Prison Systems

30 Nov

Recently a discussion began where I stated that making money off of bad guys in prison was a good thing and better then making money off of good guys (who are not in prison – the tax payer). Somehow this statement caused the tide to rush in and lift me boat 2 fathoms. Me thinks I was misunderstood. Happens, reason I have three ex-wives.

Privatization or Federal run prisons are an expensive proposition. Today each person incarcerated in the US either in a gov facility or a private contract facility costs the tax payer roughly 65 bucks a day. Depending on which study you read the differences is less then 3 bucks either way. There are approximately 765 people per 100,000 citizens currently incarcerated. That number is obviously a moving target based on local weather forecasts so is difficult to be accurate. In any case, that’s a ton of tax payer money being spent. It’s a 65 billion dollar industry … annually. Where’s the money coming from? Me and you.

The prison system in of itself is an American monstrosity, although I hear Turkish prisons are not all that great either. The cost of housing 2 million people a year who don’t pay rent is staggering and the states are the ones having to cover the checks, Feds help but States have to do their own thing when it comes to lock downs. Like all things built by man they must be maintained and or replaced when worn out. States cannot build new facilities to house it’s problem children. They are broke. So they turn to the private sector who build out the facility and then lease the beds to the State or to the Federal Bureau of Prisons(BOP) at a set price by contract. Therein lays a coarse for corruption and greed. It’s a humanity thing, regardless of the system. Non are fail proof.

We cannot do without prisons much as I would like to think we could. We talk about recidivism. This is an extremely problematic issue as it takes two to tango. The prisoner must want to be free and to turn his/her life around. Rehabs in prison and outside of prison are jokes. So are half-way houses, parole systems and cops in general when it comes to helping ex-con’s reintegrate back into society. This then becomes a social issue that has very little financial backing. Which I think is a good thing because the corruption in the after-market prisoner rehab systems makes some of these prisoners look like choirboys. Recidivism will always be high because the prisoner is dumped back into society with nothing. No job, housing, money, transportation .. zip .. nada .. first thing he’s going to do is try to survive, anyway he can. So lets be realistic when speaking of recidivism. Rehab without a support cast is an exercise in futility .. solve that puzzle then talk recidivism.

I totally agree with analysts that the annual BOP budget could be halved if the non-violent criminals got a get of jail free card. That would drop prison population down to around a million folks and get the facility population down to a manageable level. That would also drop day to day costs considerably. But, it ain’t going to happen anytime soon. Reason – Judiciary and Law makers. Laws have to be changed and Judges need to rethink punishment. Instead of prison time you get to report to a work crew and I’m not talking about cleaning up medians on freeways either. But that’s a whole different blog for a rainy day.

“we all for making money off bad guys”, just seems ill-thought. Are you really saying that it’s ok to profit off of the imprisonment of someone, as long as they are deemed “bad” by someone? Here’s why I think that argument doesn’t work, is unethical, and doesn’t benefit the incarcerated:

OK, we obviously are not on the same page in regards to incarceration and how one get’s there. When I said “bad guys” I meant bad guys. Folks that are not someone you invite to have dinner with the wife and kids. Not some kid that got caught with a bag of weed at the park. Do you make money off the kid? No. But he pays his way just like the guy that axed his Mom in a fit of rage. Prisoners need to be made to work while in prison to offset the costs of keeping a roof over their head and food in their belly. This liberal BS of a guy costing me 65 bucks a day to watch TV or lift weights is just plain stupid. Why should I have to work to support him that does not work for his own support? Fuck that. THINK! Your may be paying to keep a guy that knocked you over the head to steal your car. You cool with that? I’m not. Nor am I cool with anyone making serious profit on a personal level from someones incarceration. In a perfect world the profits made through the prison work force that goes beyond prisoner housing, feeding and health care goes into the programs for after-market prisoners.

It’s a complicated problem. It’s a humanity/society problem and there is no one solution, as it is so interwoven. This is all not new science. There are college level courses offered on the subject. There is a tremendous amount of public resources for those trying to get back into the day to day life. Having worked with these support groups through my Ministry I can honestly say, this is no easy gig. For anyone.

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Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Opinion


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