In countries where growth is essential today, I would assume prisons wouldn't be considered part of that development. Many years ago, prisons here were probably perceived as many others are abroad, so why and how did it become such a lucrative business where rarely does anyone get laid off even when times are bad.
Starting with the police, courts, and then correction, they have successfully maintained a human harvest, never worrying if the product could no longer supply their needs- and I emphasize needs because the agencies also connected benefit from it financially.
The most assertive are the assistant DA's, who work symbolically for us in front of judges of various types of misdemeanor and superior courts to indict. Just below are the legal aids [free defense attorneys] representing the poor, often working in an obscure abstract environment pushing hundreds of cases through the courts.
Next are the probation and parole divisions who keep records. Besides overseeing and setting former inmates guidelines and additional punishment if necessary. Oddly with some degree of leniency, the psychological and sociological community that often face opposition from more stringent penologist is allowed to have some input, prior and after a person is committed. What's rarely publicized and just as significant is the costs for caring for each inmate. But this isn't a lesson about the criminal justice system. It's to show how thorough it's become.
The idea of imprisonment for the punishment of crimes isn't new. But what has existed in this country may have allowed an impromptu conspiracy to steer away from its original purpose, to rehabilitate.
Knowing for decades, theorists agree crime at certain levels is sometimes caused by the social condition of those who commit them. So traditionally, it would have been a waste of money and time to consider that theory, knowing our socio-economics were rarely steadfast. Knowing whites and other groups have social and economic weaknesses and commit similar crimes also.
They had no answer for why black men suddenly became the majority in prison. At least none they would reveal. So since it could have never been an afterthought, the reason must have been hushed as prisons began performing multiple functions, keeping black men out of mainstream, while manipulating the minority population that's also black.
In a strange way it may have had nothing to do with race or color, but privilege. It was something they refuse to give up or share, since they always believed it was they who had more of a right to rule, being the majority. But their constant criticism only forced us to adapt to their customs, so their fears became more increasing.
It was also important to protect their fragile since of integrity, knowing many sociologists had determined black men were purposely incarcerated. On the other hand, they had to keep quiet the fact that the increasing minority that was also crime worthy was never a threat, only because they're connected to other things they were more interested in.
So it was easy to keep black men lives in frenzy and dysfunctional, since there would be little chance to develop continuity amongst the race. Besides that, there would be fewer fathers to raise children they already have. Just as important, there would be few men training or prepared to go into the job market to compete. What also helped were the frequent complaints about fatherless black children, sometimes because of a child's infraction, that became more crucial as blacks [mostly women] followed up with their own criticism of both.
Education was believed to be one of our weakest elements, offering it in prison would only be an activity, not a solution to better their lives if men were facing many years. Regardless if they made some attempt to prepare themselves to return to the outside, it could have only been structured to appease those on the outside who was critical of the criminal justice system.
Although single moms seem to satisfy some black women's posture today, without men stability has been minimal to some degree. On the other hand, a man has a better chance to encounter some success if there's a woman supporting him. So if we had to rate these situations from past circumstances, they would be "Even Steven", since neither have benefitted. But if we're opened minded and could fathom prison not only hurt black men, but blacks in general, it's time to change that.
Protecting young men who have yet been tainted would almost guarantee life for blacks in the future would be much different. Responsibility isn't brought with us when we're born. It's learned through a course of action and that has to come from parenting and people around them they can emulate, or see as examples.
We often hear about black men or fathers not being responsible, yet the responsibility to them ended decades ago. Many felt the sting of inadequacy being evaluated negatively because of opportunity that offered only menial jobs or what others experienced soon after getting home from past wars. Little concern from family members who were expected to comfort and help them recover from the conditions of war, but also a system that still follow the same tend today. However I feel at this stage in our lives, they will no longer use prisons in a similar way.
Like many underhanded things they started then blew up in their faces, the penal system has become a national holding pen for a newer and more dangerous type of prisoner. Within the walls of our Nation's prisons are many anti-social-groups increasing, that prison authorities fear they ever should let out.
The most knowledgeable understand how their return to society would cause more dangerous conditions than most past advocates of the system would believe. Since things have changed a bit for us, although not totally in our favor. If we've learned anything from the past and hopefully recent events should have energized us to some extent, we should be more willing to do our part to help fix what still needs fixing, since they have yet written a law that says we can't start all over again.
© Dec 2008 T. Duffy || [TOP]
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