The Department of Justice (DOJ) has coined a new phrase and has trotted out the term “justice involved individuals”. This, to describe youthful offenders. I’m old school and prefer to Call a Spade a Spade. According to DOJ these youthful offenders face a variety of barriers, WHEN THEY RETURN HOME and don’t need the additional stigma of being called ex-cons,
convicted felons and all around shitheads.
Did you catch the unstated and faulty premise? Individuals returning from prison, at a young age are barred from law abiding behavior by the reputation and labels that may be affixed to them. Most of the ex-cons I’ve dealt with have said, time is the cure for criminal behavior. About the time they hit 39 years old, whether inside or out, these guys decided that they were getting too old to do anymore time.
One feature of the program is that community organizations would aid the shithead in getting his record sealed. Getting the record sealed is important, as is looking at the entire record. Employers are limited to looking at criminal convictions. Social commentators have no such restriction but fail to recognize what they are looking at and miss the significance.
Chances are a youthful offender who winds up in prison or in custody in a juvenile facility has dozens of prior contacts with law enforcement. As a juvenile the record is liable to reflect multiple instances where charges were dropped. This is done in impromptu plea deals and diversion programs. Charges actually adjudicated with probation, with a subsequent revocation are an indication that additional charges are in the woodwork, but not reported. Once the juvenile graduates to the adult system the process begins again, with numerous dismissals, secret probation, deferred adjudication or diversions in the record, but not counted as a conviction. The reality is that the defendant is likely to have more court time than his lawyer. Each one of these contacts is a failure of the system to impose any meaningful corrective action upon the youthful offender.
These are not “justice involved individuals” they are mainline cons proud that they have made the big time. Ask them. Tell them to show you their tattoos. I worked narcotics for fifteen years. While working undercover, I never met anybody that admitted to a drug problem. People that complained about a drug problem were complaining about price, quality and quantity.
The DOJ is equating criminal convictions and the rules that consider criminal convictions in making decisions governing employment, housing, and eligibility as racist. True racism, to me, is reflected in the view that black males can’t help their criminal behavior and therefore need a leg up to overcome a self inflicted wound.