Jobs and family are key to combating recidivism

What do Miss America 2012 and PeaceprintTM Prison Ministries have in common? Both care deeply about the children of incarcerated parents. As the daughter of a former inmate, Laura Kaeppeler uses her celebrity to bring awareness to the hardships that many children of prisoners experience. Although she has been criticized for choosing this topic as her platform, it does not trivialize the stigma that most children of convicts endure on a daily basis. Imagine the humiliation and pain of being branded and bullied in school for having a parent in prison.

PeaceprintTM Prison Ministries in Buffalo is an impressive, faith-based organization providing programs that maintain relationships with families and children during imprisonment. (Sex offenders are not included.) Family support is a huge part of minimizing recidivism, just as education and jobs may reduce the relapse into criminal behavior. Every year, more than 1,200 individuals are released from prison to Erie County communities. Some are required to live in transitional homes for reconciliation, rehabilitation and restoration. In the long run, they need homes, training and, most of all, jobs.

Why should ex-offenders receive privileged treatment, when law-abiding citizens can’t find a job during these difficult economic times? We don’t have an answer to that other than that everybody deserves a second chance, especially if there are children involved. Jobs and family are key to a successful re-entry into society. Organizations like PeaceprintTM Prison Ministries deserve recognition for making our communities a tad safer.

Krista Schwartzott

North Collins

Angelika Summerton

Silver Creek