I am constantly hearing about new ideas and new programs and it is very rare I come across one that stops me in my tracks and automatically clicks with the immense amount of impact it could have on our world. The Last Mile was one of them that I just came across. Please watch this video:
The problem they are solving is huge to say the least. If you don’t believe me, here are some facts that just scratch the surface.
– The money states spend on prisons has risen at SIX times the rate of spending on higher education in the past 20 years
– In 2011, California alone spent $9.6BIL on prisons ($5.7BIL was spent on the UC system and state colleges)
– Since 1980, California alone has built ONE college campus. In that same time have built 21 prisons.
– A college student costs the state $8,667 per year; A prisoner costs the state $45,006 a year.
– Lifetime per prisoner cost is estimated at $1.2MIL. Instituting the death penalty costs at least 2-3x more due to legal fees and appeals that vary per state.
– The U.S. has 7-10x more prisoners per citizens that other developed countries. (The U.S. has 760 prisoners per 100k citizens. Japan: 63, Germany: 90, France: 96.)
– In developing countries where they are well known for crime, they still only have about 1/3 the amount of prisoners per citizens as the U.S. Mexico: 208, Brazil: 242
– The U.S. makes up 5% of the worlds population but 25% of the worlds jailed prisoners. – The 700 Club
These are facts just that support the U.S. fiscal problems but doesn’t even touch other major problems such as inequality and racism. We tend to think that creating policies that keep more people “off the streets” is the solution for healthy communities when in reality it is drastically hurting our sustainability. We have blatantly decided that putting more people away is more valuable that reinvesting in human capital, the essence of a thriving and innovative society.
I will you with one last fact:
The states and federal government in the U.S. spend $75BIL a year on corrections.
What if we decided to invest even a small fraction of that ridiculous budget on developing better programs that educated and provide more options than just going back to jail? What if we decided to invest a small faction of that ridiculous budget on creating programs that not only gave better options but also showed how individuals can change our society? What if we just put faith back into people that they are ultimately good and not automatically assume they are in our community to destroy it? That is what The Last Mile has started to do and I cannot wait to see how they impact not only the California community but how they inspire the rest of the world to change. I wish them only the best in their development of this remarkable program.
Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nake-m-kamrany/incarceration-rate_b_1423822.html