The best TV directors and producers couldn't depict a better picture than what I saw with my own eyes. These were real people in a real situation that reflected real problems in their lives.
The most powerful part of the jail tour was hearing a 18 year old inmate named Brandon, a ONE in THREE featured student speak. September 13th, 2011 I'd read Brandon's story at The Cummer and had the opportunity to meet his mother. Learn more about Brandon's story and the ONE in THREE exhibit.
We all make mistakes. Some of us continue to make the same mistakes. Some of us make the choice to change. Brandon has made the choice to change despite being behind bars. There are others like Brandon too.
I'm a native of Jacksonville, Florida so I'm not oblivious to the fact that crime is a problem for the city. Crime is a problem for every city where poverty is an issue. Poverty and education are two factors that relate to the city's crime rates. I could provide you with a statistic about how many African American men and women are "in the system" but I don't need too. I could provide you with a statistic about how many minorities and low-income Caucasians are "in the system" but I don't need to. Statistics will not make our reality different than what it is. They will only signify the drastic measures WE need to take to CHANGE the reality.
Who are WE? Every citizen of Jacksonville. We are the people of Jacksonville. We are the people living in the communities and among those, who are making the biggest mistake of their lives. We can't change a person's situation or problems. We must focus on what we can do... mentor a child, volunteer at a school, provide individuals with information about nonprofits that may be able to help their family.
I would recommend that if you are interested, participate in the Civilian Observer Program offered by JSO. More information can be found at JSO Civilian Observer Program.