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New skills could lead to less crime

Picture yourself in a courtroom. The judge asks the defendant to rise, reads the guilty verdict and prepares to unveil the sentence.

A stunned courtroom looks on as the judge says “I sentence you to higher education.”

This might sound far-fetched as far as an alternative sentence, but if executed properly, could certainly put a dent in some of the problems plaguing the Black Belt.

Thursday, representatives from Accelerate Alabama asked the crowd at the Demopolis Civic Center to discuss some of their visions to make the region a better place to live.

Sentencing non-violent offenders to achieve higher levels of education was suggested.

When the idea was broken down, it made a lot of sense. Many times, those accused of burglary and drug crimes are arrested, released on bond, and go right back to the one way of making money they are familiar with.

It’s all they know.

Let’s teach them something new. While these criminals are incarcerated, programs could be implemented to teach them a new skill so they have something to fall back on when they are released back into the general population. Crime will not be all they know.

Providing people with a skill and an alternative means of making money is just what many need.

How the programs would be implemented and how they can draw the interest of these inmates is a topic for future debate. But, the initial idea seems very interesting.

Despite the current economic conditions, there are numerous jobs for skilled laborers in the Black Belt. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of skilled labor.

Many inmates want to change. They would love to hold legitimate jobs if they could just catch a break.

Naturally, there are many more that have no interest in walking the straight and narrow path. Hey, some people are just beyond our help.

For those who do want to change their ways, a program like this is an interesting idea.

Already, some areas have implemented programs like this to great success. It would be interesting to see if we could mirror that success.