By 2030, nearly one-third of all inmates will be over 55, the ACLU says, and caring for aged prisoners often costs twice as much as caring for younger ones. Some states – New York, California and Connecticut — are confronting the problem, however, with innovative programs meant to improve care and save money. (Maura Ewing, The Marshall Project, 8/27)
Work or Prison? In prison, you spend the majority of your time in an 8×10 cell. At work, you spend most of your time in a 6×8 cubicle. In prison, you get three meals a day. At work, you only get a break for 1 meal and you have to pay for it. In prison, you get time off for good behavior. At work, you get rewarded for good behavior with more work. In prison, a guard locks and unlocks all the doors for you. At work, you must carry around a security card and unlock and open all the doors yourself. In prison, you can watch TV and play games. At work, you get fired for watching TV and playing games. In prison, you get your own toilet. At work, you have to share. In prison, they allow your family and friends to visit. At work, you cannot even speak to your family and friends. In prison, all expenses are paid by taxpayers with no work required. At work, you get to pay all the expenses to go to work and then they deduct taxes from your salary to pay for prisoners.
In prison, there are wardens who are often sadistic. At work, they are called managers.
California governor Jerry Brown once said that the trouble with prison is that it punishes and does not rehabilitate (Should it not do both?). We have more prisoners than any other civilized country. The United States has 698 prisoners per 100,000 population, Germany has 78, Israel has 240, and France has 100.
Perhaps we should we give the judges and courts more leeway and avoid mandatory sentences?
People sentenced to mandatory sentence. Was this justified?
- Weldon Angelos – 55 years for possessing a handgun while he sold $350 worth of marijuana to a police informant on three separate occasions
- Leandro Andrade – 50 years without parole for theft of nine video tapes
- Morton Berger – 200 years without probation, parole or pardon for twenty counts of sexual exploitation of a minor; each count represented a separate child pornography image he had possessed
- Genarlow Wilson – 10 years for aggravated child molestation; released in 2007 after serving four years because the courts decided his sentence was disproportionate to the actual facts of the crime
- Chantal McCorkle – 24 years for fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud; sentence subsequently reduced to 18 years on appeal
- Richard Paey – 25 years for 15 counts of drug trafficking and other charges including fraud; granted a pardon in 2007 after serving three and a half years due to the circumstances of his drug use
- Timothy L. Tyler – Life in prison for possessing 13 sheets of LSD.