The cost of the criminal justice system in Washington State is staggering. Opportunity costs are obvious as the state seeks to increase funding for education and replacement of aging transportation infrastructure. While the economic impact of incarceration is clear, answers to philosophical questions concerning criminal punishment are difficult to answer. During this seminar the class explored the public policy implications of the criminal justice system and the questions, “What is the rationale behind criminal punishment and is the system effective in achieving this purpose?”
One participant reflected, “This seminar exposed us to issues involving crime and corrections in a way that allowed us to deeply reflect on our previous ideas about the topic.”
Another said, “This seminar opened my eyes to the fine line between a human functioning in society and a human spending years in prison. It helped me understand the disjointed view of punishment we have as a society and I have as an individual. I also gained a better understanding of complex challenges in the system that I had been overlooking. The seminar helped me reflect on what I can do as an individual leader in my community.”
What Class Participants are Saying:
- From a leadership perspective, this seminar gave me what AgForestry always seems to give – a greater sense of responsibility for my community and our society, and a reminder of the obligation to use my skills and resources to help others.
- I learned that we, as a society, need to help offenders transition back into our communities. Now I better understand that leadership means taking chances and giving people opportunities to improve themselves. We must be patient with second chances, and willing to be burned to make strides.
- This seminar combined with the Social Issues Seminar have led me to be more open minded about an individual's situation and show more compassion. These seminars have led me to being more open to giving second chances.
- The discussion on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) brought a lot of insight. “What is predictable is preventable." Given that ACES are the pipeline to prison, it became obvious that we waste time, money and people's lives when we allow at risk kids to become offenders. This underscores the importance of interceding quickly when a problem is in its infancy.
- We learned much about the connection between poverty and crime. Providing opportunities to young people in poverty is something that we can focus on as business leaders. We can help them experience success, provide encouragement, and help them see they can break the vicious cycle.
- I realized the value of taking kids under my wing to show them care, concern and appreciation - hopefully giving them a little burst of resilience.
- It seems the greatest opportunity to reduce crime is to guide our youth. However, we seem to expend the least amount of energy and resources in this area. I see opportunities to help children in my neighborhood who are missing a parent or have suffered ACES. I have received the resiliency materials I ordered and am working to see how I can apply that to my community.