Commit A Crime, Get A Job

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Economy, Law

While I applaud the intentions of the following program, it almost seems unfair that the state is putting resources toward getting criminals jobs when I’m sure their are non-criminals who would desperately like a job.

From NPR:

Instead of jail, judges in Lancaster County, Pa., have a new option for sentencing criminals: Get a job and keep it. The Job Court connects people convicted of certain crimes with supervised employment.

The theory is that a regular schedule and a regular paycheck can help some people go straight. The initiative, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, was prompted by an urge to get chronic offenders to change their lifestyles — and stay out of jail. [...]

While the program does allow for — if not expect — a certain degree of failure, each participant signs a contract, and agrees to adhere to rigid guidelines. They then are available to work a variety of jobs set up by Lancaster County, from construction to temp jobs.

Again, I hope they match this program with something that helps the law abiding even more. But something tells me…


This entry was posted on Saturday, September 30th, 2006 and is filed under Economy, Law. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to “Commit A Crime, Get A Job”

  1. Terry Says:

    Not knowing from this specifically what crimes they’ve committed, but I think one of the serious problems with jail is that it gives a lot of offenders a job – and that job is learning more serious crimes. Jail is like a training facility. And if someone is on the outs as it is – not holding a job, not having responsibility – there is an interest in them for doing something ‘exciting’ in their life. That often, is more crimes. So the issue is how to break that cycle and turn petty criminals into respectable citizens. Sticking them in jail is NOT the right option. So again, not knowing the specific crimes, I’m very happy to see someone in the judicial world trying something new.

  2. Walrus Says:

    I think it’s a great idea. A lot of released prisoners re-offend because they just don’t know how to operate in the normal world. Recidivism is much lower among those who have been “adopted” by a family or church, for example, who will be mentors and help them find jobs and learn new lifestyles.

    I’m not sure the job scheme will be enough on its own, but it’s worth a try.

    And a former criminal who learns to go straight is of definite benefit to law-abiding citizens.

  3. Justin Gardner Says:

    And a former criminal who learns to go straight is of definite benefit to law-abiding citizens.

    I agree, but still…it certainly seems on its face to be giving preferential treatment to criminals, and I’m not okay with that.

  4. Diane H. Young Says:

    I believe all criminals need to have a chance to work a decent job. Since the Patriot Act, if you so much as put down on your application you have a misdemeanor conviction you are blackballed right away for a job. Misdemeanor crimes can be serious or somewhat petty. Some women or men have their spouses arrested for fun and then they wish they had not because they cannot get a job after that.

    So, someone needs to help these people stay out of the stinking, rottent, filthy, unhealhty environment called “jail”. More businesses need to sponser this.

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