“Don’t Do the Crime…”

“Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”

I agree with the tenor of that saying, but I wonder,  If a person does the crime and the time then why after he/she has done the time do they still have to pay for the crime?

For the past two years God has brought many African-American men into my life. Several of them are convicted felons. As a result, they have an extremely difficult time finding work. If a person has paid their debt to society, what gives employers the right to ask on an application if they have ever been convicted of a felony? Believe it or not, it is easy to get a felony.

Here are some crimes that could be considered felonies:

  • Drug abuse
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Drunkenness
  • Vandalism
  • Curfew and loitering

That’s right! A person in their twenties could violate curfew and get a felony and unless they can afford (pay a lot of money) to get that felony expunged from their record, they will have a hard time finding work for the rest of their lives.

In addition, a felon loses his/her right to vote for life! And in some cases they cannot get financial assistance for education or mortgages.

So, a person can make one mistake, do their time, be encouraged to turn their lives around and become a contributive member of society, be released, but have very little chance to succeed. It’s a recipe for failure. Thus, 60% of felons end up back in prison.

Does that sound fair to you?

I know there are some felons who commit serious, violent crimes, but some estimates say that has much as 70% of all prisoners are incarcerated for nonviolent crimes (mainly drug use).

While everyone of us are accountable for our own actions, why should 1 mistake end up penalizing a person for the rest of their lives?

In the bible we are commanded to care for prisoners (Matthew 25:36). At the very least this means we need to raise our awareness of this issue and speak up for those who have no voice.

About Pastor Kevin

I am a husband, father, pastor, teacher, scuba diver, reader, bike rider, author...in that order.
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