Letter: Formerly jailed homeless were unfairly portrayed, deserve a second chance
Though Branden Andersen’s article (ODE, 3/7/12, “Homeless population of West University Neighborhood not always harmless”) @@Style for [email protected]@does elude to the fact that our police system has been plagued by budget cuts, the writer completely overlooked a major point that often goes unrecognized. The current homeless men who were mentioned in the article were released not only without more than money, but also without opportunity.
When those men came out of jail, they were forever labeled for what they had done and will forever be judged and limited in what they will do in their life. Employment opportunities are out the window; no one would rent out any space to them and we offer them no support during their time in jail. And as a prime example of our system moving from punishing those who break laws to destroying those who break laws, we no longer fund programs for prisoners to get an education. We don’t like to offer them second opportunities, let alone provide any support.
I’m not suggesting the featured men in the article can justify the crimes they committed or they can be forgotten, but I believe at the heart of the problem is the lack of support offered to help those who mess up. I was raised to think punishment is meant to make us learn from our mistakes and prevent further problems. Ruining these peoples’ lives — and offering no second chance — makes us no more human or just.
Aidan Smith@@http://directory.uoregon.edu/telecom/directory.jsp?p=findpeople%2Ffind_results&m=student&d=person&b=name&[email protected]@
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