Speak Out: Life after prison in Delaware

Readers reacted to a recent commentary describing how “collateral consequences” limit or deny those leaving jail basic rights to housing, food stamps, education, voting, employment, child custody and much more.

• Good letter. Should be mandatory reading for all in youth or adolescent detention. — Jeffrey Dixon

• The very simple solution which doesn’t get the legislature involved is “don’t commit the crime in the first place”. There should be penalties for people who do commit crimes. — Timmy Harmon

• Well this article gives a person a lot to think about. I agree with Jeffrey Dixon’s comment that it should be shared in every youth detention center. However, I would add that it should be taught in schools from sixth grade to 12th grade each year (and maybe more than once a year). There are things that school should educate our juveniles of various ages (how to handle money, the U.S. Constitution, etc). But there is one main thought to get across to kids–just don’t go to jail/prison.

There are already some areas that teach vocational-type jobs. Should there be more “re-entry” programs in prisons? Sure. That way their counselor (overworked already) can discuss what is currently needed in the job market one to three years prior to the inmate’s release. The counselor could have the “current” list of jobs/trades (and what’s not available due to the inmate’s crime) that employers are looking to fill.

However folks, with all of these nice thoughts and singing Kumbaya, we have to face facts — most crimes pay more than getting a regular job where you have to go to work even though you don’t feel like it. Even if you factor in the years they are incarcerated, in some cases it still pays more than a regular job. I think parents and schools need to educate our young people to the hazards of crime and the lasting effects it has. — Guy Fowler

• I don’t mind giving them a hand but no, I don’t want them coming into my house fixing things. I don’t believe that is unreasonable. — Alex Fowler

• I guess you shouldn’t have committed a crime. — Greg Sheraton

• So people should be held accountable for their entire lives for making a bad decision, even if they pay a price for that decision, learn from it, and never make that same bad decision again? If you honestly believe that I feel sorry for you. — Kelly Lord

• People make choices and they have to live with them but they shouldn’t have to suffer a lifetime due to a mistake. I have a friend that has had to pay a price for someone else’s lie. Not getting into details but it was not fair. And he was punished even after the lie was revealed.

If someone has been incarcerated wants to rebuild their life, there should be a path for that just like there should be a path for legal citizenship. There is no reason they should suffer a lifetime. Of course there are instances where this is not possible but your drug offenses and non-violent crimes should have a path to forgiveness so they can move on with their lives. — Marvin Pedigo

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