Slade’s Random Rant 2: Prisons

Prisons! Wrote a blog about em. Wanna read it? Here it is.

I think it is high time in this United States of America that we rethink our prison and “Justice” system. Let’s look at some data first.

About 1.2 million people make up state prisons, with a little over 200,000 making up Federal. This isn’t counting people sitting jail awaiting trials or even the Juvenile system.* That’s over a million people that are a drain rather than a contribution to our country. And when they get out, they usually don’t contribute what they could. Sometimes they don’t want to. Half the time Prisons act as gang recruiting grounds, so even small offenders end up as real criminals when they get out. But worse than that is the amount of people who try to get real jobs but find out their crime is still being held over their head even though they already served their time. “Tough” you say? “Should have thought of that before they did (insert crime here)?” Yes we could go down that road. But why do we?

There needs to be a change in several things. First their needs to be a change in how we view Prison. Prison right now is a punishment. It is a giant corner we make bad people go sit in for a certain amount of time. Well most people would think that’s what it should be. But really punishment is for children in developmental stages. Children can be molded through punishment. Adults are a little harder to rewire. Prison should be about one thing: Rehabilitation. Prisons in the United States should focus on finding out why said person did what they did and then figuring out if they can fix them. If they can, then do it. If it can be determined through multiple incarcerations and failed attempts at rehab that the subject is unable to live in society they should be put down. None of this multi live sentence crap. Stop wasting resources on someone who clearly can’t live in society.

Next we need to address the time someone is in prison. A person getting a 10 or 20 year sentence wouldn’t have a clue how to survive in the world. Imagine going to prison in 1980 and getting out in 2000… SO MUCH HAS CHANGED. The way you apply for a job, the credit system, gas prices, various laws… No, if the goal of Prison is rehab then we must do it in a timely manner so as to free up the space in case it is needed for the next person with issues. I think 2 years should be the maximum anyone should be locked up. Two years, figure out your problem, fix it and get back to life.

On this same note we need to use the time in Prison to teach them life skills. Example: Prisoner 616 robbed a bank. Why did he do it? Cause he was dead broke. Why was he dead broke? He doesn’t have the skills to do anything above min wage. Can we teach him a trade? And is he willing to learn? Yes. Good, then let’s teach him a trade so that when he gets out he can get a good job and pay back to the system.

Now it is human nature to want to punish, but to forgive is divine. This brings me to the Court of Public opinions. Which is the worst court to ever exist. When someone gets out of prison his crime should not be held against him. He has already served his time. He has been deemed fit to re-enter society and in some cases may have received training to assist him in that re-entry. If we do not give them a true 2nd chance, what is to stop them from going back to robbing stores and selling drugs? If they can’t get a real job they will make money how they can.

It just seems to me like this would be a better use of our prisons than the current “Time Out” Box they are.
* http://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/pie.html
-Contributed by Matthew Slade

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