For a change this post isn’t about me, me, and more me : ) I recently read an article that i found amusing and disturbing, it’s about the state of the american prison system. It just so happens that this article comes out at a time when i happen to be addicted to the awesome tv drama Prison Break ( not to be confused with a spring break atmosphere at all! ).
Either way, the article reads that one out of every hundred americans is behind bars and if you look closer at the stats, the highest number of people behind bars are african american males aged between 18-34 ( 1 in 15! ), so if you’re a black who isn’t in jail, you graduated in the top 93% of the lot – guess Chris Rock wants to rethink his “What do you want a cookie” routine! Now with the ladies, the highest number in jail is black women aged 35 to 39. What that translates to is that while “the man” was in prison the ladies were doing fine on the outside and as soon as they got back together, they decided one of us gotta go and since the guy was just back it wasnt going to be him again!
Further on the stats reveal that the highest increase in incarcerations ( i really wanted to use that word! ) is in Florida, Florida – that’s the state where old people go to retire and grand kids go to see Shamu isn’t it?! So whats the crime there, old men stealing books from Brentano’s and going “I’m an old man. I’m confused! I thought I paid for it. What’s my name? Will you take me home?” – 50 points to you if you can identify that reference without googling it : )
In Florida, the stats show that the number of people in jail went up because of the states policies to ensure that inmates do at least 85% of their sentence without getting time off for good behaviour. The policy did result in the percentage of crimes going down, however New York and California managed the same without increasing the people behind bars.
If we have more people behind bars it doesn’t really make a difference in the crime rate, to send people to a “correctional facility” or a prison is not an answer for an evolving society. Children learn from their environments, we change and adapt according to the environment around us. If we want to improve the society around us, we have to “be the change that we want to see in the world”. Crime, especially violence is an innate part of our human nature, its our animal instinct, we have been removing it from our nature over the past few centuries, and its slowly changing the way our species reacts – but that’s a topic for another post.