Justice - A Dying Ideal

Justice in our country is becoming a dying ideal. Let us consider for a moment the current issues in regards to crime facing our nation. Our prisons are over crowded. The largest segment of prison populations are nonviolent drug offenders. In contrast, our streets are full of extremely violent gangs of youths. Many of these young criminals commit heinous acts upon strangers just because it is required by the gang they want into. While I do believe in trying to save the youth of America, and I am all for second chances for them, I seriously question a system that allows such acts to continue. Often a younger violent criminal will be convicted of numerous crimes and be released into society again and again because of his/her age. Sadder still is the fact that for large numbers of this group sentences landing them in juvenile halls are displayed proudly as some form of a sick badge.

Next let us briefly examine the idea of equity in justice. How many of us know of some rich person who has gotten out of jail time for a crime the rest of us would have been incarcerated for? I can think of several instances but allow me to detail just one…

A teenager, driving a brand new spanking corvette, at speeds of over 110 miles an hour, down a busy highway in broad daylight struck and killed a teenage pedestrian. Obviously this guy’s parents were loaded otherwise how would he be driving a vet right? Get this… The kid walked from all charges by the time it was over. Oh and by the way the kid had been drinking and was 17. His victim was also 17 but was stone cold sober. His parents unfortunately were not well off.

Now lets consider the case of an 18 year old boy in the deep south, Arkansas I think it was. He was caught in possession of drugs, i.e. marijuana and ended up with a sentence of over 25 years in prison. It was not a large amount of the drug and he was not selling it, only smoking it. Do you think he came from a wealthy family? I think not, not because he broke the law, that knows no seriocomic boundaries, but because his sentence was of such a great length.

If we look at both cases together something becomes glaringly obvious. Money and social status carry too much weight in our court system. The kid that gets off killed someone. The kid that goes to prison hurt only himself and his family, if anyone.

Now let us take a critical look at another more high power case. For example, how about the Enron mess? This guy gets convicted sure. But where does he land and for how long? A cushy Federal penitentiary complete with amenities better than some dive hotels. He, in effect, robbed the life savings of millions of Americans hurting countless families for decades to come but a kid in Arkansas gets a harsher penalty for smoking a joint. And people ask “what’s wrong with America?”



Justice is a hard working lass

but seldom does she really pass.

Oh sure, torts and contracts,

matters of money she extracts.


She fails miserably however, to deliver

when it comes to what makes us truly bitter,

acts that rob the very soul,

acts that leave one no longer whole.


No matter how hard she tries,

she can't bring back lives.

She can't return innocence lost.

No one can repay that cost.


Will she ever be able

to really balance the tables?

In the worst crimes committed,

criminals always seem acquitted.


So she tries anew every day

hoping somehow to repay

the hope and faith now placed

in her where an ideal is encased.


Each day when the court is adjourned

inside her heart is freshly burned

for she knows she is loosing ground.

The system spins crime round.


As each morn dawns she wakes on the brink

but at night is when she slowly shrinks.

At this rate soon she will cease to be…

ending up just an idyllic memory.



Rhonda Enrayne

© 8-6-10

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Comments 19 comments

Inkwell780 6 years ago

Poetvix, I love the saying "Dying ideal" it is part Alliteration and part anagram/rhme. Clever for sure! I can think of many Athletes that got off far too easy. It is a shame it seems our "Gov't" has not learned from Prohibition. Many died from poison alcohol and people like Al Capone got rich. Let us face it Prohibition ruins lives with no appreciable affect. Great Write Muse! Sincerely Matt. You are the Hub Master LOL!

poetvix profile image

poetvix 6 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

Thanks bunches Matt... you really are a dedicated reader/follower. I'm no where near a hub master... but I am working on it :).

