The power of education

Najiah Osborne

Institutionalized racism is defined as racism embedded in the laws and regulations of a society or an organization. How does institutionalized racism affect people of color? People of color are incarcerated five times the rate of white people, many for minor drug charges. Systems that revolve around education and employment are known to be limited in areas that are rural and poor. 

The East Moline Correctional Center (EMCC) is one of many facilities that holds minimum-security inmates. 

[Illinois Department of Corrections] states, “Our mission is to serve justice in Illinois and increase public safety by promoting positive change in behavior, operating successful reentry programs and reducing victimization.” 

Some programs are already offered to inmates housed in EMCC. They offer parole school and lifestyle redirection programs. Many of these programs are used to help inmates cultivate skills. 

Overall, people housed in jail have a lot of outlying issues that can be hard to deal with. Adding these programs assist individuals that are in need and would likely change their life. EMCC offers two educational options. Inmates are able to obtain an ABE (Adult Basic Education), or a GED, and now, a bachelor’s degree. 

Offering anyone a second chance, regardless of what mistakes they may have made, is crucial for societal development. I am convinced that the changes that the prison is making will benefit multiple people. Education is the answer. To limit the number of individuals that walk this earth with ignorance in their hearts, we need to enforce higher education. 

In the United States, we have prison pipelines. Unfortunately, opportunities in the realm of education are not always reachable to some young adults. 

[US News] states that “[e]arly strict discipline causes an increase in adult crime. 1.7 percent points that more likely to drop out of school.” 

Black students are 35 percent more likely to get suspended in school than white students. Additionally, the systems that are currently in place also do not support students with behavioral challenges. If schools were better funded, students would be able to receive the support that they need to be successful.  

A gap of communication exists between people with authority and people of color. People in this country are far too greedy and power-hungry. They continue to disregard people for more power. All of these systems that have been embedded in our society have only benefited people with power.  

I am convinced that these systems work against people of color who live in poverty. Federal tax is limited, and if students do not attend school, the school will not be funded. This is a huge issue for our nation. If people of color are still not able to receive an adequate education, we will fail the next generation. 

To keep people out of these correctional facilities, we have to care. Care about education, employment and life. Anyone can make a difference, and anyone can be successful. Coming together is crucial, especially in times of turmoil.