Monday, May 9, 2011

Chain gangs?

Do Chain Gangs exist anymore?  I have an idea I wondered about and hope to be shown I'm right or wrong and why...  And, obviously, I don't believe in literally chaining people together for anything let alone hard labor.

I'm guessing that nearly every state in the union has overcrowded prisons.  I also know that many states are planning massive releases of people whose terms aren't totally served yet.

Walking to a restaurant to meet a friend, I suddenly thought "there are so many weeds here along the sidewalk......it has to be expensive to hire people but why don't they get prisoners to fix this?"     Why don't they shorten terms according to how many hours of work prisoners do?  I'm not talking about murderers or other violent criminals, but why not have drug offenders and bad check writers, etc., have to get out and do work as long as they're guests of the state?  We must have tracking devices which could find them if anybody made a break for it?  And then let them out once they've met a certain number of hours?

We could save money for cleaning public buildings, inside and out.....collecting trash along highways....weeding....washing police cars, etc. Why have them in rooms all day long with visits to the gym and libraries and TV when they could be working to get themselves out sooner and saving us some money?

Is it a risk to the public?   If so, how do you like the idea of their getting out for nothing because of overcrowding?  Aren't they still a risk then?

Good idea or not?   Let's talk about this.......

geeeeeZ

32 comments:

beamish said...

Just release everyone in prison that is there on non-violent drug related charges. Compensate them for their time in prison by liquidating the assets of the judge, prosecutor, and jurors that put them there.

Put to death everyone in prison for murder, rape, and armed criminal action.

Stop putting non-violent drug offenders in jail [legalize marijuana, put other non-violent drug offenders in drug rehabilitation / intervention clinics]

Stop putting murderers, rapists, and armed robbers / burglars in prison. Just execute them.

Problem solved.

Z said...

Beamish...the judges and jurors need to go to jail for having done their job? Or why not change the laws?

I'm not compensating any offender of anything for anything.

Ducky's here said...

I see prison crews cleaning up roadside trash quite often.

The Born Again American said...

WHY NOT CHAIN CRIMINALS? That is of course not the ones that came from a broken home, or are products of abuse, or are being held down by "the man"... Those you could just shoot, so we don't have to house or feed them...

Ducky, this one is for you, I'm sure you'll find fault with something I said...

BB-Idaho said...

Last time (1963) I saw a chain gang was at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo. About 25 GIs with ankle chains and a bevy of MPs. Around here
prisoners with good behavior plant trees, pick up trash and help put up the annual public Christmas decorations....
and once in awhile escape.

beamish said...

Beamish...the judges and jurors need to go to jail for having done their job? Or why not change the laws?

Well, I'm admittedly over the top in my sense of restitution. I stop short of demanding the judge's mother apologize for giving birth to the judge that didn't throw out the case to begin with.

Using federal prison figures from 2004 (because I'm too lazy to Google for fresh stats):

- More than half (55%) of federal prisoners are serving time for a drug offense, and 13% for a
violent offense.

- Nearly three-fourths (72.1%) of the population are non-violent offenders with no history of
violence.

- One-third (34.4%) are first-time, non-violent offenders.

- More than half (55.7%) of persons sentenced for a drug offense in 2002 fell into the lowest criminal history category (Category 1) of the sentencing guidelines, and in 87% of cases no
weapon was involved.

That's a lot of non-violent people in jail for self-medicating or not rotting their livers to party legally.

Yes, change the drug laws, but when the law changes, those federal prisoners doing time for non-violent drug offenses ought to be released AND apologized to.

You'd free up over half the prison space.

Ducky's here said...

Born Again American --- your Christian sentiment is certainly profoundly moving.

Z said...

Do you, Ducky? I think that's a good thing.
What do you think of working off 'time' for it? I think it could work.

Born Again...I'm laughing here :-)

BB...I think ankle chains are DISGUSTING and INHUMAN.

Beamish, that'll be the day when we should apologize to people who broke the damned laws. Like it or not, there are laws.
ANd the judges aren't at fault for doing their jobs.
Change the laws.
I'm not sure I agree with that, either, but don't blame those carrying out man-made laws.

Chuck said...

House the non-violent criminals in some of these boarded up schools. Have them clean up the roads, clear sidewalks for the elderly, whatever. Repay society somehow.

Scotty said...

Although they're not chained, Florida uses prisoners a lot for things like cleaning along the roads and such. I see them often. At least in the county I reside.

beamish said...

