Category: Anti-Incarceration


There are over 2.1 million people in the US that are currently in prison.  There are hundreds of people forced to join gangs of some sort and some level.  Gangs now appear in many prisons as officials have done nothing to curb their deeds or make leaving a gang look attractive.  Instead, the culture of prison is to ally with like races, follow a strict gang agenda, and remain passively assertive against the safety a gang may provide.  The chances of an incarcerated person actually redeeming himself or herself by rehabilitation designed punishment only graces 2% of the population in prison with a life changing lesson.  There are so many gangs that some prisons struggle to keep order of members, their ranking, and which gang one is controlling what portion of the outside recreational yard.  Gangs often look attractive to inmates because it’s a helpful and deceitful at the same time.  The idea of a gang having an inmate’s back is attractive because prison life is rough and hard.  What is happening in most jails and prisons are gang related members learn how to be better criminals, are expected to continue with membership in the gang when released, and fall prey to the unrealistic brotherhood of a gang.  The gang that helps is the gang that can hurt by issuing a hit on you or asking you to hit a friend because they did something to make someone else angry enough to “handle” the member.  Gangster life is a vicious lie perpetuated in places that are desperate for some kind of belonging.  Not only that, but gangs often tell the membership what they need to do to stay in and supplies an attractive pseudo-family to those people who the American Dream is a failure.  Gangs prey on the weak, those that need structure in their lives, and those who have abandoned hope of being able to be and do something other than continue the cycle of poverty.

Gangs hurt people in prison more than the drudgery of being a captive there.  Inmates are told when to sleep, when to eat, when to go to the bathroom, when to shower, and when to wake up.  The prisoner is no longer in control of what happens to him or her.  The gang adds that structure that they can control one thing while imprisoned.  That one thing is the order in which gangs are formed and the order in which each member plays a part.  The gang life is attractive but deceitful.  It promotes control that is primordial needs for a tribe in a bad environment and a failure to control anything at all in their reality of prison.  It’s hard for those people in prison to have faith that someday life will get better because the nature of our society keeps them unemployed and unemployable if they committed felony.  Even those serving for misdemeanors are often turned away from jobs that might head their life in a different direction.  The society we live in makes them pay for their crime for the rest of their natural lives unless given just one chance to get up and do for one’s self.  The failure to get a job due to this cultural problem throws good people back into the system where they go back to the gang and commit more crimes, the lucrative nature of some criminal activities like selling drugs on the street proves to be temptation that they cannot resist, and the will to change is exchanged for the will to remain part of a tribe no matter how bad or terrible that tribe is.

Incarceration hurts people.  It doesn’t allow them a better life or a reflection of misdeeds.  It doesn’t help them to become something more than what they see and know is a somewhat easier yet dangerous way of life.  It dispenses lies.  The inmate with choices to go to school in prison, learn a trade, or even become chefs is an inmate that no longer falls prey to the predatory nature of gangs.  My heart breaks for those people who continue their lives doing crime because that’s all they know, that’s all that’s profitable, and that they feel there is no chance for them to change and become something new, better and motivated.  It’s hard to compete for any job in this current economy, but it’s twice as hard when you’re a felon, breaking off gangster life, and blooming into a hopeful person instead of a hopeless person.  It’s not fair that someone is a felon and can’t restart a straight life out of prison because they are trapped by our culture in a web of judgement, prejudice and punishment that lasts longer than the time already served.  The inmate is then entrenched in the cycles of the system, getting out and going back in.  If someone has served their time and is released from prison, their debt to society has ended.  They are not supposed to be punished anymore the crime they committed.  It’s unfair to hold that crime above his or her head when they have served their time and want to become a valuable member of society.  This culture’s idea that one’s bad choices follow them forever is contributing to the revolving door of prison for people, that they get all caught up by society on what they did and not what they became.

Felons do want jobs.  They want an alternative to dangerous membership in gangs, self destructive behavior, and gang life.  They are forever stamped with an unwanted label and expected to bear the bad mistakes for the rest of their lives.  This is when incarceration hurts and doesn’t help.  Sometimes, you have to forgive someone of their crime and help them make a new way for themselves so that 2.1 million people have a better chance for a happier tomorrow.  Just one chance can break the cycle.  Just one.

