A couple days ago, the Delaware County Daily Times shared the story of Kevin Trusty, a 56 year old Chester guy who got caught in the act while burglarizing a home in Swarthmore.
There’s a few lessons to be learned from this article.
LESSON 1. The Robinhood Effect
We’ve long associated stealing from the rich to give to the poor as a characteristic commonly tied to Robinhood. Mr. Trusty confessed to other burglaries in Media, Upper Providence and Nether Providence which are significantly more affluent neighborhoods than the households of his friends and family members in the impoverished Chester. There’s no shortage of burglars preying on the poor households of Chester, but Mr. Trusty decided the reward was worth the risk when he employed his trade outside of his own neighborhood.
LESSON 2. Model Prisoners don’t make Model Citizens
It appears the police tried to warn the prison to keep him in jail, but the prisons occasionally reward good behavior with an early release. Mr. Trusty doesn’t make a habit of stealing from poor folks, and he doesn’t seem like the violent type (except if you try to arrest him), so he probably was well suited for a peaceful existence in prison. Unfortunately, the Model Prisoner diploma doesn’t carry much weight in society. If he had only been required to couple that with a certified skill, or a degree, or something he could use to make a meaningful contribution when he was released, maybe he wouldn’t have gone right back into his chosen profession of robbing rich people’s homes.
LESSON 3. They kept the light on for his return
Mr. Trusty simply followed the formula of so many released prisoners who find themselves right back in jail not long after they’re released. Some blame the prisons for not preparing inmates to succeed on the outside; some blame cities like Chester for not having adequate reentry programs available to released felons; some blame the prison industrial complex and criminal justice laws for doing all they can to keep the profits rolling in by leaving no cell unoccupied. It’s kind of hard to blame Mr. Trusty for going back to the profession he’s been working for the past 40 years, but many of us would rather consider that he is his own worse enemy.
If you get caught breaking the law, you should pay a price. Mr. Trusty is back where he belongs for his misdeeds.
If you are so inclined to address improvements to how America handles its prisoners, consider supporting the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March to be held in Washington, August 19, 2017 to end legalized prison slavery and mass incarceration.