The interdependent system that causes poverty, crime, and incarceration is complex. However, a simplified diagram below shows a possible relationship of various factors leading to greater incarceration.
For example, on a federal level, wealthy people may elect a president who will give tax breaks to the wealthy, and cut social service programs.
This is a system that robs from the poor and gives to the rich.
In the short run, the wealthy may feel like they are benefitting from such a system. However, before too long, there is a collapse of society from such inequity.
Three-Step Solution. There’s a simple three-step solution to break the above cycle of systemic racism and crime.
- Funding. Establish a source of funding for education, housing, healthcare, and jobs for the impoverished and those at risk. Also, jail alternatives and diversion programs should be expanded. Such initiatives qualify for Tax Increment Financing because they result in a greater tax base.
- Programs. Create centers and infrastructure to promote the goals of step #1 above. Initiatives could include Head Start Programs, Alternative Schools, Upward Bound, and TRiO programs such as TRiO at the University of Iowa where students potentially at risk are given the support they need to succeed.
- Repeat. Return to Step #1 and repeat.