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Prison Points of View: The Prisons

The Prisons are Overflowing

Why are so many people in prison in the USA? How is it that the land of the free has become home to the most prisoners in the world? When did the inalienable god-given rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness get alienated?

 30 years ago my mother said that we lived in a nation of outlaws. I was intrigued. I was 16 and had visions of Robin Hood and Pirate Coves filling my imagination. She explained, ruining the fantasy, that we are all outlaws because our country has made everything illegal. Therefore, everyone is breaking some law or another every day. Not intentionally, but just because everything has so regulated and legislated that a person can’t help it.

That’s the problem I’ll get into here. Control issues. We all know someone with unhealthy control issues. Some examples include the spiteful and nagging wife, the brutal abusive husband, the sadistic cop, the domineering judge who needs absolute power over his courtroom, the neighbor who just will not let you have your Saturday afternoon get together, the religious zealot who refuses to accept me and my gay partner. Of course, the issue now becomes more complicated because we live in a democracy and everyone, in theory, has a say. If you are in the majority then your say has more influence than if you were in the minority.  These “majority” and “minority” groups are not based on race or politics, but on ethics and morality.  

Do you want to wear a seatbelt? Should marijuana be legal? What do you consider to be decent or indecent? These questions and many more are simply personal preferences. They are not aligned with either political party. White, gay Democrats, black, hetero Republicans, Latino celibate, Independents. Mix it up however you like. Some like to smoke pot. Some want to wear seatbelts. Some don’t.  It’s impossible to predict a person’s preference without actually knowing that person. To believe otherwise is the very definition of prejudice.  

The point here is that we, as a country, have developed a system where one person’s morality is able to be passed into law and now becomes everyone’s morality, or you become an outlaw if you disagree and disobey. It could be argued, that since we do live in a democracy, we need to follow the rule of the “majority.” This would be true, except it’s not the majority making decisions; it’s the influential. On top of that, why should what you and I do be dictated by what someone 500 miles away thinks or feels? We will never meet them. They don’t know us. We have no effect on their lives. There is no common ground. No reason why what they think should dictate what we do, except of course power and control. 

Now the government, be it Republican or Democrat, is in the business of self-perpetuation. Keeping themselves in power. You can’t get rid of them. All voting will ever do is decide who sits in the chair. Once installed, the chair will never go away. Submit a bill to your local legislator asking him to get rid of three-quarters of all legislators. See how that goes.  Oh, you’re going to vote against them or you won’t vote for him at the next election? So what? That chair will still be there and someone will be sitting in it. The easiest way for an organization like our government to ensure its continuation is to make itself indispensable. 

Our government has, like Nazi Germany, come up with a crafty plan. They have created a national emergency, a threat to our very way of life, to the safety of our families, and our wives are children. What is it? Criminals, drug dealers, sex offenders, gang members, thieves, and the list goes on. How can you be made safe? What is the government’s way, the only way to deal with those threats? More police, more prosecutors, more laws, and more prisons.  

Why not, by changing the laws, decriminalizing things, building a real mental health system, or by loosening the stranglehold on our people? Maybe more public offenders to balance the additional prosecutors? No, not that! Why do those criminals need their rights to be defended? If the government points its finger at the “monster” and shouts loud enough, you will not see the man behind the curtain. You will not see how the government has doubled down and locked itself into position.  You blissfully accept your need for them. 

Now in order to keep the charade going, it requires a team effort.  Often it is an uncoordinated effort. You will notice that neither side of the political Arena ever talks about actually getting rid of the chairs. The Democrats want to defund the police. President Trump, the “Law & Order President,” heads the small-government party. Neither will even talk about getting rid a seat in Congress. The IRS, the DEA, the FBI, they can’t. It would diminish their power and their ability to maintain it.

Given my views, one might think that I would support the Democrats’ defunding idea. Ultimately, I don’t, because I believe in law and order; but I think we can do it without a police force or a Prosecutor’s Office. It would require putting Justice back into the hands of the people. Getting rid of the police without empowering citizens to defend their lives, property, and rights, simply creates victims.  If locks only keep honest people out, the laws only keep citizens in line. 

Additionally, any law that imposes one person’s will on another should be abolished. Live and let live. I have no right to tell you what you can and cannot do in your own home, in your own life. You have no right to tell me. It’s sick to think otherwise.  There needs to be a complete abolition of prisons. They serve no purpose, but to keep the government and its bureaucracy in business. Prisons are nothing but a petri dish of dysfunction. Worse, the petri dish is a huge financial burden on law-abiding citizens.  

If everybody stopped living in such a detached and clinical (sociopathic) way and invested their actual time, effort, and money directly into communities, 80% of our land’s troubles will go away. Instead of paying a nanny (the government) to take care of our kids (our community), we send a gift at Christmas or on their birthday (taxes, celebrating the fourth, etc…) we focus on our careers, our work, ourselves and wonder why our kids (our country) is so messed up. 

Gregory LaVallee

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