Love Prisons (from Prison Series)

Apr 14 21:00 2004 Ed Howes Print This Article

The American criminal justice system is not ... named because it meets justice to ... It is ... named because the justice system itself is ... Those who operate these

The American criminal justice system is not appropriately named because it meets justice to criminals. It is appropriately named because the justice system itself is criminal. Those who operate these ever expanding bureaucracies don't care at all about justice and have no clue what justice is. When President Bush speaks of American justice as though it was judicial caviar,Guest Posting I want to vomit. You should too. The problem is foundational. The U.S. Constitution, which is the pattern for many State Constitutions as well, prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. Wiser people would have forbidden cruel punishments, usual or not. An unusual punishment would be victim restitution or compensation. It would be unusual but it would not be cruel, so it is not forbidden. Family support is not even a punishment, so it is not forbidden by this law.

The problem is, the wording allows cruel punishment as long as it is usual. We can be usually cruel. If we can be unusually cruel and get away with it for a year or two, it becomes usual cruelty and legal. This is how the U.S. prison bureaucracy has constantly increased in legal cruelty. Like the phony wars on poverty, drugs and terror that will never end, so is the war on crime. All were created as social cancers that consume the national economy by people who want government to be the sole employers of people. If bigger is better, biggest is bestest.

Cruelly deprive a child of love, affection, self esteem and build a cage for the adult you created. When you have this adult locked in a cage, deprive him or her of dignity, love, affection and self esteem. Make him totally dependent for everything he needs for life. Don't allow him any productive work and don't pay him any meaningful pay for menial chores. Isolate him from all he knew except the violence and see that he gets regular doses of violence in continuous survival conditions. Further isolate those who get caught up in the violence.

Make the whole environment so unattractive, as to discourage visitation. Restrict, for half and non legitimate security reasons, his access to decent food and health care. Repress, oppress, suppress and depress this person who did not properly respect some law or other.

When he has become completely dependent on the system, turn him loose with nothing and tell him he better get a job. I say, send him to Washington or the State Capitol to make new and never ending laws. He will do better than the professionals we hire. He at least knows what justice is not. Turning people into beasts is never justice. It is insanity. Once the damage is done it needs to be undone, not compounded.

For years, the prison industry has been the fastest growing segment of the American economy. Those who don't get government jobs will fill these prisons and drive up the demand for more, bigger and uglier high security housing. It is such a delightful prospect. If what recently happened in Iraq is unattractive, what would it be like here if the prisoners were all liberated? Let the good times roll, eh? Millions of people who can no longer take care of themselves, settling scores. Let's try that on global TV.

I have noticed the recent progress in animal husbandry and I am sincerely pleased by the trend. Could we learn enough about humane treatment for animals to teach us humane treatment for people? Can we warehouse people who are restricted but healthy, happy and productive? Do lawbreakers need to permanently forfeit their humanity as punishment? How can incarceration be a just punishment for anything but kidnapping murder and rape, where one deprives another of liberty?

In the Old Testament, we had an eye for an eye and tooth for tooth. It was justice without mercy. The New Testament teaches merciful justice but the New Testament is lost on America. Have you noticed? We have become the stronghold of devils our enemies claim and this criminal justice is the ugly proof. This system is a gauge of national spiritual immaturity. It portrays the value we place on soul or spirit. It is an Old World relic of barbarity that needs serious reform.

Government schools don't identify and support neglected and abused children and wasted lives become the object of corrupted government. Government sweeps its social mistakes into Graybar hotels, out of public sight, out of public mind. It's a non issue. The public neither knows nor cares. Let's outlaw criminal justice. Let's outlaw public ignorance.