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I watched an episode on MSNBC called “Lockup: Raw”.  This man on the show had just finished a ten year sentence for armed robbery.  While he was in prison, he decided he wasn’t all about crime, he was all about living the good life honestly.  He gets released from prison and his family is delighted he is out of prison.  He is happy to be out of prison and he’s excited about getting on to be a law abiding citizen.  This man has intelligence, he is full of hope, and he knows if he could just get legal, he would have a good life and stay out of trouble.  The unfortunate thing, what made me both angry and sad at the same time, he goes to many places of business and when they ask him about his history, he honestly tells them.  A diner turned him down.  A grocery store turned him down, a repo company turned him away, and even a smaller mom-and-pop store turned him down.  He made the remark that he wasn’t ready to quit looking and go back to committing crime.   He was representative of what happens to a lot of criminals reformed by prison and desiring to work for a normal life.  The doors close to the better way to live and open endlessly to crime that most released felons give up the good fight.  Why?  Our society has made the punishment for the individual who commits the crime.  Even though they did their time, no matter what that crime might be save pedophilia, that person should be given a second chance at walking the right path and isn’t.

No one wants to hire a felon.  So what is an ex-felon going to do when he or she knows that there are no chances out there to thwart criminal activity?  They are going back to what they know they can do to put food on the table, to have a roof over his or her head, and be quick fix to bigger problem, criminal behavior.  It’s so easy for them to fall through the cracks because we created those cracks.  On every application at every business there is a question: Have you ever been convicted of a felony?  To most, the guy on Lockup clearly showed, that regardless of the significance of your crime that you will always be condemned to write on every application your most defeating decision to break the law. You will forever be labeled a “felon” even if you did your time and you paid for that crime.  I think that is unfair and cruel and unusual punishment.  The guy on Lockup had to go to every employer and say “I did my ten years, learned from it, and I’m looking for a fresh start”.  Not all felons are willing to walk the life without criminal behavior, but maybe there would be less repeat offenders if maybe, just maybe, they could get a job more lucrative than spitting crack.  When does someone serve their time and hear “no” from our society?  Almost never.  Our society is soaked in passing judgment on people, so much so that often that person who did ten years, got out, and wanted to get straight can never do so in the eyes of people who say “Once a felon, always a felon” and that’s not true.  There are people who serve their time and are supposed to reenter society as a person that has done their crime without being held captive by such negative expectations.  What should really be going on is: “Hey, your past is your past.  When can you start?”

The purpose of a punishment to fit the crime is that once the prison term ends and so does his debt to society.  This release is his or her second chance.  So many employers don’t give felons a second chance because of the labelled box they put the felon in.  They trap them there and when trapped, any creature in existence does, he or she will do whatever necessary so he or she can eat, have a warm bed, diapers for the kids, and get somewhere besides poor.  In essence, they are being punished after serving their punishment and is therefore forever a dark mark on his or her name.  To me, I find it ridiculous that someone who just served 10 years as a punishment has to be punished each and every day by someone who neglects the fact that this person is a living being, with rights, who has feelings, who wants better for their family and worked hard to get their life on the right track.  Being re-punished by not getting hired for something one has done the time for is absurd.  It can make or break a person, both in mind and in spirit.  Not all felons are felons for life.  Not all of them deserve to be shown the door in their life.  Not all of them repeat offending.  All it takes is one “yes” to change a person’s life forever.

 

As you probably know,  Jodi Arias’ jury was unable to come up with a unanimous vote on life or death.  The jury was split 8 to 4 for the death penalty.  Arizona law, as far as I can easily research, will only accept a unanimous jury ruling of life or death punishments.  Several of the jurists who were disbanded after being unable to unanimously decide on a sentence have discussed at length on media outlets telling why they couldn’t come up with a unanimous decision and just how difficult it was to manage in the jury room.  The problem that remains is a new jury must be picked and a very abridged version of the evidence and testimony.  It is highly doubtful that this brief version of the trial, as both sides do not call witnesses to the stand.  In Arizona, the finding of Arias in the verdict stage remains upheld and so does the intentionally cruel finding.  The only thing the next jury is going to have to decide on is if she should get the death penalty or life in prison with or without the option of parole.  On July 18th, the new jury will begin to be selected and it will be by their vote that Arias’ sentence is, but is that fair and can they be sure to get jurors who have never heard of Jodi Arias, Travis Alexander’s brutal murder at her hands, and the string of experts paraded to the stand to uphold the defense’s and prosecution’s proof of Arias’ alleged abuse.  That’s not the real question though that looms in anyone’s mind.  It is the delivery of the death penalty that has taken its toll on the jury, even though they were asked to sign a paper and prepare to vote for the death penalty.

