Prison is not a pleasent place to be. It
is not supposed to be? How bad should it be?
The punishment should fit the crime. The loss of freedom is very hard to deal with. The prisoners' have lost control of their lives.
They are exposed to the dangers of predators who will try to control them, rape them, beat them or kill them. These predators may not just be the other inmates but may be guards as well.
If they get sick they may not be treated for their illness. Hepatitius C is a very big danger in prison and if the inmate has it he may not be treated for it. If an inmate get AIDS, cancer oar any other desease they may find that no one cares and they may not get treated. If they are stabbed or beaten they may not receive the proper treatment. If they become handicapped they may not receive the needed equipment to help them get around out function. The Doctors may not even be licensed and many are quacks or just do not give a damn. The nurses can be equally as bad. In some cases the people who are the best caregivers are the prisoners who work in the medical areas.
Depending on the security level the prisoners may end up spending 23 hours a day in their cells. One man told me that security is so tight in the new prison he is in that they do not even have rats or cockroaches.
I spent 72 hours in a police station lock up. I was in a 6 X 6 one man cell with a toilet and sink in the open and a concrete bench to sleep on with no bedding. One wall was bars and the others were concrete. All I could see out of the bars was another wall and the guards as they passed. When I sat on the pot the female guards would walk by and see me on my thrown. I had 3 balogna sandwiches for food in the whole time. I had to drink water from the sink in my cell (nothing else to drink). When I got to the bull pen at the court house a guy told me he had a rat come into his cell. I said, "At least you had someone to talk to."
I was looking at the possibilty of 2 to 4 years in prison. (I was lucky and got diversion. 1 year similar to probation and the record expunged.) I spent a week in a 10 man cell in County jail. That was not bad because the other inmates and I enjoyed each others company. There the toilet was in the open along with a shower.
I was so happy when I found out I did not have to go to prison.
You have seen movies about prison. Many show how bad it is or do they? It is worse and it is getting worse as time goes buy. OZ on HBO was pretty close, maybe, but it is worse than that.
There are different security levels. Minimum security may not be too bad but you still do not have freedom. Super max is a warehouse of society's rejects. Supposedly the security level is based on how dangerous the prisoner is but in some cases it is based on how "good " the prisoner is. What do I mean when I say "good"? If you piss off the guards you are not "good". If you complain about your treatment or the treatment of others you may end up going up a security level or two.
Here is what I think the system should do. I admit that most don't give a rats ass what I say but this is my site so I can say what I want. If you read this far thaen you probably care what I say.
First of all we have to do something about the corruption in prison. We have to catch the guards that help the prison drug dealers operate, look the other way when prisoners are beaten and murder and the ones that beat and murder the prisoners. There are probably enough of them to send all of them to a prison for bad guards, wardens, cops and other prison officials so that they stay alive and suffer.
We have to rehabilitate the prisoners. Most are going to get out someday. There must be training for jobs that the prisoners will be able to get when they get out of prison. Education is important too. They can have GED classes, correspondence courses and computer courses. Let them get a college education. Some will say we are being too nice to them. What about making society safe when they get out?
We need medical care with real doctors and nurses not the rejects of the outside world. We need doctors and nurses that will actually treat the prisoners and give them the needed medication and apparatus for the handicapped.
We need to separate the bad guys from the good guys? Instead of using security levels for punishment and getting even use them to separate the prisoners by degree of danger to other prisoners. Have support groups for those wo need them. Not only for drug abusers but for those who can not cope with society.
We need mental health care also. Many of those in prison should be in mental health care facilities instead of prison. Or state officials in their infinite stupidity have released people on society who can not function in society. Every day I see people on the streets who are mentally ill and can not function in society but our leaders say that if they are not a danger to themselves or others they shall be set free. They can not get a job because they can not concentrate on their job function. Some can not even beg for survival because they can not communicate with others. I see them talking to themselves. Many are talking to imaginary people. Some are fighting imaginary people. Some direct traffic. I saw a man beating up a telephone pole. Some of these people end up in prison because it is cheaper to warehouse them that it is to treat their illness.
Separate the predators from their prey. You have some inmates that are trouble and others who are not. Try to separate the ones that are trouble from those that are not.
One problem we have is that when a person goes to prison the meet others who were in the field that they were in. A car thief goes to prison and learns from other car thieves. He learns from the mistakes of others. When he is released, if we have not trained him in a field that he could earn money, he will be better at his craft of stealing cars. He will be able to strip a car faster. He will also get caught again, go back to prison, learn more and come out as a better thief.
Another problem we have when people get out of prison they find that they can not function without being told what to do. They have a hard time making decisions because in prison the decisions were made for them. This is especially true when they were in there for many years. They come out to a world that is nothing like the world they were in before coming to prison. If they have survived 20 years in prison and go into the free world without a support system they will probably commit a crime to get back in prison because they will not be able to cope with freedom.
We have to prepare prisoners for their return to society. Many will need halfway houses to help them in their transition to society and freedom.
Many people say that the criminal should go to prison and live a life of hell. No rehabilitation but revenge by society. They fight spending money on rehabilitation and they fight helping the inmates improve themselves. They say we should not spend the money on them. What is the cost we pay when they are let out worse people than they were when the went in? It costs lives of people who would have had longer lives if they were not murdered by an ex-con who was made worse by prison. If he would have been rehabilitated the victim may not have died. The victim was a victim of those who prevent the prisons from rehabilitation. A victim of the Injustice System.
© Copyright 2002 Lee W. Gaylord
The Book to Be