I write on behalf of my fellow brothers, the African American men who represent the United States. According to an article by Ashleigh Maciolek that addresses the social problems affecting Black men, Black men make up 32 percent of the prison population and only 6 percent of the world’s population. There are both short- and long-term negative effects to Black men being separated from their loved ones, especially those with children who are forced to grow up without getting to know their father. The effects that absent fathers have on their children is underestimated and not spoken about enough.
Instead of targeting Black men for crimes that are minor, there should be more effective short-term programs put into place that allow them to “do the time” or make up for their crime, as well as more funding to ensure that they are being supported for the first few months while they work to support themselves financially. Although necessary in a great number of cases, serving jail time is not always beneficial for the individual, particularly when the crime is not extreme. These programs should incorporate content that focuses on the specific crime that the individual committed and also include general content that will benefit individuals in their lifestyle moving forward, such as coping skills, self-care, therapeutic practices, etc.
The funding process will take time, and the collaboration to form these alternative methods to incarceration will take strategic and thoughtful planning as well. Together we can restore families throughout the world, one Black man at a time. We can make the pressures and challenges of life easier to get by when we keep families connected and don’t take Black men away from their loved ones and their children who need them — all for committing minor crimes, some being mistakes.