The prison system in America, it’s size and scope, the amount of convicts housed within it at any given time, is a big point of contention for some people. But I generally fail to understand the way they choose to complain about it. I’d get it if it were just plain atrocious to them, if it were simply that it reflects something about our society they don’t like.
I even get wanting to figure out ways of cutting down on that.
The proposed solutions and specific gripes are usually ridiculous though.
It’s somehow the governments fault that those people are committing crimes and getting caught? The two things I suggest are a) quit it with the “war on drugs” bullshit already and b) criticize the dumb asses who are in there for assault, attempted murder, burglary, grand theft auto, armed robbery, and other things of the like. If you don’t like the size our our prison population, address the two main problems: stupid laws, with which you need to know what the fuck you’re talking about so you can be specific, and stupid prisoners, the ones who landed their asses behind bars.
Legalize marijuana and prostitution, for starters.
Then allow for some time, see if it cuts down on the overall population.
After that, and after you’ve combed through currently existing laws and addressed any other
cases of sheer legislative idiocy, put the blame where most of it already belongs anyways: on the prisoners. I don’t have any responsibility to them just because we happen to be in the same country or even the same town. I played no part in their decisions, had no hand in whatever the hell they decided to do, and so I (and the rest of the more or less law-abiding segment of society) have absolutely no obligation to make any changes to what I’m allowed to do.
Nor do I have to smilingly accept the blanket forgiveness dished out for “lesser” crimes; when cities & states decide to try their hand at cutting down on the number of prisoners, they usually do it recklessly. Consequences arise that should’ve been anticipated and the root causes are never actually solved or even really brought up or directly targeted.
We passed some dumb ass law a while ago here in California, letting people out early if their crimes were “non-violent”, to alleviate overcrowding. There’s no good reason for having passed it though. If there’s a certain body of laws that we no longer feel are worth enforcing, we should be working to get them removed or amended. Which is why I would recommend legalizing marijuana and prostitution, at the very least. We shouldn’t be giving people a pass for violating laws that were in place when they were caught. The changes should have no bearing on it at all.
Really, what measure like that amount to are quick, short term solutions that not only fail to solve the problem, but create a whole new set of problems to go along with the old ones. It might have some instant gratification in lowering the current population, but it would be a hell of a lot better to expand as necessary to compensate for over-crowding, and to deal with the actual causes of it instead of slapping a temporary fix on it and calling it good for the foreseeable future.