I know this isn't necessarily a "discussion" forum, but, Easy123, you don't get to pull the "racism" card, just because you disagree with something. I concede that I used a little sarcasm toward Cook in my post, but, outside of that, there was no ad hominem style attack as you are engaged in (Oh, I disagree with hem, therefore I will attack them personally).
Moreover, JonRoss simply spoke about what he perceives as the declining tendency in this country to take personal responsibility for actions committed. Literally, if you can't do the time, don't do the crime. And, as I pointed out, part of "the time" is what you have to deal with AFTER prison. Consequences have a far reach. If my children do something they are not supposed to do, yes there is immediate correction and discipline, but there is also the damage to our relationship. Can I trust them to not do it (whatever it was) again? So it is with criminals.
I sympathise with Mr. Conner's predicament. The past four years or so have been hard on everyone, and I am sure he is no exception. The CHA "No Trespassing" issue is another lamentable fact, but the simple fact of the matter is that the situation in which he finds himself is a product of his own handiwork.
And Mr. Cook does no favors for Mr. Conner (or any other convicted felon) with the piece he wrote. He casts Mr. Conner in the role of the misunderstood ex-con with a heart of gold and grand intentions, and points the finger at society as the sole bearer of responsibility for the tough times in which Mr. Conner finds himself. That kind of circumstance might work in novels by Victor Hugo, but, in the real world, "it just ain't so."
Good job on being a journalist, Mr. Cook, except for the whole forgetting to point out obvious falsity. For example:
"It's a double standard," said Conner. - No, it isn't a double standard. If you're a felon, life gets harder. Sorry, but "them's the breaks." Maybe next time don't carry a gun to an argument over a woman, or, hey, just let it go altogether.
"Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color 'criminals' and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind" - No, we have not! We label CRIMINALS, criminals. (I note, with some disappointment, that Cook makes zero effort to talk about the disenfranchised felons of other races.)
"Locally (as well as nationally), blacks are imprisoned at disproportionate levels." - 397 black inmates to 393 white inmates (or even 265 to 196.) is "disproportionate"?!?
I know this is an "opinion" piece, but, Mr. Cook is doing nothing here but attempting to advance an obvious "progressive" type agenda, and he's doing it by attempting to twist heartstrings instead of relaying sobering facts. Bad form, sir.