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

I've written an "Injustice" hub too. "They", the putrid beings that run the "injustice" system are proud of their "mess". They adore and love their "injustice system". This is another problem with this country and another thing our leaders who don't lead will not fix. Money talks. Want to appeal for less time in prison, less fines to pay, want to commit murder and get away with it? Hire the best lawyer you can. It's best to bring cash. Nope- the "leaders who don't lead" will never fix this. This is a judge's and a lawyer's ATM machine. Justice has nothing to do with this disorganization.

The most nauseating thing about our "injustice system" is that a judge is called your honor??? Yes sir, your honor!

If a person searched for "the wrongly charged, wrongly imprisoned, and wrongly put to death, only for the history of the United States, the search will and cannot- EVER END! This US injustice system does not work and it never did. There is no argument against what I'm saying that could stand up.

poetvix profile image

poetvix 6 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

I am not about to argue w/ you... You are right and the vast majority of America knows it. That leads us to the following guestions...

First, why do we put up with it?

Second, how are we going to change it?

Third, not a question, but, it must change!

Fourth, just what will it take to spur us to action?

Fifth, have we become so apathetic, so desensitised as to be numb to such horrors, such mockeries of what we know to be right?

Sixth and last, how many more will plunder and pillage our nation under the guise of corporate need or political power before we finally rise up?

Here endeth my current rant... for now.

logic,commonsense 6 years ago

Justice has been corrupted by emotion and money.

It will only change when we stand up and say no more.

When have the courage to self sacrifice. Not until.

Thank you for bringing this up! We need more voices so that the chorus becomes so loud that it will be difficult to drowned out!

poetvix profile image

poetvix 6 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

Logic, thank you for stopping by.

I agree, it is past time for Americans to stand up. To me, it seems as if courage has become replaced by apathy, morality by instant gratification and ingenuity by complacency.

Every day our situation gets a little more tenuous... How long before it is too late?

Allan Douglas profile image

Allan Douglas 6 years ago from Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Perhaps it's coincidence that I read these two hubs in this order, but it seems to me that the internet presents us with so much news of so many atrocities that we've become jaded to it. Things rarely shock us any more, thus we become apathetic. I do agree that the well-off can buy their way out of a situation that would land you or I in prision. I have seen it happen with my own eyes.

Another good one. I'm going to have to stop now otr I won't sleep at all tonight for all this THINKING! ;-)

poetvix profile image

poetvix 6 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

I have to agree with your thoughts about the net flooding us with so much information and news we become "jaded and apathetic". It makes me wonder though, could not we be just as flooded with things that made us happy, or smarter, or more thoughtful? Since not only is the net flooded with "bad news" but also porn (yea I said it, its true ya know), why isn't it flooded with other more constructive things? Is it because people think they would not get as many hits on search engines? Or that they would not make companies as much money? Or perhaps is it that there is a larger purpose, a driving force if you will that wants us "jaded and apathetic". I don't know, but I do know I don't much believe in chance so there has to be a reason... hmmmmm...looks like I will the one up all night thinking!!! :)

Thanks for reading Allen!

Allan Douglas profile image

Allan Douglas 6 years ago from Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

That's true, poetvix, and there is some good stuff on the net, you just have to dig for it. I think the question is; is there so much more bad stuff because that's what people are pushing or because that's what people want? Television programming is the same. There's a lot of mindless drivel on the tube, is that because that's all that's being offered or because that's what gets the ratings?

I took a psych class once and we studied how the human being tends to be negative by nature. We'd rather complain than praise, we'd rather criticize than congratulate. It takes actual effort to avoid these tendencies and keep an up-beat attitude.

Why is that? Why are so many people so unhappy that they want to beat everything down?

poetvix profile image

poetvix 6 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

Allen, I see the point in what you are saying, and as a behavioral science major, I agree, but only to a point.

The Humanist school of thought would argue the opposite.

But yes, largely, as a collective, humans tend to go to the negative. Personally though I feel this is learned behavior. Then again, I am a behaviorist at heart.

Upon further relection, maybe you really are on to more than I first thought here. If your contention is correct that people are inherently driven to lean toward the negative, that would explain the downward spiral of violence and appathy w/in our society and it is just getting worse.

