"Crime, like most issues in our industrial and post-industrial capitalist
economic system, is a diamond with many facets. Police address crime mostly
from the back end—after the crime has occurred. We have a large, highly
budgeted policing system, courts, and a carceral system to address this. But
crime continues to rise. What’s sorely lacking is what to do on the front end,
to focus on crime’s causes and underpinnings.
To paraphrase Henry David Thoreau, too many are hacking at the branches and not
at the roots.
I have spent about 50 years working on reducing gang and street violence,
including with gang truces and intervention, in LA and Chicago. I’ve also
consulted with communities around the country, at Native American reservations
and among the urban and rural poor. I’ve been going to prisons, juvenile
lockups, jails, and parolee housing for over 40 years for poetry readings,
talks, and healing circles. I’ve also taught creative writing as healing from
trauma in high-security facilities. Because of my reputation, I’ve visited
penal institutions and juvenile detention centers in nearly 20 states as well
as in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Argentina, England, and Italy,
with a month teaching poetry to abandoned children in Honduras. I’ve written a
book about my experiences and research called Hearts & Hands: Creating
Community in Violent Times
(2001, 2011: Seven Stories Press, NYC).
This is what I’ve learned about crime prevention"
Via Muse, who wrote "As an arts practitioner who raises awareness of social
issues, I found this article insightful."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics