Kirk, Rush meet in DC about Chicago gang problem - Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Kirk, Rush meet in DC about Chicago gang problem

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A war of words over the war on gangs takes a diplomatic turn.  Senator Mark Kirk and Congressman Bobby Rush met behind closed doors to talk about the best way to combat violence in some Chicago neighborhoods.

The first idea on the table is to get to know those neighborhoods.  Both men have agreed to tour the First Congressional District.

Senator Kirk acknowledged it's Congressman Rush's district dealing with many of the problem areas.  Kirk proposed using millions of federal dollars to crush Chicago gangs with thousands of arrests.  However Rush recently called the idea a quote " upper-middle-class, elitist white boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about".

At today's meeting Congressman Rush gave Senator Kirk  a book called "The New Jim Crow"

Dr. Carol Adams, a sociologist who heads The DuSable Museum of African American History says the critically acclaimed book documents the use of incarceration as a modern tool of social control.

She says zero tolerance leaves prisons overflowing with black and brown inmates.  Once released, a felon can't get a job, lives in public housing, and get food stamps.  In a nutshell, zero opportunity turns jail time into a life sentence.

Changing the direction of decades of public policy that has turned America into the most incarcerated country in the world may not be an easy sell for Congressman Rush.  However today's meeting could be the start of an interesting collaboration with a powerful colleague, who seems willing to listen.

Video by Lynn Sweet - Chicago Sun-Times.

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