Showing posts with label Criminal Justice and Prison Reform. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Criminal Justice and Prison Reform. Show all posts

Monday, August 5, 2013


Can Orange is the New Black, the new weekly comedy-drama television series, focused on the American criminal justice and prison system, do something that no one has ever been able to do before? 

For the sake of our economy, and our society as a whole, I sure hope so.

I read Piper Kerman’s book, Orange is the New Black, when it first came out and found it compelling, gut wrenching, and sad but true.

Given my experience in running Rikers Island and the NYPD, I have learned that you cannot fix a problem that you do not know exists. Given what I observed during my own incarceration, I am convinced that our legislators, courts, criminal justice administrators and the general public, have very little real insight, into something that has had, and continues to have such an negative impact on our children, economy and our country.

Hopefully, Orange is the New Black, will bring one of America’s most important issues, into the halls of Congress, and the living rooms of a general public, to give them a birds-eye-view of the collateral damage that prison and the criminal justice system can quite often have on families, children, the economy, and our society as a whole.

Bad people that do bad things belong in prison, and some, for a very long time. Some forever. But there are many first time, non-violent offenders sitting in prison, that could be punished by alternative sentencing, such as fines, probation, community service, and other methods, which would allow them to work, take care of their families, pay their fines and restitutions, and most importantly build a stronger bond with their children.

Justice would be served, and families could survive. The collateral cost of continuing down the road we’re on, will ultimately destroy generations of our youth to come, and our already dire economy.

Thank you Piper Kerman for your story, and to Netflix for having the foresight, and courage, to touch on a topic that NOT so many wish to discuss, or have the courage to do so.

Hopefully, in the course of your efforts, you can convince our legislators that inaction in criminal justice and prison reform is not as much soft on crime, as it is stupid on crime. 

Without it, our children and theirs, our economy, and our society as we know it, is doomed to failure.