All of this begs the question:  If you were on a jury, hearing the same amount of truth, expert testimony and a grueling 18 days long testimony of the perpetrator of the crime, and autopsy photos were put up on a large screen at a time in the trial where remembering the victim was important, would you be able to dole out the death penalty after all of that?  The testimony that took five months and five years to happen paraded the sexual lives of two people, listening and watching Jodi Arias lie on the stand, and after seeing her breakdown multiple times gave the four in the jury a sense that Jodi is a living, breathing, human woman who made the worst decision in her life and brutally murdered someone that she said she loved.  There was an enormous amount of evidence linking her to the crime, the fact that she admitted that she did it after telling two falsehoods to media outlets because she was defending herself are all a part of what those 12 people are going to decide is worthy of giving her a sentence that spares her life for prison or does not support her continuance and she gets sentenced to death.  There are three women on death row in Arizona one of whom was put there by prosecutor Juan Martinez.  If you were a juror, given the extensive parade of fact, fiction, and expert testimony, could you look into Jodi’s eyes and say: “This woman deserves the death penalty.  Could you do it?

There are things to take into consideration though.  First, Jodi did take the stand and tell her story which to a jury makes her human and personable to the extent that she made an terrible error and a fatal lapse of moralistic actions.  Remember, the jury that was hung did not hear the same things we heard about Jodi on every single news station and HLN.  We know more behind the scenes issues that the jury didn’t have access to.  Second, Jodi clearly has some issues that are psychotic in nature but that also is not enough to convince four jurors to give her the death penalty.  Finally, the jury was not sequestered and essentially had to follow that admonition the Judge Stephens relayed to them every day.  There are four people, who even upon signing an agreement that they could give the death penalty in the sentencing phase, chose not to do so.  The query now is, could you decide on death or life in prison with or without parole with a clear conscious?  I don’t believe that anyone knows really what they would do in such a circumstance unless they were actively in that place.  After watching every grueling day of the hearings, I am unsure I could give the death penalty.  I would not want to be responsible for the death of any one person, no matter how terrible the crime.  I also strongly believe that Jodi hasn’t ever learned that violence against another human being is wrong.  Jealousy is an evil, treacherous emotion that when unchecked can be horrifically manifest in ugly ways that are not productive.  I honestly also believe that Jodi has a serious mental illness that is characterized with a flat affect and an inability to properly grasp psychologically healthy relationships primarily because she has issues with acceptance of it.  Jodi was very good and hitting all of Travis Alexander’s buttons in order to create a unhealthy and unstable hold on him because she was the one who deflowered him and introduced him to sexual behavior that is not vanilla.  I would not be comfortable sending anyone to death, but I would have never made the jury cut because I couldn’t say that I would sentence her to death or life in prison with or without parole.  I also disagree with people who say she deserves what she gets primarily because I do not believe that incarceration helps anyone who may have a dangerous mental illness.  That illness needs to be treated and an adequate amount of therapy may make a change in her life, but as I have learned, violent offenders very rarely ever rehabilitate.  I think that is mostly because we don’t know enough about the brain and its inner workings to properly treat and rehabilitate violent offenders.

So on the 18th of July of 2013, Jodi Arias’ new jury will be constructed and the question of her sentence will become clear hopefully for her sake and the sake of the Alexander family who have suffered terribly waiting for this closure that they need to move on.  Forgiveness is not simple and it is a journey taken by the brave and courageous.

 

Those who are in prison for a decade or more have a higher chance of offending and it happens for ridiculous reasons.  While incarcerated most who have committed crimes that are felonies with long sentences are not given or afforded the training necessary to live a life beyond their sentence, they also are woefully unprepared for a life of freedom outside of prison.  In prison, the average long sentence of a decade or more does not prepare the newly released prisoner with the tools necessary to be responsible and productive members of society.  I say this because I’ve watched shows about lockup on MSNBC that clearly shows that prisoners being released after a decade or two in lockup can result in incarceration because they were not prepared for the stress of bill paying on a budget that is woefully hinged upon a felon actually finding a job on the outside that is going to make ends actually meet.  Not only that, but often spending that amount of time in prison forces inmates to become part of a gang on the inside and extends to the outside upon release.  It is also a reality of life behind bars that some of the worst offenders have mental illness that will go untreated on the outside of prison because drugs and counselling is often unavailable to the average inmate upon release.  A growing number of the people incarcerated are suffering from mental illnesses that, when untreated, land them back in prison or jail obviously the product of a destructive or self destructive cycle.  It is also a requirement that when you fill out an application for a job, you must answer the question “Have you been convicted of a crime” with yes and give some details about that.  That is what stops felons from getting a meaningful employment opportunity, the fact that no one in good paying jobs hires felons and also then contributes to the newly released re-offending.