Beamish, that'll be the day when we should apologize to people who broke the damned laws. Like it or not, there are laws.
ANd the judges aren't at fault for doing their jobs.
Change the laws.
I'm not sure I agree with that, either, but don't blame those carrying out man-made laws.


I blame the prison builders for giving them something to do.

We already spend taxpayer money on sports stadiums...

Why can't we recoup our loses and have gladiator combat with prisoners?

"Meet young Zacharias Massoui. He would have been the 20th hijacker on 9/11, now he's a lifer in ADX Federal Supermax. Feeding, clothing, housing, and caring for his health and enviromental conditions him costs taxpayer's some $23,000 dollars a year, money that could otherwise be going towards pipewrenchs for Guantanamo enhanced interrogators."

"And his opponent, weighing in at a world-record setting combined sentence of 10,000 years to life, you know him, you love him... triple homicide convict Dudley Wayne Kyzer!"

"Watch these two compete to the death against each other and the clock...."

It's not like all the cheesy sci-fi movies of the 1960s and 1970s didn't prepare us for this day.

;)

Bob said...

Sheriff Joe What's-His_Name in Arizona has the right idea. Clothe and feed 'em cheap, and make them work. Here in Georgia, often times there are prison gangs cleaning up highways and freeways. They do not wear chains. I don't know if they are county, state, or federal prisoners.

If you remember the Fulton County, Georgia court house killings a few years ago, they had a huge problem with having competent and physically fit guards to keep prisoners in line. Those are not trained police officers guarding the public, those are jail house employees with guns.

I think your idea has merit, but don't wait for common sense things to happen. Remember, it is government.

Z said...

Beamish, let the heads roll...I like that idea :-)


Chuck, I like your idea, too.'

Scotty, how's about the idea of taking time off the end of their sentences (nonviolent) in return for full time 'duty'?

Bob...the sounds like the patients are running the asylum?

Something should be workable with this idea, don't you think?
But the ACLU will be suing us for forcing people to work, yadda yadda yadda.
Meanwhile, those nuts raise 8.5 million to defend KSM and why aren't we SUING THEM for THAT?!! RIGHT?
Bob...I'm glad you found geeZ, I love my old time commenters, of course, BIG TIME, but it's nice to have someone new who makes such sense, too!

Mustang said...

Chain gangs are common in my state. Years ago, a good friend of mine was a Superior Court Judge in Orange County (CA). He told me that he knew, at the time of sentencing, that in order for a convict to go to jail, the warden would have to let someone out. Otherwise, there is no room. This was … 30 years ago. It can only have become worse in CA.

I’m thinking that if they were to take all the illegal aliens serving time in California prisons, deport them back to Mexico …, and pay them $100 a month to stay there, it will be cheaper than housing them and feeding them in an already bankrupt state. If that works, then we ought to try it on American citizens, too.

Z said...

I think you'd be surprised how many illegals are in every prison throughout the country, Mustang, but since we have so many illegals here, you're right; it would probably be cheaper.
Except they'd take the money, go, then sneak back in.

Mustang said...

Musician Kinky Friedman had the right solution to illegal aliens. He suggested finding five or six retired Mexican generals. Assign each of them a sector of responsibility along the US/Mexican border. Deposit $1 million into a bank account for each general, and then inform them that you’ll deduct $20,000 for each illegal alien we find on our side of the border. Within one week, the “illegal alien” problem will drop to zero. Problem solved, for only $5 or $6 million, which is far, far cheaper than it’s costing us today.

Z said...

Mustang, I LOVE that idea! HA!

Jen said...

Oh man, I might vote for Kinky after all!

Always On Watch said...

Here in Northern Virginia, we don't see the chain gangs anymore. In other parts of the state, we do.

I favor using certain offender from the county jails to do some of the maintenance and cleaning-up tasks in the region where I live. Of course, doing so would put a lot of government employees out of work. These employees maintain all of the scenic tree-and-flower spots throughout our region. Not so many years ago, those scenic spots were maintained by volunteers, typically old ladies who liked to create the flower gardens.

Scotty said...

Scotty, how's about the idea of taking time off the end of their sentences (nonviolent) in return for full time 'duty'?

I have no problem with that, it’s already being done. It’s called parole.

Violent and hard to deal with prisoners are not assigned jobs, most times, be they in the prison or an outside clean up gang.

Good behavior, more times than not, gets one duty or a job within the system and it all adds up to possibilities of being released early. It’s all considered when being judged by a parole board.

I don’t agree with beamish attitudes about nonviolent drug users. Like it’s said, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. What they have been doing is illegal. Until the laws are changed…..ya gotta live with it!