Unlike citizens, criminals are created, not born. Negligent and abusive parenting, which is often multi - generational, and unspiritual education create perhaps half of the U.S. criminal population. The rest is created by incessant lawmaking. An entire professional class writes new law, year in and year out and people pay them to do it. We ask what schools our children should attend. We need to ask what prisons their children will attend. It is time for everyone to take an interest in modern prison life. It affects all of us, even if we choose to ignore it. It is a storm cloud over the national spirit. Our prisons are spiritual mirrors and there is none fair in the land.

The political will as concerns prison, swings with liberal and conservative influence. Conservatives want every aspect of prison life to be punishment. Liberals want humane treatment and rehabilitation. Because liberals never remain in power, prisoners eventually lose any gains they make and conditions usually get worse than before the liberal swing improved them. That is, prison life becomes increasingly accommodating to the desires of prison administration.

Much of what is done in the name of prison security, is like that we see done in the name of national security. Shortcut solutions to save time, expense and staff, that infringe the rights and humane treatment of others. If some prisoners use telephone communications to run con games on the public, with or without outside help, all prisoners are restricted in telephone communication. It is restricted by the telephone time allotted each prisoner every month. It is monitored, recorded and restricted to the length of call. It is restricted because only collect calls are allowed at rates up to ten times higher than a direct dial or phone card call. This is a blatant infringement on the privacy and economic rights of the person called and discourages people from accepting the charges. In many cases, the state gets rebate kickbacks from the phone company as part of this monopoly contract.

To restrict the profits of smuggling drugs and other contraband to prison staff, (Just Us) visitors often must submit to searches and strip searches which effectively discourages visitation as commanded in the Bible. When is the last time you visited a prisoner? Wasn't it a special experience?

The same is done with mail. If you send a letter, a money order and a simple gift that is not on an authorized list or appears homemade, the entire package is returned with a notice of what is unacceptable. The U.S. Postal Service only takes responsibility for prison mail delivery to the prison itself. If mail gets lost or sits on the mailroom floor for weeks, there is nothing the inmate can do but complain and the same for the sender. Prison mail rooms should be operated by specially trained employees of the U.S.P.S. as they would a small town or village.

Prison food is poor and to save costs, only meets minimal dietary requirements. There are prisons with farms that inmates operate. The fresh farm crops are then sold for profit and the inmates are fed canned and spoiled food. When you are living in a din of noise, under constant threat of attack and abuse by staff and other inmates, the ever present stress, from which there is no escape save solitary punishment, boosts nutritional requirements. Over time, anyone will become ill, probably everyone.

When an inmate becomes ill, no matter what the problem, it is of little concern to administration. They will provide medical attention when it is convenient to them. The prison physician is poorly paid, overworked and may be so incompetent, he could find no other paid employment. Prison malpractice is the rule and not the exception. If an outsider wants to send an inmate dietary supplements or herbs for a health problem, it is not allowed in most prisons. In some, probably few, it is allowed if it is sent in by a commercial distributor, reducing the likelihood of contraband.

Often inmate victims of medical neglect, abuse and malpractice, have to sue the system to get help. When they do so, they come in for punishment by administration and staff. More often than not, their case is dismissed on legal technicalities, which only the most experienced paralegals can avoid, after many years of filing what the courts call frivolous lawsuits. They have to file, just to learn all the snares and pitfalls. The courts are in no hurry to adjudicate inmate cases, so they languish in courthouse IN baskets for months and years, forcing inmates to file motions to move their cases. If they win their lawsuits, their condition is usually many times worse than it was when they filed suit and they will get the minimal medical attention the prison can get away with under court order, or worse, more malpractice.

No matter what your crime may be, imprisonment is always a de facto death sentence. Prison life robs one of health and the life force, one day at a time. Most of America does not know this. Most of America does not care, unless a friend or relative gets caught up in the great Just Us system. But now you know, dear reader, and with a little imagination you could do much to improve the lives of many who were somebody's victims, long before they ever committed any crime. Have mercy on the more than two million souls whose lives are long stories of abuse and neglect that never ends.

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Ed Howes
Ed Howes

Freelance writer published on websites and newspapers.

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