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How "I" Couild Have Made Convicts More Self-Respecting

Updated on April 21, 2014

One of the most-notable convicts

Charles Manson, doing life in prison for the murders of Sharon Tate and her unborn baby and others.
Charles Manson, doing life in prison for the murders of Sharon Tate and her unborn baby and others.

A short introduction

is really all that I need to head-up this story.

They were once called, "Chain Gangs," "Road Gangs," "Men in Stripes," and other derogatory names. They were the ones our courts found guilty of their sometimes-petty crimes, but thanks to their skin color, they were shipped to a work camp and put to doing hard labor--day in and day out.

Sure, convicts of any color deserved punishment for committing crimes, but the penal system from the 1930's to the late 1950's were more abuse and torture than it was paying for crimes.

And sure, they were criminals, but by the same leg irons, they were also human.

The "boss man," or guard, watches these convicts closely to make sure they are not slacking.
The "boss man," or guard, watches these convicts closely to make sure they are not slacking.
Convicts doing tough road work.
Convicts doing tough road work.
No one dare slow down or be cursed and beaten with a bullwhip
No one dare slow down or be cursed and beaten with a bullwhip
Digging ditches were often dug by convicts from work camps.
Digging ditches were often dug by convicts from work camps.
Upgraded convicts. Society called these poor souls, a "street department"
Upgraded convicts. Society called these poor souls, a "street department"

One thing I know

If "I" had been around in these era's, I might have saved some of these poor souls who threw their lives away on criminal acts, by letting them read . . .

How "I" Could Have Helped Convicts HaveI More Self-Respect"

  • I would have found these guys a good job (prior to their arrests) so they could have self-esteem and a man with self-esteem (in those days) thought twice before he stole a pig or robbed a widow woman of five-dollars.
  • I would have taken a few of these men and out of my own funds, bought them better clothing, shoes, and made sure they were given a shave and a bath. Then I would present them to someone who could have given them decent work.
  • I would have rented the local community center (if one were available) and teach these future-convicts the proper way to walk, talk, act, and interface with people. Then with this transformation, do you think they would be tempted to commit crime?
  • I could have given them a better way to act in pubic besides looking down at their shoes. I hate to see people with no self-esteem. So I would motivate these men by speaking positive things into their minds to help them wallk like men.

Some of my ideas might be thought of as
radical, but what effort is not a move in the right direction when it involves making a convict of long ago feel good about himself and a part of a productive society.

So, some more of my ideas to help rebuild the convicts are

  1. Giving the convicts some really nice clothes. Silk suits, pleated pants, designer shirts, what a change from those old sriped clothes they were made to wear when they were working like fools or just sitting exhausted in their bunk houses.
  2. I would make sure that the older convicts had superb medical attention. These guys were not dogs or indispensable parts of a progressive society.
  3. Entertainment would be at the top of my list for the convicts who did good or didn't know enough to dig a ditch. I would have "Movie Night" every Tuesday and Thursday nights with a projector shipped into my office and even provide the convicts with cold beer, popcorn and candy.
  4. Calls to their families would be on my list for rebuilding the convict. The lack of human-contact does not help rehabilitate a convict. It only makes him more depressed.
  5. The convict with the less reports of mistakes during their sentences would drive home a new Chevy courtesy of me. What an incentive to do right.
  6. I would have the area pastors come by on Saturday mornings and deliver a mild sermon to these men who have souls that need to hear about Jesus the same as you and I.
  7. No more chains on the ankles or wrists. I would build trust with the convicts and if one tried to escape, I would not have him shot or punished, but be forced to read all of my stories I have written on HubPages since joining four years ago. The convict would literally be screaming to let him go back to the work on the highway.
  8. Seriously, if one convict did escape, I would have him take eight-weeks of verbal reinforcing to his psychological outlook. Putting him in some "hot house" or tying him to a post in the hot sun would not do any good at all.

Do you think that my ideas would have worked on the convicts?

See results
Is this any way for a human being who has made a mistake to be treated? I say no.
Is this any way for a human being who has made a mistake to be treated? I say no.


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Dear Sheila,

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, and I do agree with you on us being compassionate on convicts before they are convicts--say when they are young and arrested for a first-offense.

      Show them we care then, and give the deserving a break, but no breaks after that.

      I am like you. A lot of convicts deserve a break, but not all. Those like Manson and I do not wan to get riled up.

      Have a great night or day.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I laughed at your punishment being making them read your hubs, but that wouldn't really be a punishment because you're hubs are some of the best here at HP. I do agree the best way to lower the prison population is to reach out to these people before they become criminals. Sometimes all it takes to turn people around is to show them someone does care about them.


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