There are certainly more of us that are following the rule of law as it pertains to drugs, than those that are breaking the various drug laws. So I have little sympathy for them.

And don’t think that I’m some self righteous person passing judgment on these folks as I’ve did my share of abusing substances in my earlier years. It took a while, but I finally realized how much of a waste of time and money it was. I wasted a lot of my life on those things, time I’ll never get back.

Pot is a gateway drug, of which I’m a poster child for. It lowers inhibitions for many folks to do other things, of which I’m a poster child for.

And then I think of the folks who benefit from the money spent on the many drugs that come into our country. Some being the very folks that would love to see Americans die and would love to see our nation destroyed.

Drug dealing and terrorism, the two are inseparable.

Z said...

Scotty, thanks for your honesty in sharing some of your story. I'm glad you came out of all that so well.
You're not alone, that's for sure.
You make a strong case for keeping drugs illegal.


And I know about parole and I guess that's kind of what I'm talking about...good point. Parole's based on behavior and you can't have someone going out into the public to clean cop cars if they haven't been on somewhat good behavior.

beamish said...

I don’t agree with beamish attitudes about nonviolent drug users. Like it’s said, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. What they have been doing is illegal. Until the laws are changed…..ya gotta live with it!

I don't want to "live with" a runaway government asserting itself as a lifstyle manager.

My point was that most drug offenders in prison fall into the non-violent category, but further, the overwhelming majority of those non-violent drug offenders are in fact someone who broke one of the ridiculous marijuana laws with their insane mandatory minimum sentences.

We live in a country where you can't scream in protest outside an abortion clinic but you can scream in protest outside a funeral, and further your wife or girlfriend or daughter can get an abortion and completely murder a developing human being no questions asked but Johnny Law has a hard on for you if you have anything to do with to marijuana market. Sorry if I don't salute that flag on command.

Seriously, the only thing marijauna is a "gateway" to (besides Cool Ranch Doritos with picante sauce, hook it up!) is the realization that all the anti-pot propaganda made in the 1930s and since to illegalize marijuana and keep it illegalized is a bunch of intellectual dishonesty. If marijuana serves as a "gateway" to other drugs, it's only in the capacity of "what else is the government full of shit about?"

I'm talking about "Reefer Madness" and all the other anti-pot propaganda served up over the years. As a humorous side note, "spinach" was a slang term for pot in the 1930s, particulary in the jazz music scene nurtured by sailors in port cities. Now you know what Popeye put in his pipe to make him strong. ;)

I agree, keep real drugs illegal, and really, make a lot of the legal drugs illegal - Ritalin, etc.

But when over half of our overcrowded prison population are non-violent pot law breakers, not dangerous criminals, and they're certainly not farmers, distributors, marketeers, and users of an actually dangerous substance, isn't it time to just say no to the misguided stupidity of mandatory minimal sentencing for a plant that can grow anywhere a tomato will? Pot is not financing international terrorism.

It's the same domestic problem we had with Prohibition of alcohol. Then Italian anarchists and labor activists wedded organized crime and organized labor into being one and the same, and their terrorism over alcohol distribution parlayed their fortunes into the Democrat-infested government unions in all branches and levels of government. Don't light that, the unionized cop is coming this way. Big Labor is watching you.

Pot is an herb, culinary and medicinal. It doesn't even fit the dictionary or etymological definition of "drug" any more than chocolate does. Legalize it, tax it, regulate it just like we do the more dangerous substances like Knob Creek whiskey.

Z said...

beamish, I think most don't go there but I have personally seen people use pot (before you were born) and go to 'more'...a 'gateway drug' as they say.
The thing is, those people were probably inclined to doing drugs anyway (something most people probably aren't) and would have possibly gone to coke and pills and mushrooms anyway, but I'm not sure.
I know friends who said "I started with pot......." Not good.
ANd I know people who've smoked pot for probably 40 years now and you'd NEVER EVER know it. Really nice women who use it to sleep better, etc....business women, married women whose husbands HATE that they smoke it, etc.
Weird.

I certainly see your point that we don't need to be paying for guys in prison for selling a small baggie of pot, but....where do you begin and end? Actually, I think there IS a 'size' amount that gets you busted, right? At least in California, I think you could have a bit and not get arrested?

beamish said...

Drug dealing and terrorism, the two are inseparable.

