After struggling with addiction and mental illness, Jayne Fuentes served her time, found a job and got her life back on track. She's been sober and crime-free for three years, but one thing still dogs her: fear of being jailed or forced to do physical labor because she can't afford to pay the government.
There is a common conservative narrative that the disproportionate incarceration of black people is not the result of systemic racism, but rather of shortcomings within the black community.This "fact" is used to justify a belief that a "culture of violence" is to blame for problems faced by black people in America.
The Odyssey Project, now in its fifth year, is using the arts to combat recidivism for juvenile offenders in a completely unprecedented way: by creating an arts-based "intervention" at that critical point near the end of a juvenile offender's teen years, when, like Odysseus, they have life choices to make that will indelibly determine their future's path.
It's hard to describe mania to someone who has never experienced it. One minute I'm so high that my mind and body enter a nirvana-like state with feelings of ultimate power and supreme authority. And then in the next minute I feel so paranoid and scared that I think my heart will thump out of my chest.
We need to summon the political will to create -- for the first time -- an American labor force of committed citizens that reaches across boundaries of class, race, gender, and religion and involves all Americans. Only then can those in despair envision a future in which they and their children live useful lives as contributing members of our society.