We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I do not agree with many of the author's points, but all of the issues and debates are touched upon, and the author does make the correct point that not all criminals are incorrigible sociopaths. I also agree that we over-use jail time, which ought to be mainly for violent and comparably major offenses. Certainly not for drug addicts or financial offenders. Large fines. After all, many of our hard-earned tax dollars go to support those folks in jail. A year of jail time costs us more than a year of Ivy League "education" would.
Everyone has broken a rule. As a rule of thumb, you have to break quite a few to get caught. My advice: teach and learn the rules, and do not break them.
I think it's time to ask, again, what sorts of consequences we, as a society, want to impose for violations of the rules we make. And no weight-lifting equipment in our jails, please.
As the social crisis of urban America supplied the masses for mass incarceration, the penal system itself became more punitive. The tough-on-crime message honed by the Republican Party in national politics since the Goldwater campaign of 1964 spoke to the racial anxieties of white voters discomfited by civil rights protests and summertime waves of civil unrest felt in cities through the decade. Conservatives charged that liberals coddled criminals and excused crime with phony root causes like poverty and unemployment. President Nixon launched a war on crime, only to be surpassed by President Reagan’s War on Drugs, which applied the resources of federal law enforcement to the problem of drug control. Policy experts abandoned rehabilitation, concluding that prisons could only deter and warehouse those who would otherwise commit crime in society. These politics produced a revolution in criminal sentencing. Mandatory minimum prison sentences, sentencing guidelines, parole abolition, and life sentences for third-time felons were widely adopted through the 1980s. The no-nonsense, tough-on-crime politics reached a bipartisan apotheosis with President Clinton’s 1994 crime bill, which launched the largest prison construction project in the nation’s history. As a result of these changes, prison time—as opposed to community supervision—became the main criminal sanction for felony offenders.
Read the whole thing. Link above.
(By the way, I am a supporter of Prison Fellowship. I believe that Christ can save anybody's soul.)
I agree that it is better to put a drug addict in rehab rather than prison, providing the addict wants to be rehabilitated. We must remember, however, that drug addiction is expensive. Many drug addicts cannot support their habits with a regular job. Many turn to crime, selling drugs to others, theft, robbery, in order to raise money to buy their drugs. So there is a huge social cost to having drug addicts out of prison ravaging society to get money to buy drugs. I'd rather pay to keep them off the street (provided they cannot be rehabbed) than have them breaking and entering or robbing me of my family members, or selling drugs to other people.
I don't understand the reluctance to lock up the drug addicts. It's the drug addict that breaks into 75 cars and steals your things before he is finally sentenced to prison. It is the drug addict searching for money that beats up and sometimes kills 88 year old women on the street. It is the drug addict that abducts a college student, kills her and then uses her ATM card with the pin they tortured out of her before they killed her and cleans out her bank account. These addicts aren't just poor victims of the Man. They are the people that will do ANYTHING to get their drugs and if that means killing, well, they're up for that.
If you think they're expensive to lock up, find a place in the desert, pitch tents, surround with barbed wire and ship in a little food and water. I'm OK with that. It would be nice though if we cut our costs by about a third and deported the illegals.