I think just about everybody has heard about prison overcrowding at some point. Generally, communities aren't very willing to pay for more prisons.  After all, that is money that could be going to schools, roads, or community centers.  In my state, the solution they have come up with is to try to get the inmates back on the streets as soon as possible.  That can be a good thing when you are talking about some of these guys that made a stupid mistake but are generally a pretty good citizen.  Keeping them here longer than necessary can actually be a bad thing.

However, it seems to be happening more and more that the dangerous ones are let out too early.  We have had multiple guys being released early lately that immediately went out and murdered people.  One in particular shot two police officers and a K-9.  It seems to be these guys getting out more than the harmless guys.

Personally, I think if they have gang affiliation, that should be a HUGE red flag.  If they have murdered before and seriously harmed someone, especially a police officer, that should be something that would almost guarantee they don't get out early. There are so many cases that I have seen that should be obvious that that particular inmate is a serious threat to society still yet they let them out any way.  They are so desperate for room.

Some would say to start by caring for the kids before they turn into criminals.  I agree.  However, what do we do until then?  How do we have room to house prisoners while trying to get our numbers down?  It all seems to come down to money and as I stated before, who wants to give more money to prisons when it could go elsewhere?  After all, most of these guys (about 97%) will be getting out someday and will become our neighbors.  How they are treated effects how they will treat us when they get  out.  So, what is the answer?  Will we ever find it?  This is a discussion we need to have, yet rarely talked about but things will not get better until it is.

Mass Move

It is funny how sometimes you use the lingo without thinking about what it means to someone that doesn't know the lingo. One of our officers brought a relative for a tour and they were explaining that they were going to wait until mass move was finished before they began the tour. She asked, "What is mass move? Is that like where you make everybody get up and exercise?"

I hadn't ever thought of it that way but I guess that is what it sounds like. But no, mass move is when anyone in general population (not maximum security) is allowed to go from one place to another (i.e. from their cell to recreation or class).

It's called prison for a reason

I was working in medical the other day and had three inmates being housed there.  One in particular seemed to think I was there to wait on him hand and foot.  He kept calling for me or pushing his button that sets off an alarm (nobody ever uses that thing!) and insisting I come immediately no matter what I was doing at the time.  He would call me for every little thing.  One of the times, he wanted me to let him out of his cell to wonder around the area.  I explained that that was something I could not do.  He became very angry and said he was tired of sitting in his cell.  All I could think was well, ya.  It's not a hotel.  It is called prison for a reason.  You made terrible choices that got you here and now you have to deal with the consequences.

When I told him again that I wasn't going to let him out, he said he was going to break out and began hitting his head against the window.  These are windows in prison.  They are meant to take a beating and still not break.  He eventually figured out that the only thing he was accomplishing was giving himself a headache.

He continued to whine and cry all night, including about a headache, but he no longer insisted I let him out.  He obviously isn't the brightest light bulb in the bunch but at least he figured that much out.  Some never do.

Would you hire a convict?

If you owned a business or were in charge of the hiring at a business, would you hire a convict?  Most people would say no, absolutely no way.  Why would you risk it?  You know they can't be trusted and you would have to watch your back.

Would it help to know that they were someone you needed to watch vs someone that may not have ever been convicted of any crime but is far dirtier than the convict himself.  Would it help if it was a convict with a family that was set on making things right and caring for his family and just needed a chance?  If nobody is willing to hire him, how is he expected to be a decent citizen?

Would you hire on if you received a tax break?  Many states give employers tax credits if they hire a convict within a year of their release.

A study in Texas compared convict employees and regular employees found that a convict was more likely to stay longer and be more grateful for their employment vs the regular employee.  Would that make a difference to you?

Would his charge determine whether or not you were willing to hire him?  What if his charge was related to smoking marijuana vs murder?  Would you hire a sex offender?

This is a debate many businesses deal with daily.  There are some very supportive businesses out in our area that hire more convicts than anyone else.  They pay less but they also run the risk of loosing business if customers know they hire convicts.

What conditions would you like to see in order to hire a convict, or would you ever even consider it?  What are your thoughts on the subject?