Our Most Neglected Minority

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Hobbit, Jun 30, 2006.

  1. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    I'm not talking about Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians (hey, they're the smallest, most oppressed minority of all. Where are their handouts?), or any of the other racial minorities that live among us each and every day. Few politicians bother pandering to them. Few people care if they live or die. The little attention they ever recieve is almost always to their detrement. Most of them are in such a rut that neither they nor their children ever escape it. I'm speaking, respectfully, of our nation's prisoners.

    Don't get me wrong, prisoners do not need to be coddled like children. They committed crimes against the citizens of this nation and deserve a just punishment, but how just is our punishment? Any sentence passed down is, more often than not, a life sentence. 600,000 prisoners will be released onto our streets this year on parole. By the time the next president settles into office in 2007, 400,000 of them will be right back in prison, having done nothing to improve their lot in life.

    The problem is recidivism. Currently, our prisons are little better than a long term time out, with the only funtion being to keep them confined to a certain area until we decide it's time to release them. There is virtually no effort made to rehabilitate them, as a functional program would cost more than politicians are willing to spend. It damages politicians' careers to be caught being 'nice' to crooks. As a result, few prisoners are ready to re-enter society unless they have made a concious effort at it. Maladjusted and with a criminal record, few of them can get, much less hold, a job. Without any stabliizing force, they end up right back in prison. With the rising recidivism rate, it's getting harder and harder for released prisoners to get a job, which, in turn, leads to higher recidivism. Lowest of them are the sex offenders. A new GA law, slated to go into effect tomorrow which would pretty much move all sex offenders out of the metro Atlanta area. This not only drives them into the state of depression that leads to recidivism, but also includes some who never deserved conviction in the first place. One GA man has commented that he'll be forced to move from his home because 12 years ago, he had sex with 16 year old girl with a fake ID that he met in an 'adults only' night club. He got 5 years, and now a life sentence of exile. Another GA man barely dodged the bullet, spending over ten grand on his defense when he was prosecuted for child molestation for urinating in a wooded area that was unknowingly within view of a child. The charges were eventually dropped.

    Many people just don't care, placing all blame on the criminals and claiming that they'll just be that way no matter what you do. They're the only ones suffering the consequences of their actions, so why should I care if they can't straighten up their lives. First off, think of the victims. In three years, 400,000 people will be the victims of recidivism because a released prisoner who can't seem to catch a break will sink back into crime and commit crimes against them. And that's just the direct victims. Sometimes, the criminals have families. Their kids grow up with no father. Their wives become lonely. It's not their fault he committed a crime, but they are made to suffer, with little attention given to them.

    So, in step the charity organizations, nearly all of them supported by churches. The largest such ministry is InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI). State prison workers see the program as a Godsend, and I see that as quite literal. IFI is a voluntary rehabilitation program funded almost entirely by charity donations with a few sizable subsidies from state governments (which go to practical needs such as food and equipment). The program is based on Biblical teachings and all of its volunteers come from local churches, but it is not a church, nor are the prisoners who participate required to attend services (though many do). The program focuses on personal responsibility and emphasizes education and work. The goal of the program is for the prisoner to learn how to take responsibility for his actions and realize that only through his actions will he ever improve. The results are phenomenal. In Texas alone, IFI participants had a recidivism rate of 17%, as compared to the average of around 50%.

    In Iowa, however, things are not good. Americans United for the Seperation of Church and State filed a lawsuit against IFI. The legal fees are already terrible, and for an organization like IFI, which, unlike AUSCS, spends most of its money on things that are not lawyers, it's a horrible debt to pay. AUSCS won the suit, with the judge not only ordering IFI shut down in Iowa, but that IFI pay back all the money the state ever gave to it. IFI is appealing the decision and the judgement is suspended pending appeal, but this is still not a good sign. The only people involved with the ruling who are happy are the people at AUSCS. The prisoners, guards, administrators, and, of course, the IFI volunteers, are all devastated at the thought that it could just be thrown by the wayside.

    The state has admitted that it cannot rehabilitate prisoners. It has also ruled that it won't let the church, the only organization that has rehabilitated prisoners, near them. I've seen lawsuits in the past aimed at making prisons more comfortable, but if all of these litigation groups really cared about the prisoners, why would they take away one of the few rays of hope they had of getting a better life for themselves outside the walls.

    You can find out more information about IFI, the ongoing legal battle, and its parent group, Prison Fellowship, at the following links.

    http://www.ifiprison.org/site_hmpg.asp
    http://www.pfm.org/default_pf_org.asp
     
  2. Joz
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    Joz Senior Member

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    So what do you suggest? Currently 1 in 30 people in the US are either in prison, on probation or on parole. To me, that is staggering.