Domestically-produced marijuana distribution in the United States is over $120 Billion dollars of annual commerce the local, state, and federal governments aren't taxing. I think that dollar amount is rather low, because it only represents the domestic pot growth the federal estimates have a reasonable clue. I'm sure there's a lot more pot law enforcement agencies don't know about. I'm pretty sure there's more pot around than just enough to give every man woman and child in America just 2.5 ounces a year at current street prices. I'm sure the most avid Cheech and Chong caricatures of pot smokers can toke up 2.5 ounces in a week, but I'm thinking a run-of-the-mill "recreational" toker like your average anecdotal kid's elementary school teacher could make 2.5 ounces last 3 months unless they're hella chiefin' daily. As the case may be, devoted pot smokers are likely burning through much more than 2.5 ounces a year, and so, that's just that much more tax revenue the government is denying itself.

Other than inner city street gang wars, which are anyway usually over drugs other than pot because anybody can (and does) grow pot just about anywhere, there is no real link between pot and terrorism. You can make a stronger case that you financially supported more anti-American terrorism last time you filled up your gas tank or voted for a Democrat than anyone passing a spliff at a Steely Dan concert ever did with his purchase of pot all year.

Any violence related to the trade of marijuana is because the consentual commerce has been forced underground and penalized with such ridiculous jail sentences for it.

beamish said...

beamish, I think most don't go there but I have personally seen people use pot (before you were born) and go to 'more'...a 'gateway drug' as they say.

I think it's more a case of pot being more widespread and readily available (as it can be grown ANYWHERE) as far as the reason people "try it first."

The thing is, those people were probably inclined to doing drugs anyway (something most people probably aren't) and would have possibly gone to coke and pills and mushrooms anyway, but I'm not sure.

I agree that anything can be abused, and I even agree that even a taste of some things constitute abuse. No one had ever died from a THC overdose. You'd have to smoke an entire joint the size of a telephone pole to get a dose of THC in the lethal range. Chances are you'll put a joint that size down after one baby toke and go veg out finally realizing what the Mary Hartman Mary Hartman TV show was about.

I know friends who said "I started with pot......." Not good.

I started with Tylenol. :P

ANd I know people who've smoked pot for probably 40 years now and you'd NEVER EVER know it. Really nice women who use it to sleep better, etc....business women, married women whose husbands HATE that they smoke it, etc.
Weird.


You'd be surprised just how many "occasional" users are in America. The majority of people who use pot are once-a-week or once-a-month users. People who'd not openly admit it because of social and professional stigmas. The daily, avid Cheech and Chong hippy stereotypes are the smallest minority that mess it up for everybody else.

Imagine if wine connoisseurs were stigmatized because of some drunk ass bum laying in the alley and his daily Ripple habit?


Don't get me wrong, I know some serious potheads, people that LIVE for smoking dope. Ugh. Like I said, anything can be abused. I'm not trying to glamorize pot, but if the mood struck me I might not decline an offered toke (for old time's sake).

I certainly see your point that we don't need to be paying for guys in prison for selling a small baggie of pot, but....where do you begin and end? Actually, I think there IS a 'size' amount that gets you busted, right? At least in California, I think you could have a bit and not get arrested?

It depends on where you're at, how much you've got, and how you're carrying it.

A certain amount might be an ordinance violation one place and that same amount a felony elsewhere. Contained in more than one bag or rolled into cigarretes or otherwise divided into seperate units might get you an "intent to distribute" charge so they can treat you like they just nailed the Medallin cocaine cartel at trial. There is no uniformity in marijuana laws at the local, state, and federal levels.

That's why we're jailing so many small-time non-violent marijuana offenders and so little of any other class of criminal.

Scotty said...

I don't want to "live with" a runaway government asserting itself as a lifstyle manager.

Then do something to change it but, until then………it is what it is!

Seriously, the only thing marijauna is a "gateway" to (besides Cool Ranch Doritos with picante sauce, hook it up!) is the realization that all the anti-pot propaganda made in the 1930s and since to illegalize marijuana and keep it illegalized is a bunch of intellectual dishonesty.

All great libertarian talking points. I already offered myself as an example; I’ll go a step further. Until I had to stop working, I spent much of my time trying to help fellow Veterans with their addictions. The stories were always the same, I started doing…..

You can call it intellectual dishonesty, I would call it experience. I’ve watched the face of drug dealing and those that sell pot change since ‘60s.

But when over half of our overcrowded prison population are non-violent pot law breakers, not dangerous criminals, and they're certainly not farmers, distributors, marketeers, and users of an actually dangerous substance, isn't it time to just say no to the misguided stupidity of mandatory minimal sentencing for a plant that can grow anywhere a tomato will? Pot is not financing international terrorism.

