Anam Cara


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Our Penal System Is Insane!

Cèad mìle fàilte romhat! A Hundred Thousand Welcomes to You!

Is there something wrong with our penal system? How can we improve upon it? What is a cool idea that would transform this problem and better society as a whole?

To answer the first question, the answer is YES! The United States is number one in incarceration rates and number one in returnees. In short, our system has failed.


Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.

Like our penal system. Over half the people who leave the system reenter within 5 years of getting out. The US leads the world in incarceration rates. Our solution to this problem is employing the same old policies. "More bars, more guards." It is time to face the music. Our system is broken. We need to do something, because the violent offenders are staying in less and less and reentering more and more. 

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Instead of thinking in terms of retribution, why don't we think of ways to rehabilitation?  Stopping the bad behavior once and for all? Truth is, criminals leave the system much harder than they ever were before going in there. Most enter due to drug offences, mainly THC, but they come out angrier, colder and more broken than ever before. Kind of defeats the purpose, turning people into dangerous ones. No, no, no, no. We need to get a handle on this. We need to get better, not worse!

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Retribution, doesn't that mean that we give them more punishment? Yes. Therefore the slave labor of a quarter every hour needs to stop and besides, with underpaid "employees" the local economy can't compete real well with real jobs if a prison is in town, underselling everyone at the table. Also, let's give these people more TV time, because it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that 23 out of 24 hours of lock-down isn't good for one's psychiatric health. We are letting these people out and expecting them to behave themselves? Are you kidding me???

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Rehabilitation, doesn't that mean that we educate these people? Ahhh. That! Exactly that! Does that mean we give them therapy so they would know how to deal with stress better? Again, that! Exactly that! I foresee problems already.

It is apparent that something is really wrong about this idea, because, as some people would complain:

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The poster is regarding the "Spanish Flu" of 1918
It first appears that we are rewarding bad behavior. This is only because bad behavior means free healthcare and education whereas good behavior means everything is costly. There is a solution, however.

Norway is doing it, and it works! Germany is doing it and it is working! This is how we solve this problem. Universal Healthcare AND Universal Education for EVERYONE! We need this stuff anyway, even if we are not considering the Penal problem. If we want to live in safer neighborhoods and a productive society, wouldn't we want to ensure that everyone was healthy? If education is an investment in our future, why make people go into a serious amount of debt to try and better the nation and our world? 

If this system is in place, then whatever prisoners get for free, they would get for free anyway whether they are in the system or not. What is more, they can continue on their goals of becoming productive citizens while they make the transition, furthering their success in assimilation. How is that for not feeling so embarrassed about being number one in something we wish we were not?

When student loans accumulate to nearly $100,000 in debt
for newly graduated students, then something has to give.
Is it radical? YES! It means major change and plenty of it! To that, there can be no denial. Even so, it does work and therefore it is worth it! Don't let anyone who stand to lose a lot of profit from this turnabout ever be convincing that true rehabilitation won't work. Just remind them that their profiteering is killing our country and the globe!

What is more? If we are truly a "Christian Nation," like a lot say, then shouldn't we have policies that reflect mercy, grace, compassion and forgiveness? Would not love be the number one principle, along with liberty and justice, to guide us on our way?

Blessings to you and your loved ones.

Amhas Jackie Douglas+
Fayetteville, AR