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economic justice | prisons & prisoners

Prisons right or Wrong?

Portland youth builders classroom report on our prisons and the issues surrounding them
Dear Mr. Politician,
What is a tool? Something a person uses to accomplish a task, duty or job. It's a proven fact that prisons are used as tools to help rehabilitate America's criminal population. And I say America because its also a proven fact that more prisons, over the last ten years, have been built all across this good old U.S of A. And the big question is are these prisons, these tools actually doing there job? Lets see here, rehabilitate means to conform or to learn, right? To rehabilitate a criminal would mean to make him fit into society and the economy. Is that happening? Of course not, in fact most convicts that come out of prison turn to even more severe crimes, and that's simply because of the way its run. And the final question, so if we as taxpayers as United States citizens are literally throwing are money away on this obviously useless tool, why is it still there? And there's a million answers to this particular question but lets just say many don't have the nicest of outcomes.
America is the land of the free. A land and culture full of diversity and over all pride. Freedom you can almost smell in the air. So if we are so free why did so many slaves, people without freedom, get forced over here to our great free land? In this situation freedom really means nothing but anger and murderous hate. You can just look at these last hundreds of years that brought us forth to this point in time, and see the skeletons upon skeletons that were either murdered or just plain broken by the freedom we find so much pride in. And in fact in many ways slavery does still exist to this day. What exactly do prisons have prisoners do in our spanning system of jails? Well for one Microsoft has been known to go to prisons to have their inmates package and produce some of their software in order to save a few bucks out of their already almost overflowing wallets and accounts. And that only increased the unemployment rate, sure it could have helped out the economy a little, but the overall out come is, to sum it up, tragic. And to make matters worse the majority of people in prisons are black, and uneducated. So basically all the filthy greedy rich out there and their power and the continuing fall in funding to education could very well put our kids or, if we're lucky, our kids' kids in prison, just because of where they were born.
Power and education what do these two words mean to you? Well let's analyze this briefly. Power how does someone come to power? Hmm, lets see here, they go through basic school and if they're lucky they move on to college to get their degree or B.A, you know something like that. After all that they get that dream job with that dream life. Seems easy enough right? You just have to go through life and get that one piece of paper. Its funny to, how much power you receive in that little sheet of paper, that paper almost determines if a person in this world will live or die. So if all this power comes from education, and it's in any true persons interest and duty as a true human being to equally divide it up. Then why are we cutting back our funding to our schools? As I see it its only a way to keep the powerful in power. To maintain this godlike status of some rich family that's put together like an ancient dynasty straight out of China.
Which brings me back to prisons. Education, or lack of, is a big part of the whole prison industry. It's a fact that fifty percent of prisoners are uneducated or illiterate. And as much as it might be they're own fault, you can't help but wonder how they got in there. Maybe it was all the budget cuts on our schools. I mean sure someone might drop out of school either because of their juvenile record or just the simple anger someone can feel on a day to day basis. Then they get forced into a life of crime, basically because they have nowhere to direct this anger. I mean how many big well paying corporate business' hire someone without a GED or diploma, and for that matter how many people actually hire someone with just that. And in fact many poor or under privileged students have no choice but to take that food service job down the street due to all these budget cuts. And all the money that could be helping these Americans out is spent on the military or the prisons that these lost souls are sent into. So what's that mean you have to kill someone to actually have some money spent on you. How smart is that hey maybe if you kill enough people you get a scholarship, 100 for 1,000. Yeah lets fall back on the good old point system
We all know that every person across this country wants to live the easy life. From the East Coast to the West Coast every warm body wants to own that nice big house, sit back with their color TV's and watch cable. They want to have decent clean running water, that one dream car of theirs, and maybe something as meaningless as swimming pool. Everyone around the world wants to live like this. People don't starve because they want to, just like starving hungry people don't steal or murder unless they have too. And sure you can run into the regular shoplifter or thief that really doesn't care, just like you can run into a murderer or rapist that actually enjoyed the crime. And we all know that no wrong act should go unpunished, but certain people, criminals as they are labeled, really don't deserve to be sent to where they go, some really don't even deserve the label. They really don't belong there; they really didn't belong in that life to begin with. They were forced into it.
How? You ask. Easily, first of all money to begin with: the budget cuts; the minimum wage jobs; getting stuck feeling like you are literally licking up table scrapes from the rich in order to survive; and most of all just not able to make that one bill or buy that one toy or present for a loved one that you really wanted to buy. Second just watching all those people walk off with all the things you want but just can't have, feeling like your just as good as that guy that made it through college except you just either couldn't afford to go or just didn't because it didn't really make sense. Believe me there are people just like this all across are nation from the east coast to the West Coast, that feel exactly like this. And they have every reason to feel like this. Although in some situations it was their fault in a few ways, people aren't just messing up their lives because they want to. Like I said some do it just because they have no choice, they don't know any better. I guarantee that some wealthy rich millionaire, if he had enough balls to walk into a homeless shelter, could go up to a homeless person and tell them that they or their company would provide that persons housing and entertainment and everything in-between, if he just worked for them these hours doing this job this day just because it fits him. Would he take it, of course he would. Granted there are a few loopholes like drugs and other situations that might need to be dealt with, but where did all these problems come from in the first place. The answer is simple come on say it with me everyone money, it is truly the root of all evil. And who's to say that you can't apply this same basic principal to education. Like say after teaching our young children how to read and write, giving them evaluation tests to find their interests. And don't just tell them they need to go to these schools of this or these peticular interests, make them go. Set up a bridge to get these kids off the streets away from guns and drugs and into the work force. Make it fun to, but not easy. Give them perks like a car or apartment the quicker they learn or the better they get at their jobs, allow them to literally work their way into their house with the cable TV and nice dream car. Money, who really needs it, it truly does need you. And just to finish this all up I'd just like to say a wise man once said that what you give is what you get. Just think about it.

homepage: homepage: http://eric_s@pybpdx.org
address: address: eric_s@pybpdx.org

Hi! 14.Feb.2002 18:26


The streets devide us. When we form squats they are demolished. When we fight back we are slandered and marganalized as bieng terrorists. We live in terror. As we're told that if only we put our trust in others our will into thier hands they will shape us into a force for change.
Does your will belong to others? Can you truly have a community if you've never lived free? Is it the community's role to asses what freedom should mean to you or is it yours? Can you really have a free comunity of un free individuals? Reforming the governent will not change the nature of the beast.
It's sick, and all things must come to an end.
Only you can do it.

Even without money there would still be governent.
People need life skills to have a comunity.
Communitys are a threat to any governent because a governments power is based on the robbery of our free will without the power to control us those in power are just like you and me
Diversity brings a confluence of new ideas
to be a community is to inspire others to know what it means to be community.
new ideas are a threat to any hierarchy because new ideas come from empowered individuals
It's sad that what empowers us is the state to wich we are oppressed.