The idea that somehow a felon, who had been a good inmate and stayed out of trouble while incarcerated, will not get a job that actually helps them with the pressure of meeting a bill’s due date.  They only employment that many find is inadequate and draws the felon into the trap of re-offending and being locked up yet again.  There are numerous ways that this can change for formally incarcerated.  Making health care available for the mentally ill could actually cut down the amount of people going in and out of prison.  The reality that mental illness is more common for those that cycle in and out of jail and prison needs to be spotlighted.  We also have a tendency to lock people away and forget about them, then release them into a hostile environment for a successful life without giving them training or other skills that they can use on the outside that would help success happen.  We “throw away” people who commit multiple crimes over and over in the prison system.  We have allowed our prisons to become a breeding ground for gang culture which only teaches them how to re-offend over and over again.  The crux of the problem may be that we need to invest in these people and train them for employment, stress of bill paying, and teach them what they need to do to live a productive and successful life without crime.  Sure, there will be those who cannot be helped or choose not to be helped.  What we fail to do is invest in them becoming productive and responsible.  We fail to invest in them because they are felons.  Instead, we are willing to pay for their decades in prison and are unwilling to give them the fighting chance they need on the outside.

Imagine that you have served the last 25 years in prison.  While you were incarcerated, computers are available to everyone, cellular phones became a necessity, smart phones are the personal data assistant, satellite powered television is in many homes, the internet was born, and dial up connections became extinct.  Imagine being released and not having the ability to get a decent job, handle the stress of responsible living, and having no trade to pedal for employers.  Imagine how hard it would be to get a job even in fast food restaurants.  Imagine if the only choice you had to succeed is to commit a criminal act so you don’t have to deal with the stressful reality of life.  Imagine that no one will give you a job because they just can’t trust a felon to do the right thing.  What would you be willing to endure in exchange for money that paid the rent?  What if you had no options?  In this day and age, we still throw people in a six feet by seven feet room and hope they learned their lesson.  When the released felon re-commits, we call him or her a lost cause because we are the ones that made that so.  We did nothing to help her or him to become something worth themselves.  Instead, we treat them like animals and pound that prison culture into their heads because we chose not to fill their head with some knowledge and a trade to fall back on instead of stealing cars, killing other gang rivals, selling drugs, armed robbery and other felonious crimes.  If we continue to invest just enough for their three hots and a cot, we get exactly what we give.

Nothing.

For the last four months, TruTV “In Session” and HLN have reported on very little but Jodi Arias and her trial which is scandalous due to steamy phone sex recordings, the nature of the brutal attack, and the fact that Jodi Arias is a professional liar.  I haven’t written a post since three weeks before the trial started.  A trial this long with so many monotonous testimony of Jodi Arias, the parade of experts who examined her according to lies she told, and the facts that are manufactured by Arias has become mundane and, if you will, stale.  The woman obviously has some psychological issues which she herself denies, but she presents well as having a lack of remorse and a very interesting flat affect.  Enter the jury, having sat for four months who were admonished to not follow the media reports of the trial, to not talk about the trial, and to not discuss anything with the media, and remember that four months have passed by where they missed time with work, family and possibly friends.  Deliberation of the jury to convict her of murder, then deliberation to reason if the crime was “especially cruel” and now the deliberation to come of what her punishment will be either life in prison or the death penalty.  Could it be that jurors are becoming tired of this long, drawn out, media showcased, trial?

