St. Genevieve High School

My message: Fund futures, not prison

Dear future president,

The prison system is hurting the future of this country for young people like myself. Instead of invaluable resources going to help future generations live better and more productive lives, they’re going to an ineffective prison system.

In low-income communities, young people are struggling and aren’t always sure about their futures. With a considerable amount of prisoners coming from these marginalized areas, many kids living in them aren’t looking forward to their futures and, as a result, they end up becoming a part of this prison system.

An older cousin of mine that grew up in one of these neighborhoods didn’t have access to any programs or activities after school. If he did have access, the intervention would have prevented him from getting involved with the wrong people. In prison, he is struggling and his health issues are not addressed the way they should be, leaving my family and I worried and angered.

My cousin is not the only one that grew up like this. When I was attending public school in a less than desirable neighborhood, I saw that many of my peers were apathetic to the illicit activities going on in their communities. My parents saw this too and were able to transfer me into a Catholic school for a safer environment, but what about the other students? Will they end up like my cousin?

I believe that the funds being used to keep up a prison system that often focus on profit should be funneled into the education of youths in less affluent communities. New programs funded by the government in schools or community centers in these areas can help keep young people out of trouble and ultimately out of the prison system. Instead of wasting the country’s ample budget on imprisoning children, educate them.

Sincerely,

Jesus Perez

Panorama City, Calif.

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