Thursday, September 1, 2011

"How America's Prison Systems Could Be Fixed (Part 1)"

Many of my essays have focused on my social dissent, but what good am I serving by pointing out problems without offering solutions? Perhaps that is the greatest problem we face, too many complaints and not enough answers for those complaints. Personally, I don't believe the answers are so hard to find. If every person in the world cam up with one good idea and put it into action, maybe we would begin to see a difference.

Unfortunately, it is not that way. Too many of us are waiting for the problems to just go away, or for someone to come along and fix them for us. I only wish I could fix everything. I wish I could right the wrongs, and solve all the world's troubles, but I am only one man. I do what I can to voice my opinion here and hope I can make some difference, no matter how small.

I begin with a problem I am currently facing, the failure of our prison system. If you read my three part essay, "Why Prison is Failing" posted in July of 2010, then you are familiar with some of the problems we are faced with.

Perhaps you are wondering why this is a concern, not just for prisoners but for our nation...Maybe the world as a whole (Prisons are everywhere, and they are all failing to stop crime rates from rising). I would answer that by saying that, though prisons are filled with violators of social order, those "violators" are also members of society. A society that can't function at its maximum potential if all of its citizens are not productive. Prisons have one adverse effect on the economy and stability of a nation. Indeed, it is a small part of the problems facing our world, but a problem in need of solutions, nonetheless.

Tomorrow, I will work on homelessness and world peace...For now, here is my idea for the one problem facing society.

To begin with, Prisons have to cease being nothing more than human warehouses. Over 70% of the population are non-productive during their time here. The hours are spend playing board games or basketball, simply waiting for another day to end, when they can go in their cells and watch TV or sleep. After a few years of this they are dumped back into society, institutionalized and unable to function. This, in turn, leads the individual back to prison or forces the state to support the burden of another skilless, uneducated citizen.

The solution is to treat individuals in prison just like they are in society. Make school and work mandatory. Pay the inmates actual salaries or hourly wages, then bill them for food, rent and clothing. Make prisoners pay taxes, just like we would have to if we were free men. This will instill the responsibility required to be successful upon release. It will also allow the prison to be more self-sufficient.

This brings to mind my second point: If prisons were completely self-sufficient, or at least generated enough revenue through a number of inmate operated business to provide for necessary expenses, millions of dollars could be saved by the state. Those millions could go to education, law enforcement, drug and alcohol programs, aid for the homeless, and whatever other areas are in need of support, that would ultimately lead to a decrease in the crime rate.

Also, by paying higher salaries to working inmates, it reduces the financial burden on the prisoner's family and allows for them to offer some support of their own wives, children, parents, etc.

Now, the question remains as to what should be done with the prisoners that refuse to go to school or work? Simple! Put them in segregation units, stripped of all privileges. Why should this be treated as just a vacation for the dregs of society? It should not be. Prison is a wake up call and you either get our of bed and make it to work on time, or you hit the snooze button and oversleep, thereby missing the bus.

In summary, prison must reaffirm its focus on rehabilitation, but even more keyed in on creating responsible citizens, capable of functioning in our societies beyond the fences.


  1. I completely agree with this! My husband and I frequently have talks about revamping the prison system. I must say, making the populations pay bills and rent is brilliant. It will help in the long one once released.

  2. I mostly agree with what you're saying. Taxing the prisoners would intail alot though. I myself believe that felons period should be in a seperate tax bracket all together. Due to their own actions and misdeeds or not, they have been striped of their right to vote summarily losing the right to represent themselves. That's what the real Boston yea party was about, NO TAXATION, WITHOUT REPRESENTATION! It is wholey tyrinical to force a man to pay into a cause that he has no part of. Now that's not to say that when one becomes a felon he ceases to become an American and reap in the good and the benifits that come along with that.
    Countless lives offered up ( to say lost seems to me to lessen their sacrifice) to fight for the right of all Americans however great or small to have the right to vote. Where there criminals during that time, of course there were. America was one of England many dumping spots. Yet criminals were not counted out of the right to vote because America was the land of the free not of the elite as it appears today. All men had the right to life, liberty, and the pursute of happiness. All men had the right to be heard. For if a nation was to truely be great the citizens must love it. Yet over time the elite took their place and were able to drown out the America that had been born. America was once the greatest nation in the world, now we steadily decline because the America that was birthed has been progressively and constantly mutilated and gutted by her own people. The more her values and core beliefs have been changed the less she becomes. The less she becomes, the less we as a whole and individually are.
    Perhaps this is a felons voice his way of changing the world around him when he is afforded no other means. Though at this point it doesn't really matter. The rest of America is finally catching up with felons, as they are growing increasingly disinfranchised with the elite and the America that is. They are finally starting to speak loudly no longer in a whisper of change and it's about time.
    Don't think me anti-American that's not who I am. I am anti-the current government. nor am I talking about the current administration. Things have been going down hill for longer then I've been alive They have taken to many
    liberties that were not offered to them by the ones they were supposed to
    WHAT NOW!?!

  3. What's up frog,
    I haven't read all of you posts but I will. I missed you when you left. Couldn't find another friend I clicked with. I don't know if you've met Dease yet but you should he's another friend. I sent you a Christmas card but it got returned. I guess you moved right at Christmas time I'll be in contact. Take it easy brother. Kid