Prison Reform

Burt Prelutsky
|
Posted: Apr 09, 2007 12:47 PM
Prison Reform

I keep reading that prisons are over-crowded. Things have gotten so bad in some places that a certain number of felons are periodically released. Bureaucrats are always quick to assure us that these are non-violent criminals. But I don't buy it. Thanks to plea bargains, hardly anybody is convicted and doing time for the actual crime or crimes he committed.

Frankly, I must confess I'm surprised that the jails all have their No Vacancy signs lit up. After all, when a Sandy Berger gets off with the equivalent of community service for stealing and shredding classified documents, O.J. Simpson is free to hone his golf game in Florida, and Robert Blake is home watching his video of "In Cold Blood," one could easily get the idea that it's impossible to convict anyone of anything these days.

Of course it's no surprise that celebrities get to walk around with a Get Out of Jail Free card in their wallet. Here in California, a drunken motorist, so long as he was a movie star, could mow down a troop of Girl Scouts and wind up with nothing more than a parking ticket. It's called DWI, driving while influential.

If I were running the criminal justice system in America, I would make some major changes. Right off the bat, I would de-criminalize drug use. I don't use them, but I simply don't see any advantage in keeping drugs illegal. That only serves to make them seem romantic and dangerous to young people and other dunderheads. It also keeps them far more expensive than they would otherwise be. I mean, why should I care if someone uses cocaine or heroin? So long as the junk is cheap enough so that users don't have to resort to criminal activity to finance their habit, how is it my business if other people choose to mess up their brains?

I mean, if you're serious about preventing drug use, it seems to me that you would forget about jailing the dealers, who, after all, are merely meeting a demand. This is, after all, a capitalist society. Instead of going after the sellers, go after the buyers. I say, jail all the addicts and throw away the key. Too harsh? Fine, but then you're not talking about an all-out war. Instead, you're talking about what the war on drugs really is; namely, a quagmire.

How is it my business what people smoke, snort or inject into themselves?However, if they cause mischief while stoned out of their skulls, I'd treat them as criminals, not victims. They don't get to blame it on the drug. When I'm in charge, they go to the slammer, not rehab.

While I'm at it, pedophiles would all be executed. No more of what we have now where baby rapists go to jail for a few years, only to be released into a society that doesn't want these creeps anywhere around their kids. I can't be the only person who's sick and tired of watching law enforcement trying to monitor sexual predators 24/7. Anybody who can't be trusted not to attack some three-year-old has no right to live. There are, after all, 300 million of us in this country. If we got rid of all the degenerates, we wouldn't be missing a thing. It's not as if we're an endangered species like the Spotted Owl. The way things are now, it's our kids who are needlessly endangered.

I would also execute murderers, rapists and those who attempted murder. After all, why should we reward incompetence?

With all the prison cells that were now vacant, I wouldn't hesitate to sentence thieves to 30 years of hard labor. That might strike some of you as severe, but I have my reasons. One, Americans steal because they want what's not theirs, not because they really need whatever it is to survive. So, the threat of facing serious jail time might persuade these knuckleheads to see the error of their ways before they’ve been arrested; and, two, I really don't like people messing with my stuff.