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Letter 1: Needs More Emphasis On First Chance

Dear Jamie Dimon,

I strongly agree with your article, “If You Paid Your Debt to Society, You Should Be Allowed to Work”. Incarcerated Americans deserve a second chance and they can make a good impact on society. You raised awareness about helping ex-inmates but the article lacks emphasis on the role poverty takes in being incarcerated.

I watched the documentary, Knife Skills, which is about a restaurant that trained ex-inmates and the effects it had on them. The training program gave the former prisoners a new purpose and a chance to develop culinary skills. It also reduced the likelihood of them going to jail a second time. I went to eat at their restaurant and it was inspiring to see how skilled people can be when they are given a second chance.

If the article included information about the connection between poverty and being incarcerated, the readers could help people before they end up in jail. Being homeless makes chances of being incarcerated 11 times higher. This information is crucial in informing and inspiring readers. Firstly, it can make it easier for programs to support people that have already been incarcerated because there would be less people to split resources with. According to the American Action Forum, the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Secondly, without the need of clearing or sealing criminal records, people would not struggle as much to find jobs. Lastly, they would be helping the economy rather than spending time in jail. As you said, there are 70 million Americans that have a criminal record.

Overall, readers should know that supporting people likely to end up in prison is beneficial to society. These ex-inmates can do great things and preventing them from going to jail can maximize their potential.


Frank Yin

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