Penalty, Punishment, Prison

There’s some unidentified psychological mechanism that makes it permissable to treat some fellow humans as less than equal…..and thus undeserving of a wide range of rights and opportunities we all take for granted.

One of these less than equal groups, are those convicted of criminal behavior. Illegal acts have penalties that go along with them, as they should.

For example, if caught speeding, the fine (unless fine is avoided) will depend on how fast, and where, you were driving. You pay the fine……. end of story…..except maybe your insurance company might call! One problem with this response is that it impacts poor people far more than poor people.

On the other hand if you get in a fight with someone and they’re injured, you might (this depends on multiple factors (money, race, geography and connections)   go to prison…..that’s a more severe penalty…..loss of liberty.

However, that the loss of freedom is just the beginning of many more penalties. That’s where punishment begins….as an add on to the penalty. Prisoners are required to work, but are not paid….. yet, a visit to the commissary requires money. Prisoners , and their visitors , are deprived of reasonable time, and space, during visitation. They are deprived of many of the tools that would enhance understanding of self and others. A prisoner who wants higher education must get in line, because there are 15,000 people in line and not nearly enough classes…..plus tuition must be paid. Prisoners can only dream about genuienly  healthy food and adequate medical/psychological care. All these are largely avoidable.

These are just a few of the areas screaming for change. It seems like folks are beginning to listen to the cries of suffering victims, prisoners, and the families of each. Join with others……..we can do better than this.

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