“Are we moving towards a society where it’s much harder to get a second chance?” Moving towards? That ship’s long sailed considering that for 30 years now in Missouri, for example, mothers with a past drug conviction can’t access food stamps—ever. For mainstream America, though, slowly awakening to the ills of too-much incarceration, the question is thankfully relevant and it leads off a worthy D.C. panel this morning featuring Joe Jones.
Jones, a recovering addict and ex-knucklehead, he says, is the founder and CEO of the Center for Urban Families in Baltimore. According to the current cover story in The American Prospect, “Is there hope for the survivors of the Drug Wars?” CUF is among the first programs in the country designed to specifically help young men of color readjust for economic success in society. In addition to workforce training, it offers fatherhood classes, helps men navigate family court and counsels ex-prisoners forever marked by where they’ve been but, not where they are or trying to be.
Start the video at the 7:40 mark when journalist Monica Potts introduces Jones who tells his story. The idea for CUF formed, he says, when he realized early on that programs targeting women and children in the 1990s were incomplete if they didn’t also try to help the men in their lives.
Also, add to the discussion through #2ndChanceSociety on Twitter and cc: @Colorlines, of course.
How can we build a second chance society?
(h/t Assets Building Program, NAF)