Over two and a half million American children have a parent behind bars? Time for a change?
The only country that incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than we do is North Korea.
Over two and a half million American children have a parent behind bars. A whopping 60 percent of those incarcerated in U.S. prisons are non-violent offenders, many of them in prison for drug charges (overwhelmingly African-Americans).
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Yes it time for change. This is very sad. Children should never have to see their parents behind bars. I am happy to be Canadian and I do know a lot about our justice system. I feel Americans are so quick to punish and after Sept 11th, everyone lost a piece of human faith that day. People escape through drugs and most black men turn to the basketball court or the streets to get by. Gangs and guns need to stop like yesterday! It was father's day one year when Obama was first elected and he was disappointed in the race wars. Just remember his grandmother and mother raised him as a "white" educated man. His father was not in the picture. The state needs to stop this civil unrest and let parents try harder to get it right. Children are the future!
It is time for a change, but not in the system of punishment. You know the saying, "You do the crime, you do the time". If you think it's wrong to imprison people because the children then have only one parent at home, convince the criminals to not be criminals.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. However a part of the cause of the problem (so many people behind bars) may be the definition of "crime", and or the racial bias and or the dire circumstances in which a lot of people have to live.
No one can define a criminal, unless the state decides the fate. This issue is out of control and there are less and less good people in the world today. One mistake can ruin a life, time can give compassion.
The drug war is a big offender on this front. We've got people being locked up for long periods of time over some simple pot - which costs something like 45,000 a year to keep them in jail, by the way.
If the rest of the US followed Washington and Colorado, we'd start seeing surpluses instead of deficits. Washington and Colorado made a KILLING in tax revenue since legalizing for recreational use, instead of SPENDING millions incarcerating the non-violent offenders.
Another aspect of this is that we aren't treating drug abuse as a disease, but a crime. The crime is importation and sales of the illegal substances, the use itself needs to be treated as a disease.
Yes. SIgnificant changes are *long* overdue. "They" say that the correctional system is meant to keep social order, to prevent crime, and keep the general public safe.
What you do when you separate a child from his/her incarcerated parent is create a situation in which parenting becomes virtually impossible. These children have one parent when the other is in prison.
The results are not all encompassing, but can include juvenile delinquency, poor school performance, poor school *attendance*, financial strife, lack of proper supervision even from the free parent who is doing his/her best.
Regarding drug "crimes". I think the only crime left in the drug world is anything to do with distribution, from your international trafficker to your corner dealer. These folks are a danger and burden to society and they wrech lives. They should go to jail.
Users and those found guilty merely of possession (NO MATTER HOW MUCH) who were not caught in the act of selling should not be thrown in jail. Our jails are overpopulated with people who could pay their "societal debt" (whatever the hell that means!) in other ways: community service, fines directed to support drug prevention programs, and mandatory education and/or job placement assistance.
We need to do our very best to keep families intact, and to support those who are struggling. Addiction is a disease, not a crime. You need to treat the addiction, not destroy the family, as both addiction of a parent and inconsistent parental involvement in their children's lives are two risk factors for the CHILDREN picking up on the drug culture and getting caught up in addiction themselves.
And now for my cynical opinion. I don't think jails/prisons were designed to improve society. They are designed to punish. They are an industry that supports thousands of jobs and without these *extra*, nonviolent prisoners to populate these dangerous institutions, the fewer correctional jobs there are. Screw the guards. Screw the cops. Screw the judges. Let's focus on improving the lives of all citizens and stop trying to guarantee a permaneneet separation from the have nots to the haves.
It's time we rethink what we are about as a lawful society, and do the hard work to repair what is broken, instead of continuing to feed both criminal behavior, and the prison system that is truly an industrial complex trying to perpetuate its own existence.
It is time to slay that dragon once and for all.
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