Joshua Brown will tell you without much prompting that he served three years in prison for aggravated assault.
He’s not proud of it. But he owns it. The Vidalia native, who lives in Perry, said his jail sentence was the result of a series of bad decisions.
Two-thirds of those released from prison in Georgia will likely be rearrested within three years of their release, according to the Georgia Center for Opportunity’s Prisoner Reentry Initiative.
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America is in an economic and cultural crisis, as millions lack the tools that make a fulfilling life: A great education, stable job, and healthy relationships. The chief question, of course, is how to best connect our neighbors with opportunities that lead to a flourishing life.
Tim Carney—best-selling author, Washington Examiner commentary editor, and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute—has some excellent answers in his latest book, Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse. Tim will be highlighting his findings at this years Breakthrough event in Atlanta, GA.
Hot off the press in February, Alienated America examines the dissolution of our nation’s most cherished institutions—nuclear families, places of worship, and civic organizations. In this his third book, Carney chronicles how life is getting worse for people in some parts of the country because folks are facing their problems alone.
And after visiting all corners of America and digging deep into the data, Carney concludes what we here at the Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO) have been saying for years—failing social connections are driving a great divide in America that can’t be fixed solely with job-training programs or more entitlement spending.
Specifically, Carney makes the case that just three groups represent most of America: the elites, the religious conservatives, and the alienated. And while community and civil society has been eroding across all groups across the nation in recent years, it has not done so equally for each group.
In alignment with GCO’s view, Carney argues that working class people in America are currently suffering more than other groups because they no longer have the institutions to connect them to others—and provide an all-important sense of purpose. It’s this profound lack of belonging—and an inability to see this disconnect—that drives a sense of alienation that not only divides us as a nation, but tragically leads to despair and an erosion of individual self-worth and belief in opportunity.
While the problems before us as a nation often seem daunting, the good news is that both GCO and Tim Carney’s Alienated America present a framework for positive community-focused solutions that overcome deeply entrenched obstacles to opportunity and unleash prosperity at the individual, family, and community levels.
We’re thrilled that Tim Carney will be joining us for Breakthrough 2019 on September 11 in Atlanta. The event brings together some of America’s most innovative researchers, policy experts, and community-based practitioners to lead timely discussions on solutions that unlock human potential—and enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish in Georgia and around the country. Stay tuned over the course of the summer as we announce additional event keynote and discussion panel speakers.