You know what the problem is with criminals? I’m going to tell you what the problem is. Then I’m going to go one step farther, and I’m going to tell you how to fix it. Here is the story: The typical prison inmate does not have the skills necessary to succeed in accepted society. That is the problem. And here is what we need to do about it: We educate them -- reading, writing, arithmetic, social skills, speaking English in many cases. They also have a problem with substance abuse which must be addressed. They also need role models and mentors because they need to see that integrating into society can be done, and, in that regard, not every day is a good day.
I learned this the hard way by going through the criminal justice system myself. I have schizophrenia, and it brought tragedy to my family in 1979: my wife died, and my son was severely injured. He is OK now and has a family of his own with three teen-aged children.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the State’s answer to crime was to build prisons and incarcerate everyone they could. The result today is that well over 2 million people are in jails nationwide, and crime has not gone down.
I was sick of this, being on the receiving end, so I wrote an article in 1999 called “The Crime Solution” (copyright 2000 David E. Geiger) stating the same things I just told you here and published it in a Mensa newsletter. (It is now titled “Reducing Recidivism” and is available as chapter 104 in my book In the Matter of Edwin Potter available on Amazon and my web site: www.DavidEGeiger.com) Later in May 2013 I dusted it off and sent it to NJ Governor Chris Christie. In May 2014, I sent it to him again. In the fall of 2014, Martin’s Place opened up with former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey as Executive Director. Martin’s Place is a transition facility for those getting out of prison and into the community, and recidivism has gone down in New Jersey.
Jim McGreevey gets it. My wife and I met McGreevey serendipitously in a parking lot on the NJ Turnpike when we were traveling to Baltimore to visit a friend for the Labor Day weekend. I told him I had sent him a copy of my book – and he knew right away who I was when I told him the title. We spoke for a little while about my health and chapter 104. We shook hands 5 or 6 times, then wished each other luck and parted ways. A few days later he appeared on a local PBS news program and stated that released prisoners need, “Employment, employment, employment, employment!” You’ll see my arguments for this in my book.