Citizens of the United States of America have rights. Such as the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
When a citizen commits a crime, they do so in trade for some of their rights. In other words, were I to kill someone, I would give up my rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness and depending on the scenario, I could lose my right to life.
This is natural cause and effect. Every action has a consequence. Certain consequences are desirable, others are not. We learn what to do and what not to do based on receiving these consequences. This is a law of the universe. It cannot be changed.
When we do try to change this law of the universe and take away consequences, we damage not only the person to whom those consequences rightly belong, but we also damage our society.
The damage to the person is that they do not learn what they were supposed to.
The damage to society is that the individual will continue to commit crimes because there is no fear of adequate negative consequence. This leads others to see a lack of negative consequence who then are more likely to commit crime as well.
What exactly the adequate consequences are for any particular crime is a topic for another discussion.
The fact that there is are not adequate negative consequences in place for many crimes is obvious by the number of citizens inhabiting prison cells. What we need is to stop thinking that citizens who commit crimes still have all their rights. They commit crime? They lose most of their rights. They commit crime, they owe a great debt to society. A criminal needs reform and they need to be able to make restitution. They need to repay their debt to society.
In other words, we need to bring back work programs to prisons. We need to rip out all the cable and satellite TV from the prisons. We need to make the food less enjoyable and more utilitarian. Nourishment is all the food should provide. College education? Why should a criminal get a college education for free when honest citizens have a hard enough time getting grants and scholarships? The education a criminal should get is through service to the community. Service and hard work is what builds character and is what is missing from society. If they do not learn it in their families or communities, prison must be the next best option for these wayward citizens.
To that end, a friend of mine had an idea. We should put prisoners to work producing electricity. Put a dynamo in every stationary bike and then hook those bikes up to the grid. Every time a prisoner pedals the bike, they produce power. Put them to work pedaling every day. Energy crisis averted!
How about roads? Prisoners used to make roads. Put them back to work making roads!
Jobs that citizens do not want to do? Let the prisoners do them.
Let us put our prisoners to work. Let them repay their debts. Let us not rob them of the valuable negative consequences for their negative actions. Put our prisoners to work! But not for money. Heavens no! Make them work for Restitution.
If negative consequences are adequate, our prisons will stop filling up. Prison used to be a punishment. These days prisons seem to be 5 Star hotels. A prisoner is released and they do whatever they need in order to get back in? Why?! Because prison is not a deterrent! It is a haven!
Please share your comments with me on this topic.