A Woman’s Right To Choose

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Is the government over reaching and over stepping its boundaries with these new strict and anti-abortion laws? When I first heard about these laws I just thought a few politicians were just trying to make a name for themselves and now that these laws are gaining so much steam I just can’t believe that women’s rights are being attacked like this in 2019. I am just truly baffled by these new pending anti-abortion laws. Abortion has always been a hot bed topic with heated disagreements and rightfully so but the government hasn’t interjected like this since Roe v. Wade. What has started in Indiana has since traveled to Missouri, Ohio, Louisiana, Alabama, and many other states across the country and it really needs to be stopped in its tracks before women no longer have any rights at all.

There are many reasons why woman get abortions and it’s quite frankly their right. However two of the main reasons why women get abortions according to a study conducted by John Hopkins University is when they become pregnant due to being raped or incest. According to the study 91% of women who become pregnant in these horrific ways terminate their pregnancies with abortions. Now with these new proposed laws abortions would be illegal for the 9 out of 10 women who decide that they don’t want to have a baby against their will. This is absolutely ridiculous and disrespectful to women.

I have spoken to many rape victims and they all have said that being raped was the most traumatic and damaging experience of their life. These women say that there was no way in hell that they would have carried the baby of a rapist! However I was also able to speak with a few women that did happen to get pregnant after being raped and all of them felt that becoming pregnant only made things worst. Each one of them got an abortion. These women felt that the joy of being pregnant and motherhood was stolen from them. They didn’t want to bring a child in this would that they didn’t have any love or emotional feelings for. This is one reason why women need to have an option for termination.

Women who are victims of incest are faced with the same dilemma as women that were raped and became pregnant. What makes their situations different is that they are victims to a member of their family. Incest is practically rape by a “close” relative. Psychologically it’s damaging and genetically it’s impossible to predict how the baby is going to turn out. There isn’t any reason to force a woman to go through with a pregnancy that is unhealthy for her mentally or emotionally.

Health care in this great country of ours is a privilege and not a birth right, so if it’s our responsibility to take care of ourselves then why should the government be allowed to dictate how we go about it. Medicaid doesn’t cover abortions unless the child’s birth is detrimental to the mothers’ welfare. This isn’t a government issue. Abortion isn’t adding to the nation’s debt. If the government was providing health care to everyone then I could understand some sort of regulations but abortions are paid out of pocket by consenting women.

I believe that it doesn’t matter if you are pro-choice or pro-life because it’s your right. These personal life decisions are based on the individual and their personal beliefs. Too often in America we try to force our opinions and beliefs on others because we believe it’s right but it isn’t. We have choices and getting an abortion is a tough decision a lot of women choose to make. Some politicians and pro-life supporters attempt to force their religious beliefs into whether abortion is correct. However the decision to get an abortion is not a decision based on religious beliefs for the majority of women who get them. Women should be able to get them for whatever reason they feel as long as they understand and can live with the decision. There is no way that anyone’s religion should be forced upon someone no matter what.

As a nation we all must stand up and speak up for each other’s rights. We can’t only acknowledge the rights that affect us directly. If we are going to be a nation that prides itself on accepting each other’s differences then it can’t be limited to race and sexual orientation. Women should have a right to do as they please with their bodies. Roe v. Wade gave women protection when it comes to abortion rights but if we don’t come together to help protect them then women will become voiceless. To ban abortions for rape and incest victims is very callous on the part of our lawmakers. You never know or can predict when someone close to you may be faced with a situation like that and can’t do anything about it because the law doesn’t protect them. Now they are mandated to recover and piece their lives back together in 9 months to care for a baby that they are forced to have. We can agree to disagree but ultimately each woman should have the final decision when it comes to what they should and shouldn’t do with their body.

One final note, as pro-choice as I am and an advocate for women’s rights I do agree with one aspect of these new abortion bills. I agree with the elimination of late term abortions. I believe that there should be a time frame on how long a woman can wait to terminate a pregnancy for personal reasons. This doesn’t include rape, incest victims, or for health reasons to the child or the mother.

