Prisons have become a business, a very sadistic, thoughtless affair. The business of jailing is increasingly cut off from rehabilitation. Being tough on crime” means not allowing prisoners to attend college there, not teaching them a skill which will earn an income once they are out. Being in prison means working for a few dollars as you are rented out to large corporations. Once arrested there is very little chance to support your dream of becoming a useful member of society.
Let us start with parole. The parole board is an essential part of inflicting hopelessness. Because of the way it operates, I have to say that it should not exist at all. Let’s say that the prisoner has served his time often allocated by a judge, because he was too frightened to appear before a jury and also, because he would serve a huge amount of time in jail awaiting trial since he lacks the money to post bail.
Say that now his judge-allotted time has been served so he comes before the parole board to discuss leaving confinement. But they do not look at his excellent time there, no fights, no drugs, doing volunteer work – you know earning the kind of report card that gets young people into college. No. It does not count. The parole board talks about the original crime that got him/her there and gives another 5 years locked up based on that and another 5 years again after the next appearance before them. What does a person so trampled down by all this learn in prison? To go on with a life of crime, the only profession that he knows.
So, we need to end parole. Reinstate education and psychotherapy and social work for the prisoner and their entire family. But the prison corporation “screams” we can’t afford that. A lie. The cost of keeping a person locked up in jail is more than all of the suggested therapies and education combined.
Do we want a peaceful society where people trust each other? Institute a society of mutual regard and help. Then we won’t need to lock our doors.
People who can’t get past their own early disturbing life can live in places that do have locks but are otherwise set out to teach and help and care. If society was set up to educate and help the entire population instead of stealing social services from the non-rich (Medicaid, Medicare, Aid to Dependent Children, providing oil or gas to heat the homes of poor people in Vermont, and on and on), to give that money to the super rich in terms of tax breaks…..those who already have servants and planes and yachts and homes …. the prison population would disappear.