Letter: Most inmates don’t require incarceration
Those who regularly read the Monitor’s letters page may recognize my name as someone who often writes about the criminal (in)justice system and its inequities and unfairness. I am sure the issues I raise are often dismissed simply because I happen to be an inmate at the state prison. However, it may surprise many, as it did me, that several corrections officers have voiced their support and concurrence with my position and have encouraged me to continue to write.
I asked the COs why they didn’t do something. They told me their superiors do not listen and they’re afraid to go public. The powers that be simply refuse to consider any approach but their own. They cite funding issues as an excuse yet dismiss no-cost solutions or those that would save money.
The prison’s budget is finite, but clearly with fewer inmates the available funds would have greater impact. Substance abuse treatment, which would reduce recidivism, is not provided in prison. There is little modern vocational training to increase the chances of post-prison success.
Prisons are mostly just human warehouses. The solution is clear: Absent additional funding, there needs to be fewer prisoners.
Most people in prison do not require incarceration. Some didn’t need prison in the first place, and others have proven not to need further removal from society. Incarceration destroys families and otherwise fragile lives, and is highly counterproductive in many cases.
Yet the system refuses to acknowledge this fundamental reality and staunchly opposes reducing sentences even when clearly warranted.
Society can do better, but someone must be willing to challenge the status quo. As an inmate, I won’t be listened to. Perhaps they will listen to you. After all, it’s your tax dollars they’re wasting.