Teny Oded Gross, the executive director of the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence, works with people who are trying to turn their lives around after being in trouble with the law. And as such, he had some choice words for Angus Davis, Ed Achorn and others who don’t want the state to locate a parole office in downtown Providence. But his choice words were, to my mind, surprisingly balanced.
He said Davis, the Swipley CEO who ignited the debate, made some good points that may have been overshadowed by his use of the term “criminal convention centers.” He said it was “unfortunate” that the Providence Journal editorial chose to re-purpose that phrase rather than the more reasoned points in Davis’ letter. He also took issue with the ProJo headline: “Protect the downtown.”
He also said parolees may prefer to drive to their parole visits, and downtown isn’t the best place for that. And that the NetworkRI location on Reservoir Avenue may be a better locale considering all transportation options.
My favorite thing he said: “The business people are not leeches on our city and the poor who are being serviced by the government are not leeches either. We cannot step on each other.”