I look at said spiral from a system approach seeing one sufferring system affecting all systems it interacts with and ripples going out exponentially from there. But, if as you say we are prewired to go toward negativiy anyway, a combination of bad circumstances, suffering systems and genetics is just the brew to really put us all in a very bad way.

Allan Douglas profile image

Allan Douglas 6 years ago from Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

A study of history - as far back as biblical times - tends to paint people as moaning and complaining about their circumstances. Even when given the most amazing gifts, they are quickly forgotten. Personnel management classes quoted studies showing that a pay raise increasses employee morale for about 5 weeks, then they go back to complaining about not getting paid enough. Verbal praise from their superiors, however, tends to raise morale for a significantly longer period.

Perhaps society just doesn't get enough recognition for doing well, so we become defeatist. Perhaps instead of throwing minor criminals in jail to learn more bad habits we should be sending them to positive thinking seminars!

poetvix profile image

poetvix 6 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

O.k. gotta say, really liking the idea of pumping the positive into minor criminals. I think it would really help especially in the case of the younger ones.

I have to wonder though if the thing about negativity through history is really true or just what was recorded?

Beautiful things go on everyday around us. The sun comes up, flowers bloom, children are born, the guy down the street smiles... is maybe that we just take it all for granted? Is it possible that the negative gets so much attention because we inherently know situations causeing it are so wrong that we fixate upon them in an effort to find a way to change them or maybe think we can talk the situation away? I guess a good example might be the current trend of "raising public awareness" about issues some feel are in need of change. Is this not what has been done all along throughout time? Of course such a process what not labeled as such historically but the idea of the more people that know the more likely change will happen is the same.

Allan Douglas profile image

Allan Douglas 6 years ago from Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Ahhh... you're probably right about that. the news services report to us how many planes crashed this month, but never say a word about how many made it safely to their destination. Perhaps if people started taking more of an interest in noticing the good stuff going on, the news suppliers would follow the trend. Instead of griping about what's wrong all the time, praise what is right. Or at least instead of screaming "this is wrong!" say "this is how it could be better." Of course that would mean that people would actaully have to have solutions before pointing to problems.

I'm afraid this puddle has gotten too deep for me, I lack the higher education to speak authoritatively on any of this. And opinions are like belly buttons; everyone has one, but some are more worthy of public exhibition than others.

But I have always supported the initiative of "Find the good and praise it." I thank you for the thought provoking discussion and the excellent hub.

P.S. You might want to check out my hub "A Twist of Fate" when you have a moment; it is a true-life experience with just this sort of thing. Oh, I'm sorry it's not here on Hub pages. I don't know if this is legal, but here is the URL:


The powers that be can slap me around if I've broken the rules.

poetvix profile image

poetvix 6 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author


Thank you again for coming back. I feel you are more than qualified to express your opinions on the issues.

I do not know about the rules for posting links, but I do know I am very glad you did. I have just left your blog and the story was moving. The irony contained w/in it is not inconsiderable, but it pales in comparision with the compassion shown for someone whom justice could have been so much harsher on. I admire your forgiving nature. The ending was truly a message of hope. It's a shame more young men are not afforded the mercy and second change you helped this young man get. Perhaps this is the heart of what justice is all about...not so much punishment for those who are truly sorry, but a chance at something better... mercy tempered with understanding and guidance.

Allan Douglas profile image

Allan Douglas 6 years ago from Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

Thank you, poetvix, for your very kind review.

I do beleive that "justice" needs to be more than simply locking up rule breakers. The Wisconsin State Police tried a program for a while whereby they would take note of random vehicles who passed through speed traps at or below the speed limit (without leaving skid marks to get there) and sent them a "citation" noting that they had been observed being a good citizen and thanking them for their civic concern. It did not have the impact they had hoped for and it was coverted to sending Safety Citations to motorists who did not have speeding tickets or any accidents for so many years. Every couple of years you would get an updated certificate. That seemed to work pretty well. I knew quite a few people who were trying for the next certificate. Bragging rights were worth more than getting there a few minutes faster. Or maybe it was the insurance rate reduction...