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Morally Correct

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Have you noticed that as we move further into a reality T.V. and social media driven world that our core values such as honesty, patience, commitment and loyalty just to name a few are on the verge of becoming extinct? The core values that has allowed our country to thrive into the 21st century are diminishing every single day. We are becoming more self-indulged and selfish without even giving our actions a second thought to how we come off or make others feel. If we continue to allow our core values to fade, manipulated, and / or corrupted; our chances for world peace and happiness will only become an unfulfilled dream. We have to get back to teaching positive values at home so that we can live them in public. We also have to elect leaders who epitomize the same values in which we believe to be true because who we choose to follow is a direct representation of us.

As parents we want to give our children the very best of everything that the world has to offer and there isn’t any problem with that. However before we start with materialistic things we need to heavily invest and instill the proper morals and principles. Toddlers today know how to operate an IPhone before they know how to say please and thank you. Now that is a shame. According to a recent survey conducted by Duke University 81% of children ages 7-16 have been allowed to quit at least 3 different groups, sports or teams because they faced initial adversity due to their skill level. This says more about us as parents then it does the child.

The most watched reality T.V. shows The House Wives of your choice, TMZ, Wendy Williams, Bad Girls Club and Teen Mom are all widely popular due to their never ending gossip, epic fights and their over the top drama. However all of that moral disobedience is seeping into our everyday lives its staining our moral fabric. Just as our favorite characters backstab and hurt one another it is becoming all too familiar in our personal lives. Take a second and think about how many times you witnessed someone getting hurt because someone was being selfish and careless?

Just about every single day since 2016 the leader of our country has been making the headlines for his distasteful behavior. Our leader doesn’t have moral dignity and he is a direct reflection of what we have become as a nation. He lies, make racist comments, and belittle women all for his personal gain. We see this every day and many believe if he can do it then so can I. We talk about being a country with dignity, honor and love but if we elect people who don’t share the same values then we are all morally incompetent.

In order to combat these stained morals we need greater self-awareness and moral accountability I personally live by “if the shoe was on the other foot” creed, which means if I do something how would I feel if it was done back to me. This is just one way to stay aware of your actions and make sure that you are accountable for them.

We all have a moral responsibility to teach and show our children and the youth what’s morally acceptable and right from wrong. We can’t allow them to get away with bullying or mistreating others because they are different. According to the New York Times 87% of racist people were taught hate from someone in their household. What we do and how we handle situations as adults and as parents will have a lasting influence on our kids. Think about how many kids smoke cigarettes because one of their parents are smokers?

What we watch on T.V. is just like what we eat. If we eat junk food all day 9 times out of 10 you will become unhealthy. What you put in your body always comes out. If we enjoy watching people get treated badly then there is a great chance we won’t care how we treat others. We are morally obligated to respect one another and find ways to work around our differences.

It’s our job to share and spread love. We have to put away our selfish ways and care more for our love ones and our communities. From the President on down to an inmate there are consequences for our actions. We have to be responsible and accountable for what we do. Corruption, deception, bigotry, racism, disrespect or violence has no place in our society and we all need to stand up for what’s morally correct.

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Criminal Justice Reform: A Solution That Works For All

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It is no secret that the criminal justice system is busting at the seams, and ultimately perpetuating a continuous cycle of mass incarceration. Due to the drastic increase in the national prison population, the country is beginning to carry a heavier financial burden. The public funds required to house and supervise people behind bars could be used more effectively in other areas of society such as education, job training, and diversion programs. In 2011, over 2.2 million people or 1 in 107 adults, were incarcerated in prisons or jails across the U.S. Another 4.8 million, or 1 in 50 adults were under supervision on probation or parole that year 1*. In an estimated total, nearly seven million Americans are under correctional or other criminal justice supervision. The amount of money spent by the United States on correction and community supervision such as parole and probation has almost quadrupled over the last twenty years 2*. The harsh punishment of prison for low-level offenses has proven to be ineffective in rehabilitating offenders. The portion of individuals returning to prison within the three-year period following their release has remained consistently above 40-50% for decades 3*. A greater attempt needs to be made to divert or channel low-level offenders away from the criminal justice system, so as to provide them with an alternative to prosecution. Mass incarceration has become a serious problem for this country, the number of people under correctional or criminal justice supervision in the U.S. far exceeds the entire general population in each of 38 different states 4*. If more preventative measures are not taken to reduce these growing statistics the results could prove to be catastrophic to the outcome of this nation as a whole. In this case, the most plausible solution would be to implement criminal justice programs geared towards re-socializing low level offenders back into society as productive members.

