No, this post isn’t about the game show. It’s actually the number of inmates versus free adults in this country. Yes, There is one inmate for every 100 adults in this country. Am I the only one that thinks this is insane? I’m sure I’m not!
But what I do think is insane is the fact that a good portion of those inmates are people who were locked up for having a dime bag of pot on them when they got pulled over for having a broken tailight on their car. Or kids who went to a party that got busted and were holding 2 Ecstasy pills. Or some poor junkie who got busted in a crackhouse raid.
Also, as it states in the article:
The report said prison growth and higher incarceration rates do not reflect a parallel increase in crime or in the nation’s overall population. Instead, it said, more people are behind bars mainly because of tough sentencing measures, such as “three-strikes” laws, that result in longer prison stays.
See where I’m going with this?
My stance on prisons is this:
1. Violent/Sex offenders only, please. Murderers, rapists, pedophiles, armed robberies, aggravated assault with the intent to kill, etc. – ABSOLUTELY lock those people up without hesitation. No “three strikes” for them. Do the crime one time – you’re in prison, buddy. No second chances.
2. Non-violent offenders – just give ’em probation and community service. If it’s white collar crime like money laundering or bank fraud, make ’em pay fines along with probation and community service. Make the drug users take regular drug tests and attending meetings – daily if they have to. Why crowd up our jails with people who are not violent, only to turn them into institutionalized thugs who commit bigger crimes once they get out because it’s what they get used to being in prison? I’d be curious to know the recidivism rates for non-violent offenders who go back to prison due to violent offenses the second time. Because I’m sure if those non-violent offenders had not gone to PRISON but instead given the option of probation, community service, and counseling that they probably would NOT decide to up the ante and commit a violent crime.
When will these harsh penalties be lifted on people who simply made mistakes? I know there are nuances to the situations above – for instance, the guy out celebrating his 21st birthday who gets rip roaring drunk and runs over an old lady when he runs the stop sign he didn’t see. Where should HE go – it’s tough because he didn’t MEAN to run over the old lady. Maybe that’s what the minimum security prisons can be for, while the major hardcore prisons can be for the deliberately violent offenders and sex offenders. But don’t imprison guy who cheated his company out of some money, or the club kid who just wanted to dance all night with his friends. They don’t need to go to PRISON – not when fines, lengthy probation and community service is more than enough.
What will it take for this to stop? When prisons overtake suburbs and we end up with whole communities of inmates because we need the room since 50 out of 100 American adults are “behind bars”? Will we make the entire state of Nebraska a prison state and send them all there until it’s busting at the seams (and use eminent domain to take over Kansas when the time comes that it’s 75 out of 100 American adults “behind bars”).
Ugh. I’m done talking about it. I didn’t formulate my thoughts nearly as well as I wanted to, but I had to say SOMETHING.
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