[OP-ED]: Media Misses New Jobs Program Announced By U.S. Attorney General Sessions
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced creation of major jobs program recently during his policy speech in Virginia.
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Yet, news reports on Sessions’ remarks omitted reference to his jobs creation initiative.
Perhaps the failure of Sessions to specifically declare that he’s creating jobs resulted in news reports of his speech emphasizing Sessions’ stated determination to bash violent street crime and Sessions’ continued – scientifically inaccurate – claims that marijuana is as dangerous as heroin.
However, hiding in plain sight within Sessions’ remarks was his program to create employment through a process that historically has not benefited the very persons who need employment opportunities the most.
During that speech Sessions promised that under his reign the U.S. Justice Department would launch an offense against violent street crime – not the cybercrimes or terrorism that present profound problems for both public safety and national security.
Further, Sessions declared his support for expansion of mandatory minimum sentences based on his specious contention that small upticks in today’s historically low crime rates arise partly from “declining prison populations.”
Past governmental offensives against street crime have created more jobs slots for police and prosecutors along with employment expansions in court personnel including judgeships.
Also, past increases in mandatory minimum sentencing laws have created more job slots for prison personnel, parole/probation staffs and the construction industry through building new prisons.
Past crackdowns on street crime coupled with mandatory sentences, have slammed blacks and Hispanics – two groups historically excluded from employment particularly in law enforcement sectors from police to prosecutors to prison personnel. That employment exclusion is rooted largely to racial discrimination.
An example of employment exclusions is seen in blacks and Hispanics comprising a small portion of the 15,996 employees working for the Pennsylvania state Department of Corrections – less than 2,000 of that department’s employees with Hispanics totaling just 319.
But blacks and Hispanics make up nearly 60 percent of the 47,479 inmates held in Pennsylvania’s state prison system according to state Department of Corrections figures for February 2017.
The percentage of blacks and Hispanics held in Pa’s state prison system vastly exceeds the 17 percent total of those groups in Pennsylvania’s population.
Conservative like AG Sessions persistently dismiss the persistently proven fact that better education and employment reduces crime more effectively than lengthy prison sentences.
Over 80 percent of the inmates in Pennsylvania’s prison system are listed as unskilled/no skills and the average reading competency for Pa inmates is slightly below 8th grade, according to state Department of Corrections data.
Nearly one third of the inmates in Pa’s prison system come from Philadelphia, many from neighborhoods with poor public schools and high unemployment.
Conservatives in the Pennsylvania state legislature are currently advancing measures to boost mandatory minimum sentencing,
Interestingly, Pa Department of Corrections officials oppose mandatory sentences, noting there is no evidence that mandatory minimum sentences enhance public safety.
Clearly improving education and employment in impoverished areas would reduce rates of crime from cities to rural areas. Yet officials like AG Sessions remain wedded to failed policies.