    People are a result of their environment. If you take a baby, born into a welfare history family, and raise him in a doctor environment, he will no doubt be something other than on welfare. Same goes the other way. Education begins here, at home.
    My daughter-inlaw works for county services. When she asks these young girls what they want to do with their lives, they don't understand what she means. They don't realize they have a choice. Welfare begats welfare begats welfare.

    Your signature states, as also other places in the Bible, murder & such sins originate in the heart. And you know, we do not have the power to do that. Only One can. And even at that, there are some that will never change.
    "Can a leopard change it's spots?"
     
  3. pegwinn
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    pegwinn Top of the Food Chain

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    I am not going to waste time on pity for prisoners.

    Rehab is fine for drugs. I read somewhere that rehab has a higher success rate than prison and is cheaper as well. But only for the first offense.

    But, rehab for a violent crime is out. I think that deterrence in the form of harsh, harsh, sentences is the answer. I might be willing to spend a few bux on public education to the realities of life after prison though.

    Non violent offenses should be restitution based, violent and sex crimes should be punishment based.

    Just my nickles worth (used to be my two cents, but inflation y'know).
     
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  4. William Joyce
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    William Joyce Chemotherapy for PC

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    But Hobbit, stats show most prisoners ARE black and Hispanic.

    This is one of the many drawbacks of the multiracial society. Blacks and Hispanics are biologically more likely to commit crime (lower intelligence, higher violence), so white taxpayers end up paying for them to be housed away.

    The solution to America's "prison problem" is racial separation. I guarantee you that a white nation would have a proportional prison population, made up of a few child diddlers, a few murderers, and Otis sleeping off a hangover.
     
  5. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    IFI has already shown that it CAN work.

    Like I said, punishment is needed for people who break the law. However, if we don't do something to help them get adjusted to the outside, they'll just go back. There are churches willing to do that already, with little spent in the way of tax dollars, but the courts are starting to kick them out of prisons because they're a government facility.

    Another troubling statistic has to do with the very religion we're fighting against. Thanks to a lot of negative imagery, Christianity is seen too much as a white man's religion, so more and more of the black and hispanic prisoners, rarely exposed to somebody who can really talk to them about it, turn to Islam.

    As for what WJ said, I disagree. I think blacks and hispanics are more likely to commit crime because of an inferior culture that teaches them that crime is cool, not because of genetics. Blacks who live outside the influence of the 'gangsta' culture long enough become just as safe as you and me.
     
  6. pegwinn
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    pegwinn Top of the Food Chain

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    I liken crime in this instance to pregnancy.

    Women of the board please don't take this wrong.

    First you commit the act (decorum prevents me from further description).

    Then you serve a set time (nine months for average)

    But it doesn't end there and to expect it to is foolish.

    The test of character actually comes after the release (birth)

    How you live your life (or raise a child) is up to you and no one else.
     
  7. Hobbit
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    Hobbit Senior Member

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    What about the criminals' victims. Are you willing to dump somebody out on the streets, knowing they'll probably harm somebody else, and chalk it up to 'it's up to them and no one else?' If we can point them in the right direction while they're still in prison, why shouldn't we? After all, I wouldn't want to be the one to explain why we couldn't have a rehabilitation program in prison to a roomful of rapists' second victims.
     
  8. pegwinn
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    pegwinn Top of the Food Chain

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    An excellent point. Problem is that I don't fully believe that violent offenders can be rehabilitated. It takes a certain amount of predatory character to violently assault someone for selfish reasons. I am not one of those that believe you can fundamentally change a persons character. That's why I advocate releasing non-violent convicts and making thier punishment restitution based. The violent need to be locked away in a draconian manner. Let fear of prison be the deterrent. Second offenses are even worse, possibly leading to execution. Since this isn't baseball, three strikes shouldn't be allowed.

    Prison should either be harsh and brutish leading to inmate on inmate terror and a short life (maximum security, life sentences). Alternatively it could be super structured ala boot camp. Work, schools training, ethics and morals classes, etc. Perhaps for juveniles. And of course any crime that causes a death should draw the chair without exception.

    There are some who believe that all violence is a mental aberration. They advocate altering the convicts brain via surgery or drugs. That may be a bit much, but it bears thinking. As you said, second victims.

    IF you or other private citizens wish to fund time and money to helping convicts go for it. It cannot hurt. So long as it doesn't cost the taxpayer any money I wouldn't oppose it. And I don't think the .gov should either.
     
  9. Abbey Normal
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    Abbey Normal Senior Member

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    The way to truly rehabilitate someone is to effect change in their heart, so that they have an innate desire to do good. True and lasting change comes from giving your life over to Christ, a message that many people do not want to hear. If anyone is willing to open their ears and hear, they will hear testimony after testimony of people whose lives have changed for the better by the saving grace of Jesus Christ. But many prefer to live in denial, and continue to wonder why we have so much recidivism even with rehabilitation. :)
     
  10. Jennifer.Bush
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    Jennifer.Bush Member

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    wtf is this besides racism?
     

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