Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Just Put Me In Charge
If I controlled our judicial system, I guarantee you that crime would go down. It wouldn't have a choice because I believe that criminals should be punished. It wouldn't be "criminal justice" any more, it would be "criminal punishment". Just put me in charge and see.
The 8th Amendment (Cruel and Unusual Punishment / Excessive bail/fines) has been fine-tuned so much that you can't even put a crook behind bars without allowing him "recess."
(In a whiny voice) "Prisoners need an hour of exercise daily. Prisoners need air conditioning. Prisoners need pretty colors on the wall for morale. Anything else is just cruel and unusual punishment."
Garbage. They need to pay for whatever they did that got them thrown in the slammer in the first place.
Besides, what exactly is "cruel and unusual punishment?" If a man rapes and tortures someone, then what could Judge Q prescribe for him that would be considered more "cruel and unusual" than that?
Do you see how stupid it sounds when you put things in that perspective? You rape and torture someone and I reward you with three meals, A/C, and a free gym membership? Sure, I'm all for having guidelines, but make no mistake about it, you will be punished if I have anything to do with it. You will not ever want to see the inside of a cell again. Ever.
How would I do it? I'm glad you asked! :)
First of all, public humiliation would be a must! If you're convicted of a petty crime, then I'm not trying to hide you in some jail cell. I'm going old school and putting you on display. A cage right in the middle of town. That way, people who are like you and kids who lack direction can get a good look at what "criminal punishment" truly means.
Second of all, you will serve all of your sentence. No more of this "I sentence you to 20 years with a possibility of parole in 8" or "I sentence you to five years with four years as time served."
What's the point of giving you jail time you're not going to do? If Judge Q says "10 years," then you will be there for all 3,650 days and any extra days during Leap Years. If sentenced to 100 years and you die after 80, then your ghost will do the last 20. You're laughing, but I'm as serious as syphilis. I am not playing.
Third, you will read and learn a skill. Prisoners are habitual because that's all they know. They steal something and go to jail for a few years. Guess what they're going to do when they get out? They're climbing into your window to get your TV, that's what.
Is a criminal supposed to fly right when he doesn't have an education or a skill? His skill is stealing! So, in the evenings, instead of watching TV like today's crooks do, I would have them reading/writing while others learned skills like plumbing, electrical, or even being a barber. Something that will allow them at least an opportunity to make cash honestly.
Finally, prison will be prison. What a novel idea! No flat screens for you to watch music videos, no exercise room for you to become stronger/faster criminals, and no freakin' recess for grown folks. The only time you will leave your cell is to partake in that hard labor ol' Warden Q has in store for you at 5 AM, six days a week. And that hard labor would be necessary because they would be responsible for growing/raising their own food. No living off of the tax payers. They will earn their own keep or not eat. After 10-12 hours handling the farm, it's back to the cells (not a cafeteria) for a meal consisting of whatever they've raised.
It's not hard. Jail isn't for relaxing. Jail isn't for socializing and building new partners in crime. Jail isn't for getting buff or working on your rap CD. Jail is for paying for something ignorant you did on the outside. If you act like an animal, you should live like one. That goes for any criminal. I wouldn't treat the white collar criminals any different than the blue collar ones. If you embezzle millions from your company, then you can shuck that corn for your meal just like the bank robbers as far as I'm concerned.
The only true deterrent is to actually make jail a place people despise going. Just put me in charge. I'd make it happen faster than you can say "Bernie Madoff."