Punishment & Crime

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Wouldn’t it be better to raise the minimum wage so more families could have a chance at reclaiming some small sense of stability? Wouldn’t it make more sense to end punitive and destructive educational policies like high-stakes testing that continue to leave our children behind? Wouldn’t it be smart to adopt policies that give all children access to quality pre-school and child care regardless of income or location?

And yet, after literally punishing children all the way through their formative years, we actually wonder why they resort to crime, drugs, gangs, and sadly, murder.

I’m well aware that there are nuances about the Chicago situation contributing to its insane murder rates, but this does not minimize my point. As a society, we spend a lot of time punishing children from the day they are born for things they have no control over; their family income, their parents or lack thereof, their skin color.

An environment of undeserved punishment is a breeding ground for bad things to happen, including the violence plaguing the Windy City.

Like our President, I can’t offer you one particular action item to go do and make the situation in Chicago or anywhere else better. But I can challenge you to challenge any policy that punishes our children unnecessarily and undermines their life chances.

Frederick Douglass was right when he said: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

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