Ideas on assisting in the relief effort without going in person. Much can be done without leaving your house. Give those affected by disaster some hope, and use some of these ideas to help them.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Utilizing First Time NonViolent Offenders

To Whom It May Concern:

Recently, it came to my attention that the US experiences 30-60 natural disasters per year. Understandably, none are the magnitude of the 2005 hurricane season, but we can learn from that season to better respond to the rest.

During my volunteer efforts with the Gulf Coast, I have been awed by the generosity of all who volunteer to rebuild the region. And yet, much needs doing a full 18 months after the storms and other disasters have occurred throughout the nation in that time frame.

This leaves me pondering how to recruit more people for all rebuilding that have yet to occur.

I would like to propose using state-housed offenders.

A program could be established similar to the “shock” or “basic training” programs within many states’ corrections systems for those who are first time, non-violent offenders wishing to be given a second chance at life through what could be a great vocational tool. It can be a 6-8 week program, working with volunteer crews experienced in whatever stage of the relief/recovery effort is occurring at that time, while under close supervision, of course.

These offenders would gain the same experiences of discipline, physical exertion, and self-worth, while also building life skills, instilling a civic connection probably never before felt and help build compassion for others.

By socializing the offenders, citizens and volunteers alike would help break the stigma that follows any person convicted of a crime, showing compassion comes from all areas of our society.
Please consider this idea. It is worthy of pursuit and study, for the number of good things that could be accomplished through a program like this is almost limitless.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


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