Perhaps instead of the reconstitution of American society, he could focus on the amelioration of some specific needs. Other presidents have done the same, to their great credit. George H.W. Bush pushed for the Americans With Disabilities Act, making our laws and sidewalks more welcoming. Bill Clinton expanded the earned-income tax credit; George W. Bush fought AIDS worldwide.

Guiding children away from crime and disrupting the cycle of recidivism fall into a similar category. When an important moral cause lacks a potent political constituency, only the president can unite the nation to address it. It is the power, and burden, of executive leadership.

America is the nation of the second chance. Or at least it should be.


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Previously:



12/28/10 Social Security reform is the answer to Obama's problems --- and the nation's
12/21/10 When foreign policy realism isn't realistic
12/17/10 When it comes to politics, Obama's ego keeps getting in the way
11/26/10 Libs resort to conspiracy theories to explain Obama's problems
11/19/10 With Holder at the helm, detainee policy is a disaster
11/12/10 Blue-state budget crises spell even more trouble for Dems
10/19/10 Obama the snob
10/12/10 Seeds of victory in Afghanistan
10/05/10 Believers' remorse
10/04/10 Pound-foolish on national security
09/28/10 Babylon on the Potomac
09/27/10 Our reluctant commander in chief
09/21/10 Blue strongholds are becoming Democratic graveyards
09/17/10 For the GOP, a bittersweet brew from the Tea Party
09/15/10: Insanity's great enablers
09/13/10: The lost communicator
09/08/10: Will 2010 midterms be 1994 all over again?
09/01/10: Obama's economic wandering
08/27/10: Miracles from abroad
08/25/10: Address these issues in order to strengthen the Tea Party
08/20/10: The lost promise of Barack Obama
07/23/10: Obama's greatest nightmare
02/04/09: The Reality of Innocence
01/07/09: The Risks in Obama's Ambitions
12/31/08: Support Obama Will Need
06/13/08: Prince Charles, Organic Conservatism Icon
06/11/08: No longer a bankrupt political joke but still overshadowed
04/23/08: McCain's anger management
04/10/08: A Country for Old Men
03/06/08: Does the America Need a Hug?
03/06/08: Obama's First 100 Days
02/29/08: Words Aren't Cheap
02/22/08: He Said, They Said
02/20/08: Dying silently in Zimbabwe
02/15/08: Hillary's Unappealing Path
02/13/08: NATO's Afghan Stumbles
02/08/08: Why McCain Endures
02/06/08: One surge that led to another
02/01/08: In North Korea, Process Over Progress
01/30/08: Compassionate to the end


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