The phrase, "has paid a debt to society", can be quite misleading . This particular cliche is suppose to be the goal of those who serve out punishments given to them after they have committed some form of criminality. Now far be it from me to be judge, jury, and executioner, but I personally believe that some forms of illegal activity should indeed be forgiving and that individuals should be given the opportunity to rectify his or her past grievances. We all make mistakes and some of us have had to contend with circumstances that have made such pitfalls quite easy to fall into. I am in no way rationalizing or exonerating such criminal activity. Rather, I am offering explanations as to why some succumb to a life a crime. In my line of work, I have encountered dozens of individuals who have sought to change their situation and exercise their new found lease on life by furthering their education. Unfortunately, the obstacles that one faces when trying to take that first step on that road to redemption can be quite insurmountable. For example, the US Department of Education does not grant financial assistance to those who have certain felonies on their record. Furthermore, there are certain professions that make it quite unfathomable to breakthrough if one's record contains any crime of any sort! Not to mention, the hesitation that many employers display when it comes to hiring those who have been incarcerated! So what usually happens when an individual collides into these brick walls? Well, a feeling of desperation and hopelessness: the same hopelessness that may result in falling prey to the scourge of recidivism: the habitual relapse into a life of crime.
Therefore, it goes without saying then that I was extremely elated when I came across a write up that detailed the blossoming enterprise known as Sweet Beginnings. Sweet Beginnings is a business, based on the West Side of Chicago and founded by Brenda Palms-Barber, that trains and hires ex-convicts to be beekeepers.Employees of the program work approximately 30 hours a week, for 90 days, and are trained in tasks that include extracting and bottling honey as well as shipping the products to various stores and outlets.
So has this novel endeavor brought about sweet success? Well the proof is in the honey, alright, I'll stop with the trite puns, its just that the results have got me buzzing! Since 2004, Sweet Beginning has employed over 400 ex-convicts and now runs over 131 hives.In addition, those who complete the program have only suffered a 4% rate of recidivism compared to the state's average of 55%. Palms Barber hopes to branch out her business to other urban landscapes including but not limited to the D.C area as well as Detroit. This endeavor can perfectly be summed up by the positive proclamation delivered from current employee Patricia Jackson: "My whole outlook on life has changed.Everyday I am glad to come to work". By the way, Patricia plans on opening up her own catering opening, which will employ persons of the community, once she completes the program.
Hopefully, others will follow Palms-Barber's lead in assisting ex-convicts with entering back into society. A special shout to the 2econd Helpings food truck, located right here is Durham, NC, for only employing former convicts. If we continue with such endeavors, not only do we aid those who are attempting to start over, but we begin to break the cycle of generational imprisonment, thus curbing the glorification of criminality . What can be sweeter than that? - CgN