Op-Ed: Address the root cause of crime by Ashley Esposito

(BALTIMORE – March 2, 2021) – For the last time, address the root cause of crime. And if your answer is “people are just bad” then you’re not paying attention and/or your selfish. #GetOutOfYourBubble
For context, most of the people I know who are dead or incarcerated had responsibilities as kids that they shouldn’t have. They also grew up extremely poor. Some had families affected by addiction and mental illness There were MANY opportunities for them to get help but adults said “ohhh yeah…that’s rough…someone should really help them.” 🤦🏽‍♀️ But no one did anything, so their path was set. Every day that adults waste in allowing kids to be impoverished, face trauma, etc., is one step further down the school-to-prison pipeline. I don’t want to see one more post about “so and so was shot today”, BPD posting a haul they got from an arrest, or any f***in press conference without context.
The appropriate answer is, “This crime happened so the city is:

1. Providing trauma care for all witnesses and ongoing FREE treatment for the kids
2. We’re interviewing all currently incarcerated people to gather information on where we could have done better
3. We’re halting all development in Baltimore city until developers put their resources together to address the disparities FIRST (no funding and “the market” is a poor excuse for food deserts and vacant homes
4. Scholarships to HBCUs for social workers and counselors because there is a major shortage
5. Free drug treatment care and the city will openly normalize people in recovery and move AWAY from being an anti-recovery society
6. Fully funding police-free schools equipped with FREE in-school wellness centers in collaboration with local hospitals that provide on-site primary care, therapy, and other health services (FYI: other states have done it). YES free because the hospitals are non-profits and they can sell all the vacant houses they are hoarding to pay for it. Also, SROs shouldn’t be in schools and if they are liked because they are actually acting like counselors they they should be deprogrammed, retrained, educated, and rehired as counselors, not cops. Also, that will not work for ALL SROs because it’s rare for an SRO to naturally do something atypical of their purpose in schools.