To lock up a person and then to release them in a condition in which they are unlikely to succeed is only asking for trouble. There should be no release without correction and no imprisonment without absolute cause. Imprisonment/custody places an extraordinary burden on the prisoner, their family, work and society in general. Imprisonment/custody should only be resorted to in extreme circumstances as a last resort.
Stringent checks and balances need to be setup to prevent people from being arrested and imprisoned. All measures must first be taken to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that a person is guilty before they are arrested. Al measures must be taken to properly classify a prisoner and avoid negative impacts on society before the prisoner is imprisoned. Prisons / jails are a last resort.
Simply locking up someone to ‘serve time’ benefits no one. It does not right the wrong. It creates a burden on the innocent in society, employers and family and tends to de-motivates the criminal.
It is impossible, impractical and wrong for a government to provide 100% policing of a society. Those who have lived under Police States are the first to attest to the heinous nature of over policing. The most effective means of getting people to obey the law is to have reasonable law that is ‘written on the hearts and minds’ of the people. Any law that is not fair is impractical. Enforcement of laws by will and not by violence is a thousand times more effective than the brut force or threat of armed police.
For almost all criminal acts, the people are generally present close to 100% of the time as witnesses in one way or another. On the other hand, the police are rarely present when criminal acts are committed. Consequentially, the people and not the police are in the right position to police crime.
The Founding Fathers of the U.S. attempted to structure a People’s Police force where from within the local community a Sheriff and District Attorney would be elected by the people from within their community. The Sheriff, who was generally part time, would dynamically assign deputies from the community on an as-needed basis in accordance with a specific crime. Generally within self policed communities, crimes are taken care of by the community before they crime gets out of control. The people of the community and not the police were expected to keep vigilance on their community. As such the People Police system the Founding Fathers implemented was much less likely to create an imbalanced system such as the one we now have in the U.S. at the turn of the century, a quarter of a century after founding.
The police and prison system in the U.S. at the turn of the century is according to basic statistics utterly out of control. The U.S. has more people in jail per capita than almost any other nation, including nations the U.S. considers it has the ‘right to invade’ because of human rights violations. One has to pause and consider the magnitude of the human rights violations going on in the U.S. where the innocent are thrown in jail and even executed, children are kidnapped by the state and the assets of the aged are stolen by greedy government. Recently over one hundred prisoners were released from death row after DNA tests proved that they were innocent. The U.S. Judicial system is proven incompetent. Judges have usurped Jury functions and judge the admissibility of evidence while jury pools are carefully honed from subservient voter registration lists. Judges across the U.S. can now repeatedly be heard instructing juries that the jury does not have the right to judge the law despite the constitutions blatantly obvious dictation that the jury judge both the facts and the law.
No one argues the fact that the dollar drives issues in the U.S. The phrase “you have as much liberty and justice in the U.S. as you can afford”, is unfortunately the accepted statuesque – “and that’s the way the cookie crumbles”.
“Turn prisons into profit centers and the prisons will be filled and new ones will be built.” – SOC
“When a government entity has the ability to reward itself, that government entity will grow out of control.” - SOC
Jails in the U.S. are very profitable businesses. Many prominent political families own private jails across the U.S. Typically, anywhere from ten to five hundred prisoners will be housed in a jail’s pod. For example, the Santa Cruz County Jail typically holds around 50 prisoners in a pod designed to hold 28 prisoners. 26 prisoners are housed in 8ft by 8ft two person cells, 7 cells on a lower level and 7 on a 2nd story. An additional 24 prisoners are housed in 800 square ft of common area; one of the lower story cells is used as a shared toilet. The entire pod shares two showers. Bunks are made out of poured concrete or steel shelves, toiled and basins are one piece steel units. 7 tables and plastic chares are the only other furniture provided. Constructions standards and quality are of the cheapest one can provide in poured concrete. One guard is assigned to watch a wing of four or so pods – 200 prisoners. The County earns anywhere form $70 to $350 per day per prisoner from State and Federal funds. Counties charge neighboring Counties $1,500 per day for housing prisoners that are arrested in their County and awaiting transfer to the neighboring County. A single wing of the Santa Cruz County Jail generates anywhere from five to twenty five million dollars per year in ‘revenue’. No wonder jails in the U.S. are kept full!
While jails in the U.S. are enormously profitable for their owners, the cost on society is devastating.
By falsely imprisoning the author, InfoTelesys, the company the author founded and one of the world’s most promising next generation Internet companies has been wiped out along with it the exciting next generation education system InfoTelesys was building.
The focus on crime should be the restitution of the victim and ensuring that the criminal never commits the crime again.
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