Sunday, January 07, 2007

Are there no prisons, are there no workhouses?

When you're looking at $100 million to build a new prison maybe some alternatives ought to be considered. In the 1980's when Saint Ronny was President the federal government cut funding for state mental hospitals and out-treatment programs. The result of that policy has been haunting us ever since. The explosion of the homeless population, people who can't hold a job because they're too confused to even perform the activities of daily living and the resulting crime. It's easy to say lock up all the criminals, the hard part is to find a way to prevent crime.

As much as I knock the Luzerne County Commissioners I have to give them props for trying something different. Greg Skrepnak was a leader in establishing the Drug Court and now they have a new initiative.

Commissioners trying to start a mental health court to get nonviolent offenders help.

Once you're convicted of a crime and locked up for a while it's hard to get your life back. The laws seemed to be designed to prevent you from rejoining society. If a landlord or employer does a background check you can't get a job or a place to live. Wilkes-Barre and other communities are busy passing laws on where sex offenders can live. If these people are so dangerous why not just lock them up for life? If drunk driving was as big a problem as we are told I think we would be all dead judging by how may cars are in the parking lots of the local taverns and clubs. And how about throwing people in jail because they fall behind in child support, that helps them pay off the obligation.

An antidote about how quick someone can get thrown in jail that causes even more damage. A friend of mine was a taxi driver that split up with his wife and a couple of kids were involved. He had court ordered support that he did his best to meet. Cab drivers don't make much money so when he got behind on support payments they suspended his drivers license. Makes sense, huh. He bounced from job to job getting even more behind on support payments and then they threw him in jail because he was so far behind. What good did that do?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

We need to get you a large bandage for the bleeding from your heart.

Bill Fitzpatrick said...

If they rather doe then et them do it and decrease the surplus population
Oh wait people are leaving NEPA becuase of the ineptness of codero in Lack and Skrep in luzerne

Bill Fitzpatrick said...

If a landlord or employer does a background check you can't get a job or a place to live.
-Objection, i worked ant Wendy's and often times i was the only person besides the manager not to be on work release or have an ankle bracelet
-Wilkes-Barre and other communities are busy passing laws on where sex offenders can live. If these people are so dangerous why not just lock them up for life?
-yes we should, but we need to distinuish between the pedaphile and the guy with a 17 year old and the 19 year old with the 15year old, they should be punished, but not given the scarlett letter like the other sick freaks

Doctor Rick said...

Too many people get away with too much.

David Yonki said...

I don't think Gort's a bleeding heart. In this economy with the way the business community treats its workers, you can easily run into a slide if you are living paycheck to paycheck. And isn't it interesting how the poor saps get put in jail but the George Banks live on and on, our tax dollars go to public defenders to represent scum bags like henry stubbs who killed an innocent woman and gutted her little girl like a deer, and the out of town druggies wind up in public housing as guests of people renting there? The problem my friends is not the jail space, the law or the criminals. It is how we as a society in NEPA deal with what's handed to us. We accept a Mary Leo being killed above Abe's, we celebrate a Hugo Salinski because we've long given up on moral outrage on the small stuff. It's Mayor Guiliani's broken street light theory, if you see it broke in your neighborhood, you fix it, don't let it go downhill. It's how we respond to the people intruding on our moral lives, that's the key to beating crime. This may or may not be related: but the first New Year's Baby was born in the area and they put her picture in the paper with the mom. No father, just the mom. The father never owned up to the moral issue by marrying the mom. No outrage anymore, it's just the way kids do things today. And we accept it. It's the small things we need to work on. You prosecute and punish the people sucking the life out of us, you give the cabbie with the kids a break, you try to even it out. It's a thing called Justice. You and I recognize it but most of our county lawyers and judges don't care about justice, "they just want to get theirs." And that's the sad part. You can build all the prisons in the world but it won't help unless you have people running the system who understand the concept of justice.