Monday, March 21, 2011

Stone Walls Do Not a Prison Make (but they sure help!)

From our "What The Hell??!" department, now open late every weeknight, there is an issue with which I find myself in agreement with Republicans.   Who knew?  

There's always some common ground, things about which every sane person feels the same.  No one supports crime or disrespect, and yet out of our state capital, here comes a report that the people who run our prison system might be thinking of closing down a prison in order to save money.

In a rational era, you'd think that crooks would just say, "I will have to cut back on the amount of crimes I commit, what with there being fewer cells for my ilk. I'll never be able to find a room at the Ironbar Hilton," but that doesn't happen.  So, the one money-saving plan being discussed - and I hasten to point out that at this time, it's only at the stage of coffee talk among officials - would be to close one prison and release one prison's worth of crooks out into the free air that you and I are trying to breathe, in between armed holdups and residential burglaries.

This is the one place where my "liberal" credentials sag somewhat, I guess.  I'm a hard-liner on crime and punishment.  As I have often remarked to my buddy
Fyodor  "The Beaver" Dostoevsky, "Don't do the crimesky if you can't do the timesky."  I recall countless times when kids who grew up with me (pause for laughter) were assessed punishments that were never carried out.  "No TV all weekend!" their parents would holler on Friday afternoon when they came home with notes from the teacher about their classroom cutting-up.  And by 8:30 on Friday, they were watching "Rin Tin Tin" or singing along with Mitch.  And now what did that teach the kid?

We need to reinforce the message that we send to a miscreant, and that is half of the "Punishment" side of it.  Perhaps  being deprived of freedom, premium cable, good seafood and the right to do whatever, whenever, is enough to teach some bad actors to do right.  The other half, to be frank, is that society is rid of the people who accost, rob, rape, steal, murder, plunder and otherwise offend.  People often say,"You're just warehousing these people!" as if the criminals still deserved to be out among us.  It's a big-time Time Out for guys and women who, as children, should have been given little little time-outs when they did something wrong.

I talk to people on the other side of this, people who say that prisons are bad places! Of course they are!  They're full of bad people who need to stay there until their time is up.

We now resume our regular liberal schedule.  How wonderful is our splendid president, huh?

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