As African Americans we must support stricter laws in Illinois to keep our communities safe

As African Americans we must support stricter laws in Illinois to keep our communities safe

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 31: The Rev. Jesse Jackson (L) and Rev. Michael Pfleger carry crosses as they march with other residents, activists, and family members of victims of gun violence down Michigan Avenue to draw attention to the city's rising murder rate on December 31, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. At the time, nearly 800 people had been murdered in the city that year and more than 4000 had been shot as the city dealt with its most violent year in two decades. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

It is time for Illinois to make stricter laws to stop the spread of gun violence now that J.B. Pritzker has been elected Governor of Illinois. Too much crime in Illinois are done by repeat offenders. I mean how many second chances does a person need before the court system realize he or she will never change.

I saw it all too often growing up in the Auburn-Gresham community on the south side of Chicago. I mean shootings were an everyday occurrence. No one feared the justice system. I saw people steal, rob, sell drugs, commit crime after crime, get caught and go to jail, but six months later they would be out of jail doing the same crime all over again.

Do not get me wrong, I believe in rehabilitation. I believe if we can rehabilitate someone or teach someone a trade that will help them live a productive life; then we should do it, but at the same time he or she must want to change. No one can make someone change their life. By releasing prisoners to the streets after they have been convicted of multiple crimes is only bringing down the community they are living in.

As African Americans, we tend to get caught up in the number of African Americans incarcerated in the prison system. Yes I agree we have too many black men and women incarcerated over petty crimes, but if he or she has committed that crime over and over then what - release them back into our community just to keep the numbers low.

I am not for having jails full with African Americans or any group of people. I am for keeping our communities safe. Right now the focus should be to stop the shootings and reduce the murders. Gangs must fear the justice system. We need more life sentences for senseless gun violence to keep our communities safe. We need laws where an armed robbery would carry a minimum of 25 years in prison even if a robber never fires a shot.

At some point we must open our eyes and realize that we need to keep the repeat offenders in prison before he or she hurt or kill someone. I mean why release a man who once kidnapped a five-year-old girl in under thirty years so he can do it again and possibly kill someone’s child. At some point the message in Illinois especially Chicago’s African American community should be if you kidnap, rape or murder someone you will get a minimum of 50 years in prison with no possibility of parole.


An overcrowded prison system is no excuse for releasing dangerous felons into any community. So maybe a better option would be to release white collar prisoners instead of the prisoners with a history of committing violent crimes. My only fear comes from the African American community leaders who too often preach we need rehabilitate prison inmates instead of punishing them for their crime. To be honest, I am more concern with the families of those affected by the crimes the prisoners committed than the prisoners who chose to commit the crime that put them in prison, but I understand how politics work.

In Illinois, a Governor or Mayor cannot win elections or get African American votes if he or she wants to propose tougher laws and longer sentences. Such a move would be a career ending move with the African American community leaders protesting that the candidate wants to keep African Americans in prison forever; even though the laws would affect every race of people.

J.B. Pritzker has a chance to work with Mike Madigan to pass laws to hold people accountable for the crimes they commit by proposing longer sentences for felonies. The crime in Chicago would go down if we get rid of the repeat offenders. At some point we must realize that we have tried everything else and it did not work. We must send the message that if you fire that gun be prepared to spend 50 years to life in prison.

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