I like the idea of rewarding (or at least recognizing) proper bahavior more than trying to control behavior though the threat of punishment. It seems people too often take the attitude of "It's only wrong if I get caught and I'm so clever I won't get caught."

I know we can't tear down all the jails, but maybe more positive reinfocement would prove useful in the long run.

poetvix profile image

poetvix 6 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

Allen, I could not agree more. To me, the most harsh negative consequence would have to be the death penalty and it has been proven not to deter crime.

A little praise goes a long way. Maybe I am too optamistic, but I think people want to do and be good but sometimes loose their way, sometimes loose hope. I think, I hope, that is true and if it is then giving a little encouragement and hope to others can't hurt but can only help.

I am very sorry it took me two days to respond to your comment. I was not aware it was here. Either I missed the email from the Hub that normally notifies me of such or I just went brain dead. Can't be sure which as it's been one heck of a work week and I have had very little sleep. I value your comments and insights.

Allan Douglas profile image

Allan Douglas 6 years ago from Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

No problem Vix, I'm not offended at all. In fact I would hope that HubPages is not the center of your entire life. Therefore, Life may demand your attention for a while. I'm cool with that.

Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

I'm a little late to this hub..just found it. :(

I was reading the comments about humans being geared toward negativity...nah, don't really believe that in a literal sense. We teach our children right from birth to be negative. Think about this:

Babies can only communicate through crying (complaining). They learn that to ease their discomfort, all they've got to do is cry loud enough and long enough. It will definitely produce results. Now, obviously, we need to be attentive to an infant's discomfort, but how often does one stop and spend extensive amounts of time praising our babies for their pleasant moods and behaviors? While plenty of us truly enjoy our children, especially when they are happy and contented, during those earlier years, parents tend to take advantage of the peaceful times because it may be the only chance to read that book, or watch that TV show, or get a much needed rest.

When people complain, they are communicating a discomfort, just as they did from day one. Only now, they aren't just looking for a dry diaper or a little something in their tummies, and probably aren't feeling a tad lonely. But the reason is pretty much the same...they are uncomfortable and they want someone to comfort them and make the misery go away. Let's face it, making noise truly gets results. They may not be positive results, but at least it gains attention. Once that's achieved, then there's the hope that someone with the means will provide comfort.

Our country is now filled with those who have been taken from infancy into adulthood with the false notion that someone else should do something about their discomfort. We've reached a point where we've given each new generation an even bigger sense of entitlement and now, very few people are able to see their own culpability in their dire circumstances. They are still looking around them for the culprits who have made living their lives so damn uncomfortable. I'm not so sure it's as much apathy as a belief that the issues are not their personal responsibility to take action.

Good Hub!

poetvix profile image

poetvix 5 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country. Author

Terri ~ You make a well thought out argument here. We, as a society, have certainly over time made each generation less and less accountable for their actions when they are young. It has gone so far to that extreme now that often juveniles are not even charged with crime because it's "not worth the paperwork".

I work with teens and have heard that from police officers more times than I can say. Further, I have seen teens go from bad behavior to way worse quickly as a direct result. The saddest part to me is that all of a sudden one day they are grown and held accountable in a legal sense. They are always shocked no matter how many times in the past they were told they one day would be. They can't understand it and the reason why is because we, the adults, have conditioned them to believe they are not responsible through never holding them as such. I have to wonder how many young people are in the penal system now as a result of this view?

As you say though, it's in the growing philosophy of entitlement too. Whatever happened to the idea that success comes from dedication and hard work? When did it become replaced by the idea it is a right, that it is owed to all?

If our country really was built on the ideals of independence, hard work and perseverance, God help us all for the current ideals are the very opposite and shall inevitably lead to our ultimate destruction from within.

Thank you for your thought provoking comments. Happy hubbing!

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