Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Corrections Cornucopia

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a celebration of American bounty.

Yet for many, just getting enough food to get by is a daily challenge. Just ask Kevin Winge, the director of a local nonprofit agency here in the Twin Cities, Open Arms Minnesota. He is attempting to live this week solely on the amount that is available from federal food stamps. Minnesota Public Radio broadcast an interview with him that I happened to hear on my afternoon commute.

Getting enough healthy food on $27.65 a week is challenging to say the least. As Open Arms points out, that is about the equivalent each day of a single latte.

Food for thought for the rest of us, how little this is. Still, when I got home I had a nice dinner and temporarily put the food security story out of my mind. After eating my fill, I started scrolling through Doug Berman's remarkable sentencing blog. Going back a few days, I spotted this recent post on a Chicago Tribune op/ed piece proposing a very creative sentencing alternative: community service to help plant, grow, harvest and distribute locally-produced food for the poor.

This is not just an outside-the-box thought; it is potentially a corrections cornucopia.

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