Nuggets of Wisdom

Monday, November 9, 2015

Tough On Crime Sends More Ex-Prisoners Back To Jail

Long ago, back when I was more of a “conservative Republican”, I used to think that our justice system was “tough yet fair”, that our law enforcement were dedicated to “protect and serve”, and that our country needed to get more “tough on crime.” But later on, I stumbled upon something very important that helped burst the bubble of my former political worldview: the facts!

Because when you learn that we have the highest prison population in the world, despite decades of violent crime rates declining, and when you realize that cops are quick to “shoot first and f*** asking questions ever” for offenses as minor as jaywalking, then it becomes quite clear that the real problem isn’t with our criminal justice system being too “soft on crime”, but rather, being way too f***ing tough!

I came to realize that our criminal justice system was broken long before John Oliver started covering it on his show, but I do admire how his segments have made many more people aware about how our criminal system is broken beyond belief: from how mandatory minimums sentencing has crowded our prisons, to how bail punishes the poor, to how civil forfeiture allow police to seize property without charging anyone for a crime, and to how small municipal violations can end up putting you in the f*** barrel.

And now, John has come full circle with his latest segment, in which he discusses how life after prison makes it nearly impossible for released prisoners to do anything other than return to prison:

It's not always easy to care about the welfare about ex-prisoners, and some are going to re-offend no matter what you do, but the fact remains over 95 percent of all prisoners will eventually be released, so it is in everyone's interest that we try to give them a better chance of success, because under the current system, if they do manage to overcome all of the obstacles that we have set, it is a minor miracle.
Also, props to John for calling out Bill Clinton and other Democrats, rather than simply scapegoating Republicans, for helping create this mess that is our prison industrial complex through "tough on crime" initiatives. I don’t care if Hillary Clinton claims she wants to put an end to “mass incarceration” when she’s been receiving campaign donations from private prisons who profit from it.