The problem that we are facing as a nation is the socio-economic impact of mass incarceration due to the lack of criminal justice diversion program implementation. According to the Maryland Division of Correction, the average annual cost to house an inmate in one of our state prisons is $38,654. The average yearly cost for an individual to participate in a community diversion program ranges from $2,000 – $5,000. Throughout the United States, these programs have shown to be effective at rehabilitating at risk individuals, reducing the spending of taxpayer dollars, lowering the prison population and increasing public safety 5*. This problem is of great significance to the American public as a whole because 1). The consequence of not having diversion programs means higher taxes being allocated for public safety, 2). The increase in non-rehabilitated individuals being released back into society, and 3). The reduction in quality of life for low-level offenders who will be stigmatized and discriminated against within society because of their convictions. This is not the type of problem that can be ignored or avoided, the effects of mass incarceration spread far and wide among the American public, and the ramifications for not addressing it in an efficient and effective manner will prove to be detrimental to the stability of the nation. So, with this in mind it seems evident that some kind of immediate action must be taken to preserve the well-being and best interests of the American public, or unfortunately suffer the consequences that inaction will surely bring. Mass incarceration is a social and economic strain on the county and must be combated to reduce the negative impact that it has on the nation.

The solution to reducing mass incarceration is simple; take preventative measures to reduce the number of criminal justice populations across the country by developing and implementing diversion programs. The goals of these diversion programs should include and consider public safety, reducing pressure on booking/holding in jail, identifying treatment needs of individuals (substance use disorders/mental health issues), reducing court docket pressure, reducing court and jail expense, maximizing prosecution resources for more serious offenses, addressing the basic needs of individuals reducing recidivism, and supervision with rehabilitation oriented practice. These goals can best be carried out by developing and implementing diversion programs that provide public crisis intervention, immediate diversion to behavioral health services, referrals to community services, individualized conditions for success/failure, justice accountability, and clear rewards/sanctions. These alternative measures are far more cost-effective than those of the traditional criminal justice system 6*.

  • Pre-booking diversion in Seattle’s LEAD program lead to 60% less recidivism in the first 6 months compared to a control group, as well as statistically significant reductions in criminal justice, legal system, and other costs 7*.
  • Pretrial diversion services in Kentucky have saved millions of dollars in incarceration costs and have reduced burden on court docket. The state observed a 71% rate of non-recidivism for its misdemeanor diversion programs and notes that defendants completed tens of thousands of community service hours and paid tens of thousands of dollars in restitution to victims 8*.
  • Testing, sanctioning and treatment are effective at reducing drug use and drug related crime recidivism, and are also cost-effective. A study evaluating “Breaking the Cycle”, a drug court program utilizing these strategies, found the following positive results among participants: reduction of drug use in two of three sites, reduction in drug sales and possession offences, reduction in family problems in all sites. A cost benefit analysis also showed this approach saved $2.30 to $5.70 for every dollar invested 9*.

The United States is currently in the damage control phase and trying to maintain stability in the overwhelming reality of mass incarceration. With the prison population within this country constantly growing at a rapid pace, it is obvious that the issue of maintenance will continue to be a serious problem and continue to have dire effects on the American people. We need to stop waiting by while these kinds of problems arise and focus on how we can prevent them from occurring or spiraling out of control. Criminal Justice Diversion Programs serve as a healthy and productive alternative to incarceration, parole or probation for misdemeanor or other low-level offenses. These programs have proven to be cost-effective and beneficial for all parties involved including the community at large. So why not invest in something that is clearly more conducive to the nation as a whole. If these programs were developed and implemented on a greater scale, the results would have a greater impact on criminal prevention.

