Caption: (from Left to Right) Speakers included Sgt Gregory Jackson of the Chicago Police Department, Algie Crivens III Community Activist, Chief Timothy Curry Maywood Police Department, Dr. Marwin Spiller from Bradley University, Deputy Chief John Hansen and Chief Jeff Sargent of the Triton College Police Department.
By Jeramie L Bizzle
February 5, 2013, Students and faculty flooded the parachutes located in the B building to weigh in on the discussion of incarceration and urban society. The event hosted by the Black Heritage Council gave the opportunity to give people a chance to ask questions about the laws to a panel of police officials and activist from Chicago, Maywood and Triton College. Each speaker gave their opinions and expertise of why so many civilians fall victim to the system of the law.
Topics of the panel include why police in different districts like to pull over random cars to why the jails are overcrowded. What was shared by the panel showed the audience that it is more then stereotypes and racial profiling, but facts that lead those astray from being innocent to having the book thrown at them. According to Dr Spiller, this is also a service to the economy as he shared his standpoint on why prisons get crowded. “They arrest people for the smallest offense to fill those beds from a financial standpoint, because tax dollars pay for those beds”, says Spiller. In reality, if there were no crimes, how many jobs would be lost?
As the discussion transition from traffic stops and other minor offenses, spread to the topic of community, such as being discriminated in other towns and the crime rates in a particular area. Everyone is familiar with a town or neighborhood where you see random acts occur, but who stops to realize that this is an effect that thrives from the society in which they live? Community activist Algie Crivens believed that people want results without putting in the efforts to changing their society, so it makes it easier for people to be treated unfairly even if that means working backwards;
“We should be time travelers that way the next generation won’t fall victim to the system”, says Crivens. He then began to explain that we have to address the major problems followed by the effects caused by the problem. Everything starts with self and inside the community, it’s not color, it’s not class, it’s a process. This can change by analyzing and cleaning up, but no one is trying to clean it up, we need to put our words into action, but we are left without a voice. If we don’t know the rules of the game, we’re going to lose!!!”
Now to switch gears, if a person or an ex con was to tell another person that they been incarcerated for a period of time, how many would honestly think that they were the same as a serial killer? Although few are convicted for violence, not everyone knows that cause and the effects of the situations, and some may understand why that person was driven to such actions. Jail sounds harsh to a lot of people, but it is a correctional facility which means that people learn from their mistakes while in their spaces. It is important as well to not forget that prisoners while incarcerated do obtain degrees and valuable work experiences that most college students are struggling to obtain. Does this mean that prison is better than college? No. Is it cheaper than college? Possibly, but the overall meaning is that no matter the background, everyone still has the same opportunities as the next.
Everyone knows one person who is currently behind bars for what they feel is for tedious reasons. The law although a big book, is one that all must become familiar with. By doing so, make those aware of the pros and cons of each situation that one may encounter. Just as Chief Sargent put it, it’s not about staying away from certain areas like Shiller Park or Franklin Park because the police in those areas have a bad rep for stopping people. Being knowledgeable and fighting to protect your rights are simple tools civilians can use to ensure that everyone is on the same team.