March 21, 2022
UNITE INDY is an effort of the heart, but, by necessity, it is also an effort of the head. Statistics play an important role in understanding what we are doing and how we can impact the need. If we want to ask God to "move a mountain," we have to know everything about the mountain.We've been involved with a study that proved that those who have served long-term sentences make good employees--even great employees. But the cultural change necessary to move successfully from a prison/jail culture to an employment opportunity isn't easy to make.
March 7, 2022
In the face of a war in the Baltic and a firefight in our streets, I find my immediate challenge is the broken computer on which I am producing this blog post. I am powerless to fix either the computer or any of the bigger issues we face. In a spectacular klutz move, I dropped a paper cutter on my poor little laptop. The screen now has a series of horizontal and vertical vibrating lines, through which I can see nothing...
February 21, 2022
While Indy's newest efforts at stopping homicides here get underway, it is interesting to take a look at Dallas, which managed a 12 percent drop in murders in 2021 after years of skyrocketing statistics. In 2020 Dallas totaled 251 homicides--their highest number in more than 15 years and 2021 started at a rate that would surpass it. So how did they turn it around? First off all, they have a bigger police force. Indianapolis has one police officer to every 588 citizens. Dallas, has one officer to every 419 citizens. If you think those numbers are similar, do the math.
February 7, 2022
It happens. Your car died a long overdue death. It'll be expensive to replace, but you need a car. But soon, through Indiana Senate Bill (SB) 352, there may be a new, easy-to-get lending option just for you. But this easy option could be a deal with the Devil. The bill would not only make it legal for installment loans to exceed the 72 percent rate allowable under the criminal loansharking statute, in some cases rates could reach over 300 percent.(Just for comparison sake, Indiana law states that 25 percent is the maximum rate that can be charged, but consumers can agree to higher rates in order to get the credit they need.)There's that pesky word, "need."
January 24, 2022
Most people don't shoot someone because they had a fight with their girlfriend, or because someone owes them twenty bucks. People get jealous every day. Lots of folks loan money they'll never get back, but violence never enters their minds. The very thought of shooting someone is crazy, right? But for some people, whose lives have been steeped in turmoil and violence, it is the only response they know. The fact is: There can be no widespread violence without the learned experience of violence.
January 7, 2022
My friend, Jesse, spent 20-plus years in prison. When we became acquainted, he was in the Putnamville Correctional Facility near Greencastle, Indiana. Established in 1914, the prison was known for nearly 70 years as the Indiana State Farm, because the inmates all worked in the prison's extensive farm and dairy operations. By the time Jesse got to Putnamville the farm was gone, and the few available prison jobs like kitchen detail, laundry, and cleaning, were already filled. Being locked up in his cell all day, with nothing to do, finally got to him. Jesse literally begged for a job...
December 21, 2021
Here it is: The last blog post of 2021! It's hard to believe that Covid is still among us and issues we have been facing for years still hang heavy over our heads, but still, I feel a change coming. I believe violence is reaching its zenith, that illness is no longer going to control us, and that a wider, more tangible feeling of good will is coming over our country and our city. I see a trend that serious issues are attracting the attention of the wider community so that many hands can truly equal lighter work and better results. There is a time for everything. I have to believe this is reaping time.
December 7, 2021
What's the best thing you've ever done? I can easily say it was writing Jesse who was an inmate at Putnamville Correctional Facility. He wasn't much more than a sad statistic: Raised in a fatherless home by a drug-addicted mother, he was put into foster care by age 5, and was moved around until he was tossed out of the system at age 18. Without a place to stay, and no money, he crashed in vacant buildings and got in with a tough crowd. Finally he earned himself a home with the Indiana Department of Correction. Jesse grew from a boy to a man during the 20 years he spent in prison...
November 22, 2021
"The victim has been identified as 25-year-old Mo'Nesha McKinley," said the police report. She was found dead on the city's near-east side just after noon one day about a month ago, when police responded to the 1000 block of North Rural Street on reports of a "possible deceased individual." Actually, she had been missing for four days. Where was she for four days? Who committed this terrible crime? With more than 50 percent of homicides remaining unsolved in our city, it is no wonder there are so few answers.
November 11, 2021
Most Christians believe if we are faithful and pray for what we need, we will eventually get it. After all, Matthew 7:7 says, "Ask and it will be given unto you." Like using a vending machine, we have inserted our coins of tithing, faith and commitment, and prayed for that promotion, or that BMW, or rosy health, or that person to love us more, or our child to stop using drugs. How frustrated are we when we fail to hear that "thump-a-dump" noise that signals our answered prayer has fallen into the front of the machine?