It’s a large possibility considering that they were not sequestered nor have they deliberated for an inordinate amount of time on her guilt or innocence and whether the crime was especially cruel.  It could be that they are completely tired of the droning of Arias’ defense lawyer that is currently costing tax payers in Arizona a cool million dollars.  Personally, I wouldn’t blame them.  It is so transparently clear that this woman did this and then made up a juicy story to eliminate the pressing reason that Travis Alexander did nothing to deserve this and was, in fact provided by forensics, trying to get away from her.  She says she remembers nothing but shooting him in the head.  She was on the stand for eighteen days, sharing her life story that in large part was irrelevant to her charges, and fielded jury questions that numbered close to 200, and then paraded Travis Alexander as a pedophile and sexual deviant, abusive physically and mentally and that Arias suffered at his abuse like any shrinking violet would.  Then the parade of experts who based their examination on the two lies that home intruders killed him and she did it because she was an abuse survivor could only be reasoned with the silly notion that this was an adequate reasoning for committing a crime that involved 28 stab wounds and a nearly decapitating throat wound delivered in a time of “heat of passion” not deliberately planned focusing on manslaughter.  The jury heard testimony from one expert after another and the detective, they were presented with a medical examiners report and autopsy pictures, they were presented with evidence of  renting a car that is not “loud” or even her own that had “kool aid stains” in the passenger and back seats of said car, the forensic evidence, and the cross examinations of the last four months would have tired me out if I was on such a jury.  Jury fatigue is when the jury is actually tired of hearing about a case such as this one and winds up to be a very interesting premise for retrial if anyone could actually prove it.

So then, you’re asking yourself, “How will it help Arias?”  In two major ways.  One if the jury is fatigued and there is any misstep by the prosecutor or the free defense attorneys, she can appeal her conviction.  Two, if the jury lacks to be unanimous with their decision, this could lead to another jury being obtained and the appeals will fly afterward because of their misstep should they be hung.  The only way I can see this coming out good for the defendant is if they sentence her to life in prison.  The free public defenders seem to be leaning that way until Arias had a interview with a local news station saying that she wanted to die to get her freedom “sooner rather than later”, which prompted her attorneys to ask the judge to be excused from her case.  There is little, if anything, to do for such a difficult, spotlight stealing, lying defendant that undermines the strategy of her team of lawyers which occurs only because both Nurmi and Wilmott want careers after this debacle.  What happens to Jodi if she pleads for her life to the jury as Nurmi said she would and they just can’t find it in their hearts to send her to death row?  She regrets her lies in a small single cell on death row with crayons and colored pencils because the next big story other than her will come along and she will finally be secluded to deal with herself.  Sad but true.  The average time for execution is ten years in Arizona, which has to find a better way to execute prisoners before it can continue with death penalties after 1992.  Perhaps then she will feel remorse, but I highly doubt it.

 

The punishment for crime in America is being incarcerated.  There were, in 2008, about 3.1% of the United States’ population in juvenile and adult federal, state or county prisons.  We would all like to think that once someone goes to prison, that they would be willing to turn their lives around and become responsible and productive members of society.  However, this simply doesn’t happen.  The chances of a violent criminal being rehabilitated without necessary tools such as anger management classes, psychological and psychiatric therapy, and learning a trade to be used outside of prison is very slim.   Long sentences for criminal behavior along with poor opportunities for felons to be hired by companies mixed with the general idea that punishment equaling prison time as a successful solution of rehabilitation filters many through the cracks into committing repeat offenses.  Gangs along street gangs and racial gangs in Prison run rampant, forcing most members to take justice into their own hands or commit further crimes through the direction of gang leaders or pressure to serve the gang’s particular needs that result in murder, beatings, or other violence that does nothing but circulate the perpetual criminal atmosphere in prisons.  So why then isn’t something done to rehabilitate these criminals, dissolve gang issues in prison, and actually work to make these people acceptable members of society?

There are a considerable amount of criminals that don’t desire treatment or find life behind bars much easier to cope with than the daily pressures of life out of jail such as bill paying, rent paying, and employment issues.  Not all felons are career criminals, but the stigma that surrounds felons is one that breeds repeat offenses.  The idea that one already served their time as a felon or even for misdemeanors and paid their debt to society still have a debt to pay as a label is attached to them for the rest of their lives.  This doesn’t help felons get jobs, even in the stark drought of jobs for those who are not criminals, which might lead them to a better life therefore making them a better person for it.  Instead, the dark ghosts of one’s past as a felon haunts them when they go to get a well paying job in an office or otherwise secure place that does background checks on employees.  The stigma that “once a felon, always a felon” isn’t necessarily true nor is it fair to the person who has paid their debt to society via prison time.  Numerous placement companies, like temporary agencies, don’t hire those with a criminal background and after months of not being able to eat, find a place to live, and earn a decent living devolves into the desperate criminal mind willing to do “whatever needs to be done” to make it through life.  It simply isn’t fair that forgiveness for one’s felonious past just doesn’t happen in the employment realm.  It seems that it is easier to enter into selling drugs, running with a gang, or committing a violent crime out of frustration over employment for those who live in stark, abject poverty and have previously committed a crime.  Perhaps the former offender got out of prison belonging to the gang while in and feels a sense of loyalty to the gang or is forced into loyalty by an oppressive lack of other opportunities or actual rehabilitation while in and a life crime becomes attractive because there is nothing else for them.  It might seem lazy, almost stagnant, to enter a life of crime in the hood because that is what is expected of you, the only option you have, or lack of real coping skills and mechanisms to change were never introduced to the former offender while in prison.  It becomes a terrible and dangerous cycle of neglect for one’s self, while pressures of daily life and the tools in which to deal with it while stagnating in prison were absent.

