I was watching a documentary online tonight: “Hard Time“.
To me, it was the prefect reflection of American society . . .
* The uneducated are imprisoned
* Punishment is disproportionate to the crime
* Drug related crimes have harsher penalties than ‘white collar’ crime
* Prison time turns inmates into actual criminals
It was genuinely gut wrenching to watch these men, as a documentary crew let them speak and filmed them in their physical existence in just one of the USA’s maximum security prisons.
My god – they are farms!
They take in young men, who although they committed crimes (that is never disputed), and some of the crimes are heinous (murder, rape, torture), the reality is – in the majority of the cases, these men were always going to end their days in prison.
Some were battle-scarred from military service.
Some were born into drug-saturated societies
Others were illiterate in a society that has little tolerance for anyone who isn’t a college educated, white, middle class person.
I am not excusing any of their behaviours – a crime is a crime, but I genuinely question the structure and lack of emphasis on education, as a means of tempering poor choices and illegal activities in our society.
How can a person AVOID being a criminal when the only opportunity they have to make money to buy food, is to sell crack cocaine?
There was one young man, Shawn Rockefeller, who’s girlfriend was three years and one month younger than him (he was 18), when they had sex. He was charged with Statuary Rape – a crime that has a minimum sentence of two years in prison. And when he is released, it is mandatory for him to apply to be admitted onto the Sex Offenders Register – FOR LIFE!!!
Now again, I am not arguing that he committed a crime or even that he should have faced some sort of retribution for his act, but again – his punishment does not represent a system intent on protecting people and rehabilitating offenders.
It is a system whose only purpose is to rid the middle class community
of the evidence of a broken and corrupt society!
And Richard S Fuld Jr, CEO of Lehmann Brothers when the banking institution crashed and triggered the GFC, was never charged nor was he even fined for his malpractice and illegal activities. He still lives in his mansion and still has a high paying career.
America . . . you have a LONG way to come when it comes to morality and ethical behaviour.
A long, LONG way!