January 30, 2011

Prison and Jail Reform Across The Nation

Posted in death, jail, marijuana, prison, reform, Uncategorized, weed at 11:59 PM by psycheshanicole

There have been several serious issues over the past few years regarding state prisons and county jails, be it underfunding, overcrowding , or deaths. These problems occurring in one of the most prominent nations in the world is unacceptable. There needs to be a serious reform and more strict standards to how prisons are ran to better serve the employees, the inmates, and the surrounding communities.

Nowadays, it seems as if it is most important to arrest every law-breaker, no matter how serious, and to continue to make room for them in the prisons and jails without regard to state laws and regulations or actually rehabilitating criminals. It seems as though The Department of Corrections has forgotten what the meaning of corrections is and has replaced it with the definition of punishment. Understandably, most inmates do deserve to be punished severely for the crimes they have committed, but is it at the expense of the safety of other inmates and employees and the well-being and basic human rights of the inmates themselves?

I have never been to jail, but I’ve only heard horror stories of disgusting food, unbearable temperatures, and mistreatment. Even my father, who has unfortunately spent a large portion of his life in and out of prisons and jails,  has told me that the Oklahoma County Jail is the worse place to be housed, compared to all the places he has been sentenced to go. I would think a county jail would be a little better than a state prison, wouldn’t you?

The amazingly entertaining and raw show, Lockup, shows a glimpse of the lives of inmates across the country. I encourage everyone to watch it on MSNBC late night.

I wanted to write about this topic because of the female prison guard who was strangled at Washington State prison recently (I linked the article to the word “death” in the first sentence) . To me, that incident was ridiculous and preventable, the woman had complained about being alone and unchecked for long periods of time in an area of the prison she guarded and her complaint was ignored, and now she is dead. A 34 year-old woman is dead due to an inmate trying to escape and budget cuts. Tragic.

I’m not 100 percent sure on what specific changes should be done to improve the system, but I hope someone who does have that knowledge steps up and starts a change. Although, if asked, my first recommendation would be to legalize marijuana across the United States, which would alleviate more than 850,000 inmates nationwide, this could make room for more serious offenders such as drunk drivers, rapists, and murderers, and put tax dollars to better use; but that is another topic.

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