COURTS, EFFICIENCY, AND THE DEMISE OF HUMANITY
Her husband called. He was in jail for armed robbery. He was an addict and desperate. His wife, an addict, had been kidnapped by a group of sex traffickers and rescued by the FBI. However, there was a failure to appear warrant from Ft Collins, and rather than being protected, she was jailed. The initial charge was for introducing contraband into the jail, not intentionally, but because she couldn’t toss it before her arrest, for a disturbance at a motel. She too was an addict. While incarcerated in Ft. Collins, she tried to enter rehab programs, but she was homeless, with a jailed husband, and was held as a material witness for the FBI with a bounty on her by some very bad guys. She had been sold as a teenager, had no High School diploma, suffered from Hepatitis C, Epilepsy, Delayed Stress Syndrome, and other ailments. The District Attorney was tough on crime and prosecuted, not just merely for possession. Rehab programs, all private, wanted payment, which was impossible. After 6 weeks’ confinement, a judge put her on probation. He also added about $2000 in fees. He knew or should have known this was impossible, but, like a good marionette, followed orders. This relieved the judge of any responsibility. Also, as an ex-prosecutor, he knew that addicts were scum, anyway. Everyone at the country club says so.
She tried to stay clean, but, since she was homeless and at the mercy of strangers she met on the street, she relapsed. These same judges are the first to lecture the peasantry about taking responsibility for themselves, even though it has been almost 100 years since scientists discovered that environment was a large factor in creating a criminal. Again, shifting blame away from a corrupt and anonymous system is a good way for the simple mind to ignore humanity. It is easy to apply “the spirit of Capitalism” described by Max Weber in this instance. It goes like this: “God has rewarded me with a fairly good life and money. You are poor and homeless. God is punishing you because you are bad. If God can punish, so can I. Therefore, I don’t have to consider how privatization, and specialization has affected you. Go prostitute yourself for money, drugs, and, most importantly your court costs. You can always find a dumpster to sleep in.” How can this happen? It has been over 50 years since I took my first graduate course in criminology. At that time, there were courses in corrections, counseling, budgeting, support group building, etc. The curricula ended in a Master’s degree in correction. That degree is no longer offered because there are no jobs for such trained people. Since privatization, skilled, trained empathetic people have no place in the Court Supervision system. The probation officer’s job is not to help people and cut recidivism, but to increase the bottom line of corporate profits. Correcting isn’t profitable, is costly and labor intensive. Ignoring problems and applying policy is cheap and easy and has the effect of built in obsolescence, guaranteeing future profits, explaining why a rate that was constant for 40 decades, exponential growth in prison rates from 100, to 450 prisoners per 100,000 persons, since the election of Richard Nixon. The largest private prison system had $1.65 Billion in revenue last year. Essentially, the District Attorneys and Judges have become shills for greedy, profiteering business enterprise. Since officials market fear, this is sold as the cost of a safe society. Complete and utter horseshit!
So, we must ask ourselves. Do we want to continue putting judicial robes on Prosecutors? Is the purpose of the third branch of Government; to punish and benefit corporations, or to benefit society? Should we continue to allow judges to cop out and blame everything on the legislatures, rather than use their inherent supervisory powers to correct things? Should we tolerate officials that promote a police state, or rid ourselves of them. Do we want to continue to train police to murder us or to help us? Do we ignore research, common sense, and justice or demand that justice and betterment of society take priority over profits? Do we hold the corporations liable for the damage they cause by not insisting that they hire trained staff instead of goons, or do we make waterboarding and torture the new norm? Do we make the Attorney Generals of the country personally liable for the murders by police resulting from the police training? Do we want efficiency or do we demand justice? Please let me know.
Fellow citizens aren’t commodities. Citizens don’t exist for the benefit of business or corporations. Profit motive supremacy has no place in a caring society. We Should: Reinstitute Corrections as a career and valid area of study. Re-emphasize fairness instead of efficiency. Make judges seek fairness, not expediency. Don’t go gently into oblivion. Do as Dylan Thomas mandates and “Rage, Rage against the dying of the light.”