Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Texas is Running Out of Prison Cells – Again


I was listening to a news blurb while driving on the way to a job. It came down the fact that there are so many people in our Texas Prison System that there is no room for new offenders. There was some comment regarding what kind of tax increase would be needed to build more prisons or if there would be some relief created with some early parole of the less violent prisoners.

Ben Danmytt, wrote an article about "Tolerance" back on November 17, 2004 and brought up something interesting,

”In 2002 Oregon was struggling with their budget, not enough money for schools nor enough for prison. The great Oregon legislators came up with a brilliant plan to solve this. In the voters pamphlet for that year I read something that still shocks me today. They called it a temporay income tax increase. The Oregon legislators thought (wrongly) that the people of the state would vote for this tax to save their schools even though they had wasted all the moneys we had already given them. However, just as a side bar to help ensure the voters voted "Yes" they added a threat: should this temporay tax not be passed the drastic cuts that would have to be made would force them (the OR gov.) to release 1400 prisoners that they could no longer afford to imprison. Naturally the already highly taxed citizens wouldn't hear of another tax hike, temporary or not. So when it came time to vote the measure failed as did our trust in the government when they came through on thier threat to release the prisoners they promised. The kicker here is the criminals they put back on the streets not the harmless but stupid pot heads, but hardened, violent criminals including rapest and child molesters. It gets better, and more horrorfing, the people of my home state tolerated this.”

I have a better idea; actually its not my idea at all, read about it a while back. There was some place, here in the good ole’ USA, where they had a similar problem. Rather than raise taxes and further burden the citizens this one fellow, I think it was a county sheriff, decided that it would be very inexpensive to start housing the inmate populaiton in tents. There would be a secured perimeter just as with a standard prison with walls except that the cells would cost a mere fraction of what brick and cement walls cost. There would be, needless to say, a much more limited comfort zone for prisonersl; but no more so than what our Soldiers have to put up with. I know, the ACLU, is chomping at the bit to have a “prisoner’s rights” case. I say let’s throw them a bone.

Ten extra credit points to the first blogger to come up with the sheriff’s name and the original news story I couldn’t find.

It might take all of a month or two tops, to set aside some area for tents and port-a-johns, put up some tents with cots or sleeping bags, fill up the moat with hungry crocks … you get the picture. Think how much money would be saved if the prisoners had to sew their own tents and sleeping bags before they were able to enjoy the safety those items provide from the elements. Our Soldiers have to endure the elements with a lot more danger involved; why should prisoners be permitted to have “work out areas”, “entertainment systems” and all the comforts of home?

After putting all the prisoners into tents, that would leave the prisons free to use for something better. Maybe the taxpayers would be happier if those prisons were turned into public schools. It would give the students a better comprehension of the choices in front of them and at the same time get the most bang for the buck. The homeless who live under bridges or behind the 7 -11 stores could be sheltered in the evening and at night to make even more use of the same buildings.

1 comment:

Gil said...

I really like that tent idea. I'm all for making inmates as uncomfortable as possible. Kinda like the Russian prisons, but not as cold and miserable.

The state where I live is trying to pull that same stunt. They're supposed to release a few hundred prisoners in a few months. The governor is a democrat(of course) and when these prisoners get back on the streets they'll end up in the neighborhoods that elected her. They get what they deserve.