Most gangs in prison are permitted to operate without being stopped by officials at the prison.  Divides in racial lines runs so deep in prison, prisoners are often refusing to room with people who are enemies of their “race” because of gangs.  How is such a thing allowed to go on and why is it happening?  Because no one really cares about criminals once they get their sentence and are put away.  Even if that person was later exonerated by DNA evidence, society at large fails to care.  The average person in America never stops to think that a black guy in prison is being stabbed right now by the Aryan Nation.  Once the jail cell door shuts, that’s the last time anyone thinks of that person.  The average prisoner is forced to join a gang once in prison and may be asked by that gang to commit criminal acts in prison generally unchecked by prison officials.  They keep track of who is in what gang, but do nothing to break up that gang in an effective manner or even curb the gang’s exploits in prison except to run preventive measures to maintain the “peace” in prison if you could even call it that.  They have a special gang unit that studies the behavior, tracks members, and keeps a close eye on operation of the gang; without providing other alternatives that could be effective in changing them even if they commit crimes in prison.  Only the well behaved are given bonuses like working, group counseling or even individualized counseling.  While that’s applauded, the other percentage of prisoners who are not good ones don’t get an opportunity and often fall through the massive cracks of non-rehabilitation.  However, I also believe there are those prisoners who will never be rehabilitated and that such things might be wasted on them; but the lack of even trying to help them with tools to fight the criminal behavior and triggers isn’t helping anyone.  While the famous Joe Arpaio might be making prisoners wear pink and is tough on prisoners, his lack of doing anything to rehabilitate them is maddening along with his attitude that prison should be nasty and hard.  It doesn’t really stop the career criminal from committing his next robbery or whatever because he has no other life skills.  It doesn’t help anyone but is successful in making them unduly miserable and forlorn which is what they are feeling anyway down the track to criminal behavior.

Give everyone a chance to do a job, even if it’s in their cells working on making crafts or in a shop building caskets, it would help if everyone is given a job.  Let them farm some of the prison land for food to sustain themselves.  Let them do something other than sit in a cell for 23 hours per day with an hour of outside time.  Poetry.  Artwork.  There are a million things they could be allowed to do to make money for the prison and eventually for themselves.   With the money they gain from that, they must pay room and board, that way they have an incentive to work and are given a positive life tool to be able to survive in life.  Get counseling for those who are violent offenders and even those who are not.  It not like they aren’t worth it somehow, because they are.  Groups to fight drug addiction in prison should be happening and outside sponsors who can follow them after release should be happening too to give them options on how to live their lives.  Teach them a trade, I know that GED classes are available, but so should a trade class.  Let them learn how to do something that they can do after release, no matter when that release date might be, no matter what the sentence, no matter where they are housed.  Sure, there’s always going to be those people that continue to exhibit negative behavior.  Those people lose the opportunities or are suspended from them and meet room and board anyway.  They have to learn something, sometime and if they don’t, then they are where they belong…in prison.

It’s your tax money.  It’s your responsibility to see that it works for you, no matter who the person is or where they come from.  If everyone took a little time to volunteer and actually do something about it, we might produce more responsible and conscience residing ex-felons instead of career criminals.  The “Thug Life” and it’s need to continue in our culture needs to dissolve and further, if we want the shootings, drug dealing, and criminal behavior to stop, we have to take on our own responsibility to help someone in need of help.  Life in prison doesn’t need to be miserable, it needs to be productive.  I would buy prison made artwork, tee shirts, china…anything they produced as a way of supporting these people who need our love, commitment, and help.  The people who don’t rehabilitate, like pedophiles and violent offenders, perhaps need help that we can’t offer and maybe their suffering should be necessary if they continue and offend over and over.  Those are the people that need the prison time and deserve it; but what if we could do something special for them that would change their whole life?  What if just 15 minutes of saying, “Hey you can change and I’m here to help” would make a difference?  One doesn’t know until one tries.