John Carroll likes to think of itself as an institution that works for social justice. The University’s student body goes to great lengths to ensure that their reputation as “men and women for and with others” is well-deserved. One social justice issue that some in the John Carroll community are particularly concerned with is the alarmingly high rate of recidivism (i.e. the reconviction of former criminals to prison) in the United States.
Many John Carroll students have done their share to help this problem by spending time with individuals at risk of incarceration. Some work with the community to prevent potential inmates, like the Carroll Ballers. Some work with former inmates, like those who volunteer each week at the North Star Rehabilitation Center. But some John Carroll and Cleveland State University students are focusing on the bigger picture– why are there so many incarcerations to begin with?
Last week Krystal Milam, a John Carroll student, went to Washington to meet with U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 11th district Marcia Fudge with a specific goal in mind: to persuade Fudge to take action and support legislation in regards to the way mass incarceration is handled. Milam is a member of an advocacy program named Friend’s Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), which is a non-profit organization located in Washington, D.C. She and the FCNL are lobbying for Fudge to sign several bills, including the Recidivism Risk Reduction Act.
The Carroll News applauds the initiative of Krystal Milam and the rest of the students who participate in the FCLN. While the University’s current dedication and activity within the community is no doubt making major contributions to solving societal injustices, The Carroll News would like to commend politically-minded students who try to find top-down solutions to our community’s issues.
In order to resolve issues of social justice, there need to be activists that tackle problems from both fronts. Bottom-up initiatives like the Carroll Ballers are needed, and so are top-down initiatives, like that of the FCNL.