There are many small things we as a society can do that add up to have a big impact on curbing crime. And for starters, we need to recognize that all crimes are not equal and all ex-felons are not criminals worthy of being socially and permanently ostracized.
I have argued that the more money we spend on mental health, drug treatment and job training for ex-offenders on the front end, the less we spend incarcerating them on the back.
Now I’d like to bring up something that is full of common sense and costs you nothing but a few minutes culling your closet.
This year, over 4,000 individuals will be released from state institutions and 11,000 will be release from local jails. What kind of fate awaits these ex-prisoners? Can we make their reentry into society any easier, any more hopeful? A huge step in that direction is to help them find gainful employment.
You might ask, why should we bother helping ex-criminals? But it’s only common sense that if they become productive members of society, it benefits us all.
A small thing that you can do to help is to donate your outgrown or unwanted business clothing to a program called The National Suit Drive run by the Department of Public Safety and Corrections collects. The clothing you donate will be used by released prisoners for job interviews. Program spokesperson Pam Laborde, in an interview with the Times Picayune, said that 1,640 clothing items were donated in Louisiana. They hope to exceed that this year.
“The program needs suits, slacks, dress shoes, outerwear, sports coats, dress shirts, dress skirts, blouses, ties and other accessories” says Laborde. “All clothing items should be placed on hangers.”
You can drop your donations off at any Men’s Warehouse store. You will receive a tax receipt for your donation as well as a 50% discount coupon from the store.
The local locations are:
- 3033 N. Causeway Blvd., Metairie
- 3301 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie
- 1629 West Bank Expressway, Harvey
- 1130 S. Clearview Parkway, Elmwood
- 1401 West Esplanade Ave, Kenner
- 197 West Bank Expressway, Gretna
- 69284 Louisiana 21, Suite 500, Covington