Fortune Founder’s Letter to the Editor in the NYT

Monday, June 2, 2014

Fortune’s founder, David Rothenberg has had a letter to the editor published in the June 1st edition of The New York Times.

To the Editor:

Re “End Mass Incarceration Now” (editorial, May 25):

For nearly five decades, I have worked with formerly incarcerated men and women. Two things guided me to reach the conclusion that our prison system is an exercise in institutional futility.

First, the system almost never allows the inmate to consider the factors that led him or her to addiction and/or crime. In fact, to survive in that dehumanized subculture, you have to continue the behavior and thinking that lead to imprisonment.

Second, virtually nothing in jail or prison prepares a person for re-entry to society. One man described it best, saying: “I had to put on coats of armor to survive in prison. Someone has to teach me to remove those cloaks of protection so I can function in society.”

The bottom line, reflected in the country’s high recidivist rate, is that the prison system is contributing to antisocial behavior. We have to be more creative in how and why we incarcerate, and whom.

DAVID ROTHENBERG
New York, May 25, 2014

The writer is the founder of the Fortune Society.

Categories: Community, News, Policy + Advocacy

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