“Stupid is, as stupid does” ~ Forrest Gump
Democrat-ruled Philadelphia is proving itself a case study in Forrest Gump’s wisdom, as multiple generations of thug families in the cheese-steak capitol of the world find themselves having family reunions in the Pennsylvania prison system.
Many of the people locked up in Pennsylvania’s prisons are inmates who come from the same neighborhoods, the same city blocks or even the same households. Father and son hail from one of the most heavily incarcerated communities in one of the most incarcerated cities in the country.
And just as crime gravitates to certain neighborhoods in all cities, with Philadelphia being no exception, it also clusters in families: According to one criminologist’s analysis of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, 5 percent of families account for more than 50 percent of all arrests.
Numerous studies have found that individuals whose parents have committed crimes are at least two times more likely to be perpetrators themselves. Sexual offending runs in families. So does violent crime.
In Pennsylvania, the Department of Corrections does not keep statistics on familial relationships between inmates. Graterford’s public-information officer said she had no way of tracking it.
One man, Darryl Goodman, who was locked up with his own father at Graterford before dedicating his life to helping at-risk young people, has been piecing together a data set with help from inmates at the 25 prisons around the state.
By his most recent reckoning, (and it’s hard to keep up, as inmates constantly are being moved) there were 243 fathers in state prisons with their sons. At Graterford alone, he counted 41 father-son pairs, including 17 sets of cellmates. He found seven families in which a father, son and grandson were all locked up together.
Cintron Jr. finds those numbers plausible: “On the block right now, there are probably three or four sets of brothers. And there are fathers and sons on my block. Just on the block alone, there are families, cousins. There is nothing for it. It’s the cycle. It’s the generational curse.”
That crime runs in families is not news to those in corrections.
But that there are regular family reunions in the visiting rooms of state prisons reflects an incarceration rate that — despite attempts to turn the tide — remains at near historically high levels and deeply concentrated in poor communities of color.
By one estimation, there are 36,000 black men ages 25 to 54 missing from Philadelphia, either killed or incarcerated.
Philadelphia leaders are working to cut the city jail roster by one-third in three years, while the state system has shed about 3,000 inmates since the population peaked at more than 51,000 inmates in 2009. But these efforts seek to bend a curve that tracked upward for decades.
Pennsylvania admitted more than 19,000 state inmates in 2016, including parole violators; that annual figure remains double what it was 20 years ago, even as the violent crime rate has declined.
Meanwhile, a major challenge to decarceration — and yet another factor that finds extended families and whole neighborhoods bumping into one another behind bars — is that prison sentences remain longer than ever before.
According to a 2012 Pew analysis, Pennsylvania’s inmates were the second-longest-serving in the nation. The average sentence for a state inmate is 30 percent longer than it was 20 years ago. And very long sentences are imposed with far greater frequency, according to Pennsylvania Corrections Department statistics. Since 1990, the number of prisoners serving more than 20 years increased 714 percent. The number sentenced to life without parole increased 155 percent to 5,448; only Florida has more such lifers.
Some young inmates now serving long sentences for serious crimes said they grew up in awe of their fathers, and wanted to be just like them. But what they absorbed was a legacy of absence, neglect, and abuse — chaotic lives, framed by violence and poverty.
Sadly, the entire problem can be summed up with one statement.
Researchers say, too, that there’s a consequence to being labeled a criminal: Those who have interactions with the justice system are more likely to exhibit criminal behavior later on than those who don’t.
You don’t say? If you break the law and have run-ins with the law, you’re more likely to exhibit criminal behavior? I wonder how long those researchers took to come to that conclusion…
Captain Obvious called, and said even that’s too ridiculously obvious for him to comment on.
It should be abundantly clear that liberals should not be in charge of anything.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
January 29th, 2018