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1). Glaze L. E., & Parks, E. (2012). Correctional Population in the United States, 2011 (NCJ239972). Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

2). Henrichson, C., & Delaney, R (2012). The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers. New York: Vera Institute of Justice, Center on Sentencing and Corrections.

3). Langan, P.A., & Levin, D. J. (2002) Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 1994 (NCJ193427). Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice; And Pew Center on the States. (2011). State of Recidivism: The Revolving Door of America’s Prisons. Washington, DC: The Pew Charitable Trusts.

4). The Long Reach of American Corrections (2009). Data from Bureau of Justice Statistics Correctional Populations in the United States, 2011 and the Census Bureau (2012).

5). Del. Aisha Braveboy, a Democrat, Represents District 25 in Prince Georges County.

6). A national survey of Criminal Justice Diversion Programs and Initiatives.

7). Collins, S., Lonczak, H., & Clifasefi, S. (2015, March), LEAD Program Evaluation: Recidivism Report, Harm Reduction Research and Treatment Lab, University of Washington –Harborview Medical Center.

8). American Bar Association Criminal Justice Section State Policy Implementation Project. Pretrial Release Reform.

9). Harrell, A., Mitchell, O., Merill J., & Marlowe, D. (2003, February). Evaluation of breaking the cycle Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/research/publication/evaluation-breaking-cycle.

No Justice

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Society please listen to my position I really need your attention, there is literally very little justice in the Justice System

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Everyday police kill people like me in the streets and they don’t receive a conviction, before I was sentenced to prison I was also a victim

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A victim to the laws that politician conspicuously designed against me, laws that continuously hinder my potential instead of uplift me

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Meanwhile, my racial profile is depicted as suspicious and infamous, so it’s senseless for me to even plead for forgiveness

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Clearly the judicial system will only extend us extensive sentences, blatantly disregarding our existence or our chance at redemption

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It confines us to the prison industrial complex for economic benefit, sounds less like principal and more like business

No Justice No Peace, No Peace No Justice

If you ask me I think it’s highly ridiculous that the system doesn’t even consider the conditions that created this ignorance

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Maybe my father’s level of education was extremely limited, my biological mother is a crackhead and my home was broken even before I was born

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Both of my guardians were afflicted by narcotic addiction, now has my poverty-stricken environment diminished my innocence? Kind of sounds like the perfect recipe for a criminal mentality doesn’t it?

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Capitalism within the poor black community breeds criminals not gentlemen, socialized to survived by any means, that means no sentiment

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I am truly collateral damage to the American Government, sadly I’m a product of the very system that claims that I am a threat to the public

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And for that they take away my name, give me a number and a sentence of suffering, Am I perfect? Not at all but I am capable of change so I am changing the subject

No Justice No Peace, No Peace No Justice

I bring awareness to the people who place too much faith in a system that’s corrupted, we are all born innocent but unfortunately different circumstances require that we have this discussion

No Justice No Peace, No Peace No Justice

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Damaged Goods

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More and more relationships and marriages are ending due to infidelity. Why has cheating become socially acceptable and even encouraged everywhere that you turn? Family members turn a blind eye to their love ones indiscretions. Friends accept and often times encourage their friends to “do them” without any care for the person who is getting done wrong. It has gotten so bold that coworkers in the work place inspire and provoke such behavior. Before the 21st century when love and marriages thrived this type of conduct wasn’t accepted or even tolerated but today it’s the new norm. People who believe in love, marriage and monogamy like myself needs to get this conversation started on how it’s not acceptable before people’s ability to truly love becomes nonexistent.

People think that it’s so easy to find a companion and fall in love but all of this lying and cheating has psychologically damaged men and women alike. Trusting and believing in a person’s ability to love you unconditionally is harder than winning the Mega Millions. Everyone is trying to stay one step ahead of one another and this type of mindset is what keeps couples from truly working together and figuring life out.

