by Robert Montgomery #1382565
We have many problems we could hold in discussion when it comes to our prison system. Its a long list of issues that have been ignored or minimized for years, and will remain so if people in power continue to go along as if these issues have an easy solution or could resolve themselves over time.
A big reason why these visible and obvious problems go unchanged, is because prisons are a huge lucrative business in america. Government officials and politicians may sometimes seem supportive of reform or even abolishment, but most of the time they're promising speeches are to solidify votes for an election or reelection.
Our governments will not submit to change that stops profit from being continuous. This fact was seen when schools, academic programs and all sports were halted and closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet, sessions and delegations were held to create, amend and pass new laws. Governments continued to make sure their pockets could remain in health, while the rest of the world was drained of it.
We saw their true colors during trying times, and we've seen this repeating corruption go on for decades. Taxes are raised by local officials to build up prisons and jails, then judges who own stake in these properties use there power to fill them up. Confident defendants walk into a courtroom knowing their mandatory guidelines, but then judges exceed them to keep their facilities occupied and running. We see or hear about cases like these all the time, where human beings lose valuable time of their lives, or in many situations, the rest of it. All this just to keep government facilities active, and government pockets full.
If change is not going to come to our prison system, if reform continues to be shelved, and abolishment is only a wish...then we have to act on the chance to help and progress in other ways. Ways that can nearly guarantee our prison population cut in half if done right and with the proper support.
What I speak on isn't my idea, but instead a forgotten aspiration. A pass success that has faded maybe because of finances or more so because of the governing goals that we have already discussed. This aspiration is the help that we can give to our youth. Instead of new juvenile detention centers being funded and built, like the multimillion dollar one that is being constructed in Fairfax County. Because "Our youth should be molded and constructed, instead of being detained and obstructed" (quote by: Robert Montgomery). We could use those millions and build multiple Youth Centers that offer the education they need to grow into productive members of society.
I speak from experience when i say that the system doesn't offer help to a kid in desperate need of help. A kid who made a mistake or has chosen the wrong group of people to be around gets tossed into an environment where his only pro.se is to become worse. We need to see that most times the kid isn't at fault. Maybe its the environment of poverty and violence he or she has only known since birth. Maybe its having parents who work two jobs and don't have the time to be there like they wish. Or maybe its the public defender who advises them to plead out, because he doesn't care about what happens to his client or the his or her future.
Kids don't have the life skills or capabilities to be punished as beings who knowingly have done something wrong. These young men and women should not be thrown away, but instead given the chance to learn how to correct themselves before we place them in a correctional center that offers no correction. What if we could support them with treatment if they're caught using or in possession of drugs, anger management classes when they act out and therapeutic guidance to reach into their minds and figure our the reasons of their behavior.
I believe if we change the way we punish our youth, we could see significant change to our overcrowded prisons. We cannot ignore that the majority of those young that are crudely punished are brown and black kids. Yes, racism plays a huge part in these juveniles lives being thrown away. Yes, white privileged kids get a chance to rectify their wrongs. But they also have the resources to afford a lawyer who will fight for them. They have parents who can hire help and support. Families of color don't have these options. If we help ALL kids to correct themselves before going down a road of cells and institutions, we can succeed without reform. We won't need delegations to come up with ideas and more laws. We have the resources, all we need is a chance.
"The beginning of a book, tells you all you need to know about it". Let's change the beginning of these kids lives so they won't lose them to a system that always has the same ending.
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