Disclaimer: I do have a finance background and a legal education. I am very aware that there’s more to the issue of prisons, federal budgeting, and politics. This is a mini-rant about what I feel would be a positive change for our nation and the communities in which we live.
Unfortunately, having known a great deal of people who have been to prison, I do find great issue with the way criminals are living in America. Many of the crimes committed by individuals are due to nurtured behaviors, or behavioral issues such as addiction and untreated mental health. Even violent crimes can be attested to the way an individual was raised – especially in slums all over America.
Where most people find fault with the luxuries some inmates receive – I find the foundation for greatness. Unless someone is truly a sociopath with no chance to recovery – something a variety of unbiased mental health professionals should have to swear to in court prior to this judgment – then these imprisoned individuals should be rehabilitated.
“Oi, but my taxes pay for their sitting ’round on their arses! I don’t want to pay for that!” Your taxes also pay for repeat offenders to keep going back to jail instead of making a living outside of a prison cell. Unfortunately, this partially because it is sometimes easier than working in the free community. It would be cheaper for our government in invest in the necessary resources to prepare individuals imprisoned to re-enter the work force and free community prepared for the tasks ahead – rather than just HOPING they don’t relapse.
It’s one of those situations, you know? Do it right or don’t do it all. Don’t put these people in prison and then fail to help them make their lives better wholly without guidance. Do parents leave their children to fend for themselves after they can walk and talk? No, partially because that’s illegal – but primarily because children need guidance. We are all children to someone – and we all need guidance until the day we die. Prisoners, while seemingly less human because of the crimes they committed, are no less deserving of that courtesy. (Side note, I do not find these people to be less human, this is just the common belief I have run into socially. As a parent, it is hard not to feel that way about child related crimes, but I do my best to remember that criminals are not born. Criminals are products of their environments).
Now, I will say that (personally) there are crimes that I feel should more thoroughly be examined than others. It is my belief that these offenses should be punished with life sentences and no parole opportunities. For me those crimes are: murder, rape, and child molestation – perhaps even treason, though highly circumstantial. Those are the most serious crimes that can be committed. The majority of individuals are in jail for significantly less than that … possessing marijuana (for example) – a LEGAL drug in various states!
America needs to seriously reconsider the quality of life associated with imprisonment of criminals. The money we save on repeat offenders spending their lives behind bars can be funneled elsewhere. Perhaps free college education? Perhaps a more helpful universal healthcare system?
People will whine that they don’t want their money to go to helping prisoners get their lives together – saying they don’t deserve the help – but they’d just as quickly turn down free college education too. Who is worthy of your tax money then?
Is anyone worthy?
Before you answer – consider this…
These criminals you don’t wish to rehabilitate – they live in the same communities you live in…
These impoverished people you call lazy and don’t feel deserve universal healthcare – they go to school with your children, they work with you, they live with your coworkers, and they share the same air you breathe…
And these students you feel have done nothing to deserve free college education – they are the doctors, nurses, lawyers, scientists, politicians, and teachers of the generation that will care for you and the future generations of your family.
Consider that and let me ask you again…
IS ANYONE WORTHY OF YOUR TAX DOLLARS?