Were you aware that the United States of America incarcerates more of it's citizens than any industrialized nation on Earth? With only 5% of the world's population, the U.S. has 25% of the world's prison population.
That's right! We are number one! Not what you'd expect from the land of the free and home of the brave.
My home state of Oklahoma has the distinction of being number one in the United States in incarcerating females and number three in incarcerating males....not the type of winds we should want sweeping down these plains. When I read these statistics, it was staggering and depressing.
According to a report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, of those that are incarcerated in the U.S., over 65% meet medical criteria for substance abuse and addiction, but only 11% received treatment for their addictions.
The report also found that alcohol and other drugs are significant factors in all crimes, including 78%of violent crimes, 83% of property crimes, and 77% of public order, weapons offenses, and probation and parole violations.
Also, according to the report, federal, state, and local governments spent 74 billion dollars on incarceration, court proceedings, probation and parole for adults with substance abuse problems and juvenile offenders in 2005, but less than 1% of that amount was spent on prevention and treatment.
In fact, I know some states offer virtually no viable drug treatment program for offenders.
Is it no wonder why prison recidivism is so high?
States and taxpayers complain about rising prison costs which could be dramatically reduced by spending a fraction of incarceration costs in increasing substance abuse treatment programs...but they still refuse to fund the treatment programs that can make such a difference in the lives of millions of individuals, families, and society.
This irrational, inept thinking is assisting in the destruction of our nation.
Which brings us to the secondary (but in many ways primarily, adversely affected), hidden victims in this travesty....the children of addicted and incarcerated parents.
In a 2010 report from the Pew Charitable Trust it was found that more than half of incarcerated men and women are the parents of children under the age of 18.
As a result, there are 2.7 million minor children who have a parent in jail or prison. This means an incredible 1-in-28 American children have an incarcerated parent. The number was 1-in-125 only 25 years ago.
Help us spread the message of this national travesty.
I appreciate President Trump's acknowledgement of the Opiate and prescription drug addiction epidemic in our nation, along with former President Obama's efforts to draw attention to our ridiculously high incarceration rates.
This should be a bi-partisan problem as it effects people of all political persuasions and, especially, our most vulnerable with no political persuasion.
We must all come together to bring pragmatic and sensible solutions to fix this problem that has become such a disgrace to this nation.
Let us strive as a people and a nation to be that shining city on a hill that the world admires; striving for excellence, justice, integrity, righteousness, and selflessness, while simultaneously reaching out a helping hand of grace, mercy, and forgiveness to our wretched, broken, and hopeless brothers and sisters, pulling them with all of our might into the light.
--Kevin Firth, Co-Founder/CEO
Positive Performing Arts Association
We combine the teaching of the Arts with life skills education and programs designed to keep youth and young adults on track, or to get them back on the right track.
Besides professional Arts education in dance, drama, and other art forms, we offer mentoring programs, drug awareness education, life skills education, and partner with other programs all designed to assist our students in reaching their full potential.
Positive Performing Arts Association
presents Natasha's House of Hip Hop
performing to Sarah Brightman's "Deliver Me" remix by Gabriel Firth
Performed at the NBA's OKC Thunder Blue game.
Positive Performing Arts Association's
Chosen Urban Dance Crew
Performing to "Tron Legacy-End Titles"
By Daft Punk