Men are taught at an early age to not settle down and to play the field. We go from female to female without thinking about how we are messing them up psychologically. I was told by the strongest woman who I know that she expects to be cheated on and in doing my research almost every female expects the same thing out of guys. Being a guy who believes in love and marriage hearing that personal truth made me sick to my stomach. Infidelity and lack of care are the main reasons why women have lost trust in men. We glorify our friends who have multiple women and clown the female that is getting played. If we listen to our women on how they view getting seriously involved with a man it’s sad. They know that the vast majority of men aren’t serious and are only after one thing.

Now woman today are becoming more careless and cold-hearted when it comes to monogamy. They are no longer sitting back waiting to get played. They are going out getting what they want whenever they want. This attitude has taken guys who are serious and who really want to settle down by surprise because now they are the victims to a mindset that men created. Women say if men can do it why can’t we? This is the new independent woman.

We all are becoming damaged goods due to living foul. People have lied and cheated so much that they can’t believe when they have found someone who truly loves them because they are haunted by their past faults. Now this person has to deal with issues and problems that they didn’t even create. We all have been on both sides of the coin in some capacity when it comes to this.

I believe that everyone goes through a phase where they play the field but, when is that type of behavior no longer acceptable. According to a 2017 Yale University study 86% of woman want to get married and 74% of men want to get married regardless of sexual orientation but yet the marriage rate continues to drop. The divorce rate has been on the rise for the past 18 years. The number one reason for divorce is infidelity!! The study concludes that cheating can now be classified as an epidemic. 500,000 people participated in this study and 69% admitted to sleeping around on their spouse. Those numbers are sad. If this isn’t an eye opener then I don’t know what is. This character defect is getting out of control.

This desire has gotten out of hand because we all have allowed it to grow. We all are guilty of turning a blind eye to it. We laugh at close calls and gossip about it whenever someone gets caught up. It’s easier to call out a stranger on T.V. for being a cheat but wouldn’t say anything to your friend who happens to be sitting next to you on the couch doing the same exact thing. As long as we don’t have any standards anything goes. For example, all of the guys who I consider my friends aren’t condoning that type of behavior. I felt wronged by my wife and only spoke on getting even with her. Verbalizing that thought got me cursed out and nearly ostracized from my boys because that’s not how we handle our business. If we aren’t holding each other accountable than we are allowing this disease to continue to grow. People are only going to start to change once they see that emotionally damaging people is no longer tolerated.

The people who know me best would testify that there was a time in my life when I played the field with the best of them. I went from female to female without a care in the world. My friends knew what I was doing and often praised me for being “the man”. My family knew what was going on and said “oh he is just being a man”. For as long as I was running wild nobody ever called me out on my behavior. My conduct has caused a lot of broken hearts and even some trust issues. Moral of the story, I personally psychologically damaged woman. This is a hard truth to swallow and it should be for all who partake in scandalous behavior.

They say that every dog has its day and it wasn’t until I got played that I got front row seats to see all of the pain that I have caused a lot of women. To be on the receiving end sucked. It wasn’t until I tried to move on that I found out that I was scared. The heart is so delicate and when it gets damaged it’s hard to repair. Sometimes the damage is irreversible no matter how much time passes by. When you hurt someone who loves you emotionally or someone who you love hurts you it can be a traumatic experience that alters a love life forever. I looked into the eyes of a special person who heart I devastated and it may take years to fix the damaged that I’ve caused, if that damage could ever be fixed. For me it hasn’t been as simple as I once thought it was to get over a broken heart.

As human beings no matter your sexual orientation, race, or religion we all have a moral compass and it’s our responsibility to protect the people we love. Society nor a generational culture doesn’t dictate how we should treat our relationships. When we want to be sneaky, slick and selfish it would be wise to really think about how bad our actions can hurt the person that we are involved with. Take it from me I have been on both sides and it’s not cool. To see the hurt and pain that you caused to someone who you claimed to love should never ever have to happen. We are the reason that statistics are what they are. We are the reason why we can’t trust each other and why people are so emotionally and psychologically damaged. When are we going to speak up and put an end to it? Are you going to wait until it happens to you? Are you going to wait until it happens to your best friend? Your son? Your daughter? Or are you going to pretend that it’s nothing wrong? I recently heard a wise man say if you are going to do that person wrong don’t even mess that person up for the next person who comes along with the right intentions.

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