Saturday, January 29, 2011

Prison Reform Rant

To everyone who dismisses the idea of prison reform because 'prison isn't supposed to be nice'. Or easy, or fun, or whatever adjective you like.

Do you like paying to incarcerate people with a treatable condition? To then pass on the financial burden of intergenerational incarceration to your children and your children's children? Is finding ways to help your fellow men, women and children to succeed so hard to swallow? Personally, I rather like the idea of a win win situation.

I care if my fellow Americans suffer. I understand that many of them are there for BS 'crimes' drummed up and criminalized in order to make money for the prisons. I understand that every American commits, on average, of three felonies a day and I don't spend my time looking down on regular people when I'm a regular person myself.

I understand that treatment is less expensive than incarceration, and I'm pissed that our lawmakers would rather waste my money on incarceration than spend it actually helping people. I understand that many of these people came out of homes with incarcerated parents and foster care with less than basic reading skills and can't get a job. (You know, just as an aside, there simply aren't jobs for 1 out of 5 people whom are currently unemployed, and people in prison don't even count towards that number!)

I understand that incarceration doesn't just affect the prisoner. It affects their whole family, and the entire community. I understand that as an Oklahoman, an American, and a freaking human being, I am a part of this community, and I want my money spent on things that help other people. Otherwise, it's a waste of money and lives.

And if you think that Oklahoma's prisons are a vacation, then you obviously haven't been sexually assaulted in one, as three out of five Oklahoma prisoners are. Do you think that rape is an acceptable punishment for a childless woman in possession of marijuana, or for leaking a music track onto the Internet without permission?

I don't.

Then again, I'm a human being.

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