Prisons Don't Stop Crime, So What Are They Doing?

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August 23, 2019

Despite what you might have heard, crime has decreased in Chicago. Violent crime is down by 8% and the number of people being sentenced to prison or jail is down 20% as of 2018. The interesting part is what you’ve been told about locking people up is NOT true. 

A report by Reclaim Chicago, The People’s Lobby, and Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice has shown how more progressive policies by Cook County head prosecutor Kim Foxx have shown improvements. She’s sentencing FEWER people to incarceration - with good results!


The report states that “The root causes of many crimes, including poverty and lack of mental health services or substance use treatment, go unaddressed or are made worse through prison sentences.” That’s a FACT. Caging people up with problems doesn’t make problems go away.

For the Black community this sort of approach is crucial, since we’re targeted by racist police, courts, and thrown into prison at any chance the system gets. By changing their approach, DAs like Foxx can make the lives of entire communities better. We need resources, not punishment. 

One of the key takeaways from the report is that incarceration breaks up families and destabilizes lives by affecting things like employment and housing. This isn’t making things better in our communities, it’s making things worse. We can make things better by admitting this truth.

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