Try and wrap your mind around this: The economic engines of Gainesville, Florida are education (University of Florida and Santa Fe College), medicine (UF medical center and one of the five largest VA hospitals in country as well as one of the largest private hospitals in the state) and government. At the same time, Gainesville has a higher incarceration ratio (+1,000 per 100,000) than the state of Florida (about 780 per 100,000). The state of Florida has a higher incarceration ratio than that the US (about 700 per 100,000) and there is not country in the world that has a higher incarceration ration than the US.
Now, think in terms of how this incarceration ratio compares to Canada which has an incarceration of 112 or so per 1000,000 and they think it is a disaster. Makes you wonder how Canada can survive as a free and democratic country.
If we were to profile the average inmate in Florida we would see they have about a 6th grade education level as well as an addiction. That means somewhere in a town where the economic engines are education, medicine and government and the reality of who and how many they are sending to prison is a big and I mean big disconnect.
Local secondary education has been awarded some of the highest awards in the country. I will argue that there is a two tired education system crafted to meet the demands of the educated which represent a powerful special interest and advocacy group and the poor have been clustered in one under-performing High School.
Yes, it is East Side High School which gets awards for its International Baccalaureate (IB) program. However, I will also argue that these students are from the entire county and only the program is housed at East Side High School to cover the truth of an under-performing High School. The IB kids are the cream of the crop that are for the most part taking courses offered by Santa Fe College that carry dual ratings as high school and college courses on the campus of Santa Fe College. All of which means that most of the IB students are not being educated by the county but by a college. Would love to see a racial and zip code break out of these kids.
So, now we have a film clip on YouTube that speaks eloquently to the situation.
However, this is an issue I have spoken to in guest editorials for the last decade and still nothing has happened. Maybe a visualization of the process from the inside will force some corrective action. And here it is: