Pubdate: Thu, 28 Dec 2006
Source: Star-Banner, The (Ocala, FL)
Copyright: 2006 The Star-Banner
Author: David Becker


Tough on crime. Who could possibly argue with that? Everyone hates 
crime. A fair amount of criminals hate crime, hate what crime has 
done to their lives and hate that they can't seem to get away from a 
life of crime.

The tough-on-crime political platform of the '80s has become an 
unbeatable ticket into office for scores of candidates. 
Tough-on-crime must be effective, since nobody has questioned the 
approach. More criminals are in prison for longer periods of time. 
Judges no longer have the power of discretion. Inmates are no longer 
eligible for parole, nor can they enjoy unlimited access to the 
courts. As a result, inmates are warehoused in violent institutions 
patiently learning their lessons and feeling the deterrent effect of 
the tough-on-crime monster.

It all sounds great until one begins to consider what happens to the 
inmate who is locked up longer in a highly stressful environment, 
talked to and fed like an animal and released back into the world 
having learned nothing positive about how to integrate back into 
society. Considering that the majority of inmates come from broken 
families - drug-pushing dads, drug-addicted mothers, alcoholics, 
thieves, prostitutes, child molesters - it is unthinkable to assume 
that these inmates have any possible idea about how to do the right 
thing; nobody has ever taught them about success.

So what society gets back is the same person with the same mentality, 
but with more anger and distrust. A small percentage of inmates 
figure it out, leading one to believe that a much larger percentage 
could figure out how to change their lives for the good of society.

Do your politicians care about really changing criminals or are they 
just interested in using displaced citizens to support the huge 
industry that "corrections" has created?

Corrections? What exactly is being corrected?

David Becker, Lowell
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