Yep, they’re all puppies and kittens. I’ve dwelt within the seamy side of drugs and drug dealing. Say what you want, most pot is coming down the same pipeline as other drugs. Pot, with the combination of the other drugs are financing less than desirable people.

Come on down here to Florida, I’ll put you up for a week or two, I’ll show where it’s at and what’s going down. Watch what reality is, it isn’t some libertarian talking point.

Any violence related to the trade of marijuana is because the consentual commerce has been forced underground and penalized with such ridiculous jail sentences for it.

I said, drug dealing and terrorism the two are inseparable. You went off of a marijuana rant. Drug dealing DOES include pot, among the other things and a lot of the faces dealing in the trade are pretty ugly.

Go ahead, work with your talking and bullet points. I’ve lived the reality as have many around me and we have the scars to prove it.

Z said...

Beamish "I think it's more a case of pot being more widespread and readily available (as it can be grown ANYWHERE) as far as the reason people "try it first."

That's part of it. But, I think it's a case of young people trying pot and moving into bigger and better because they've entered into that world of people in which they know they can get more and ...better. (believe me)

No, I wouldn't be surprised, I told you I know some who smoke pot now, 30 yrs after giving up being California hippies...but even THEY hide it and laugh at themselves for behaving like kids getting high, I swear.

I don't think smoking pot will ever be regarded as mainstream...you see people having a glass of wine and chatting..cool. You see a group in the corner passing a joint, you think "Oh, BROTHER, GROW UP!"


Scotty, I wouldn't ask Beamish twice to come down there !!!! :-)

beamish said...

Scotty,

The intellectual dishonesty lies in the government's exaggerating the detrimental social and health effects of marijuana, chiefly (mind the pun) in claiming the migration to other. more dangerous (actual) drugs is a "side effect" of marijuana use. It employs a false correlation that is statistically meaningless. Psuedoscience. In layman's terms, it's bullshit.

Switching to cocaine use is no more a side effect or trail blazed first by pot use than becoming a pot smoker after years of huffing nitrous oxide out of cans of pressurized whipped cream (which is legal, and far more dangerous than pot). Don'tcha know yawning is a gateway to inhaling pot? How many people have yawned before they smoked pot? See? See?

It's ricockulous.

All I'm saying is remove pot from the equation - stop classifying it as a "dangerous drug" when it is neither dangerous nor a drug, and tease out the details. The math changes and reflects a more accurate picture of drug abuse statistics when you stop calling an herb a "drug."

I don't have to go to Florida to find marijuana for sale. It's ubiquitous. As insane as the number of pot prisoners of the "war on drugs" as there is, there's far more pot smokers that aren't imprisoned, have never been arrested, most living productive lives, and the overwhelming majority of them are merely casual smokers that don't do any other harder drugs than perhaps alcohol or other over the counter drugs.

The only real "victory" in the "war on drugs" is that now it's prohibitively expensive for dealers to give away other drugs to realize the urban mythical "marijuana laced with something" scares of thw 1970s. No drug dealer is going to give away cocaine sprinkled on pot and sell it as schwag. Congrats, Unca Sam, you made marijuana SAFER to use.

beamish said...

No, I wouldn't be surprised, I told you I know some who smoke pot now, 30 yrs after giving up being California hippies...but even THEY hide it and laugh at themselves for behaving like kids getting high, I swear.

I'd be willing to bet that those that you know for sure "secretly" smoke pot live productive lives, they're more likely to be spotted sober working behind a desk than stoned all day behind a digeridoo, right?

I think the ridiculous of toker oppression will finally reach its watershed moment when a Presidential candidate is asked if he or she has ever smoked marijuana and they proudly step to the mike and say "Shit, I'm high right now."

They might not win the election, but at least the question will finally be rebuffed.

Z said...

"Shit, I'm high right now."

Great, ya..that's raising the bar of competence, isn't it. That made me shudder :-)

beamish said...

Great, ya..that's raising the bar of competence, isn't it. That made me shudder :-)

George Washington wasn't that bad of a President, was he?

You do know he lamented in his diaries about not seperating his male and female hemp plants before they seeded, right?

The ONLY reason a hemp farmer would need to seperate his male and female plants is if they were looking to set aside an amount to get high with.

If I had to choose, I'd take a reasonable pot connoisseur like Washington as President over a whacked out lecherous barbituate junkie like JFK.

Seems we're not as eager for the return of the Founding Fathers as we presume to be, eh?

;)

beamish said...

[I guess Blogger isn't going to restore the rest of this comment thread]