What Must Our Children Think

I’ll think about the following the next time I hear someone say something about the “younger generation.”

There are some interesting statistics – nay, absolutely awful ones – from a CNN article this morning. According to the Pew Center on the States, there were 7.3 million adults incarcerated in this country during 2007. A synopsis of the statistical findings should raise a lot of questions:

That is over 3 out of every 100 people in the country.

People of color were disproportionately more represented than whites – over 9 per 100 of black adults and more than 5 per 100 of Hispanic or Latino adults.

Maybe that doesn’t sound too bad to you, but consider that the U.S. accounts for 25% of the world’s incarcerated people – and that includes all those “third world” countries – the ones we love to cluck our tongues at because they imprison their political opponents. Twenty-five percent of the imprisoned people are here in this country that has only 5% of the world’s population.

In the “land of the free”, you are 5 times more likely, on average, to be jailed than in the rest of the world. What does this say about us? What does this say to our younger citizerns? What does it say about our system of “justice”? What does this say to the rest of the world?

If we made prison a non-geographic state, it would be the 13th largest in this federation we call the U.S.

Based on this, I have a proposition. Let us fence in the following as prison states: Mississippi, Alaska, New Mexico, Kansas, New Hampshire & North Dakota. Now, don’t give me that! We know how to put a fence up to keep people out – surely we can do it to keep people in.

Why these states? Well, for one, there is already the requisite amount of housing and other services to provide for their needs. The combined adult populations of these states in 2007 just about equalled the prison population. Also, these areas are in need of economic development – might as well put the miscreants to work, especially when they will reap some of the benefit of their labors and we won’t have to provide a great deal of staffing or funding to get it. They are geographically diverse, so we wouldn’t have to imprison people too far from their comfort zone.

What’s the benefit to the rest of us? Well, since we God-fearing, law-abiding citizens wouldn’t be living near a prison, we could delude ourselves into thinking we don’t have a justice problem. Oh, wait a minute, we already do that.

Of course, there would be drawbacks. What would we do with the people who are already there? How would we drive cross country? O well, nothings perfect. That’s why we have a government. We’ll let them figure it out.

5 Responses to “What Must Our Children Think”

  1. 1 DennisS
    March 3, 2009 at 11:57 AM

    If you propose putting up fencing to keep people in, how about making the prison zone be the first 10 miles of our borders with other countries? That way it can serve a dual purpose. Actually, we could probably put up the fence 10 miles into our country, and if the other country doesn’t want our imprisoned folks going into their country then they can put up the fence at the border…

  2. March 3, 2009 at 1:10 PM

    These statistics are horrifying! I have had limited prison ministry experience, and spend time ministering to people who have spent time. allow some observations please.
    We do not have a justice system. We have a legal system
    There will be little justice till He returns
    Prohibition of anything always fails, every time
    We do not have “corrections facilities ” we have prisons. No correcting
    Morality can not be legislated.
    Prisons are huge industry, big time PORK for pols.
    Prisons are a breeding ground for militant Islam
    Prisons make repaying a “debt to society ” improbable
    Prisons, in the majority of cases harden hearts, to reform, God, Love

    The statistics on imprisonment may be slanted, some cultures cut down on inmates by the cane, or the sword, both against the US constitution.

    People who have nothing to lose, or feel they have noting to lose will gamble everything for almost nothing.

    Bring back the CCC camps, teach trades, real trades, allow people to have a life they value, a welfare check is not the answer.

    • March 3, 2009 at 1:20 PM

      I don’t disagree with anything you said. It is, unfortunately, what happens when our sytem of “justice” is based on retribution and not reparation or rehabilitation. It is also what happens when we always shoot for the quick cure and not the long-term fix for social ills.

  3. 5 DennisS
    March 3, 2009 at 6:15 PM

    In regard to the “pickle” of those locations, perhaps my suggestion of prisons along the border could be amended to keep the border prisons 75 miles away from coastal waters. There would also need to be places to cross the border, perhaps averaging 200 miles apart. These crossing zones would be limited. It might be that our neighboring countries would like to extend the prison zone into their country by about 10 km, though that would include the enterprise zone specifically set aside in Mexico for American businesses. The maquiladoras there pay about $8 a day for labor – so there’s a chance to teach a person new skills and pay off their debt (taking lots and lots of years). I went through the Shure microphone facility (can’t remember if it’s in Nogales or Aqua Prieta), and learned that Mrs. Shure is likely the second richest person in Chicago, behind only Oprah.

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That's too bad - I'm so sorry. Oh, well, just try to make the best of it. What you'll find here is a variety of essays and ramblings to do with things theological, social, whimsical and, sometimes, all three. I don't write to get famous - trust me, I've been told how futile that would be - but to express myself. I love to communicate and browbeat - ummm, I mean dialogue - about the things I find intriguing. Since you're here, and the door's locked, why don't you stay a while. There's a page bar under the header with links to information about us - I mean me. Don't forget to tell me what you think - in a nice way, I mean.

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