Sunday, June 3, 2012

America has a nation of prisoners, enough of a large population to fill a nation. Nearly 5% of the world’s population is behind bars. The prisons are overcrowded with able bodied men doing absolutely nothing every day. We should be using these people to do the jobs we need to get done. Let them pay through their labor for their own prisons and stop taxing the people of America. Let them grow their own food and care for farms and make money to provide for their families they left behind.
The over crowding is nationwide. Have we become the incarceration nation? The Gadson County Jail in Tallahassee, Florida has a capacity of 150 inmates but is currently housing 230 in the place. They use bunk beds and people sleeping on the floor. Well, then have rotating shifts like we do. Some marriages never see each other because the Dad works the night shift and the Mom works the day shift.
Overcrowding is so bad in California that the United States Supreme Court called it “cruel and unusual punishment” and last May ordered the state to cut its prison population by more than 30,000. So, are they just letting these criminals out? Out with no job no prospect of ever getting a job because they have a record? Most criminals are non violent and should be trained to do a job and give their wages back as time spent for their crime.
Nationwide the numbers of inmates have risen dramatically according to the Bureau of Justice-Statistics Department. Now there are nearly 2.5 Million people behind bars. Over the last 20 years the crime rate has dropped by over 40%. The United States has about 25% of the worlds prisoners. So that just means that America incarcerates our criminals more than other countries do.
According to Michael Jacobson who is the Director of the non partisan Vera Institute of Justice, and who ran the N.Y. City’s jail and probation systems in the 1990’s, it costs about $47,000 dollars to jail an inmate per year. In Connecticut, Washington State and New York it can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000 dollars to house an inmate. Wow! How about you give a taxpayer 60 grand a year to watch one of these guys.
Our epidemic of incarceration costs United States taxpayers more than $63 Billion dollars per year and these guys aren’t rehabilitated or trained for anything while in prison. The push to put everyone in jail began in the 1990’s. It was a political response to increased violence and drug use on the streets. So, the politicians came up with so called solutions like 3 strikes and you are out as if this was some kind of baseball game. The metaphors like “let them rot” or “throw away the key” at any cost doesn’t solve the problem. It just resulted in longer mandatory sentencing and longer sentencing.
Nothing came close to the war on drugs. President Nixon called it a new all out offensive. The war on drugs was announced in 1971 when there were fewer than 40,000 people in jail for drug offenses. Now there are more than half a million people in jails for drug offenses. Maybe legalizing the drugs would cost people less money. The tax payers never signed up for supporting this mess.
There seems to be a discriminating thing going on too. Blacks use drugs at the same rate as whites but go to prison more. Nearly 3 out of 4 people in jail that are incarcerated for drug possession are African American. The probable rise is that whites have better lawyers to keep them out of jail. Many Blacks get court appointed lawyers because they don’t have any money to pay for representation of their own.
There is a group with a web site called Equal Justice Initiative that is concerned with children . Now 1 out of 3 Black men between the ages of 18 and 35 are in jail or on probation , parole. So, whatever the crime, there are no positive black male role models left at home. So, no wonder there are 14 year olds listed on the site sentenced to life in prison without parole for crimes they did.

So, crime is still very much here and it is costly to put the criminals in prisons. We all go to some kind of place of worship and believe in our God. Well we also read about how our God is a forgiving God and a compassionate God. Maybe citizens could forgive these prisoners one at a time and lead them to a better and more productive life with the profits from their efforts going back to the community instead of draining us of money while all they do in prison is waste away doing nothing for the taxes we pay to house them for life in prison.

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