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Tax Payer’s and Prison: A Fool’s Paradise

A new essay By Russell Maroon Shoats/z

 “The state administrated correctional system includes 26 correctional institutions, 54 they operated or contracted corrections centers and a motivational boot camp. Approximately 18% of the inmate population requires mental health treatment. 90% of offenders incarcerated and their commonwealths state prisons will eventually be released into the community, the Department of correction emphasizes programs that prepare inmates for responsible crime free community living.” —-Governor’s executive budget 2011 – 2012

Like Granny Hawkins told that outlaw Josey Wales: “Those big words don’t mean squat!”

      Across this entire country the lovely taxpayers have been bamboozled into believing that their hard earned tax dollars are helping keep them safe because the state and federal governments are each year spending tens of billions of their tax dollars to imprison individuals for years on end. While every statistic shows that those policies of mass imprisonment are a complete failure when it comes to their stated objectives to “repair inmates for responsible crime free community living.” Creating a revolving door system that does nothing to make community safer, but instead cause the lovely taxpayers to hemorrhage money and to keep in play an unworkable boondoggle. Nonetheless, every year politicians fight with each other over whether billions should be plowed back into their dysfunctional prison system, or go to other needy projects like education or to repair the infrastructure. All the while the taxpayers stand on the sidelines mesmerized by sensational TV coverage of crime, sports and celebrity scandals; trusting that the local police, courts, jails, prisons and politicians are serious about the way everything possible to keep “the barbarians” from their doorways. Even if the budgets of all those entities continued to grow it is without any real difference being delivered in solving the problem. Those taxpayers are living in a fool’s paradise.

Outside of the total failure of the criminal justice system[1] to show that they know how to do anything but lock people up, there’s another cancer eating away at the taxpayers future that they remain totally oblivious of. Taxpayers are being purposely kept in the dark by a select group of cynical politicians and prison profiteers about what’s being done with their tax dollars in regards to workings and failures of the criminal justice system. Politicians receive benefits by allowing and helping private prison operators and services to function and profit from the prison. Politicians use the fact that there are prisons in their voting district and claim to be bringing prison jobs into their districts, at the expense of the other taxpayers who don’t have prisons in their areas. The cancer is the inability to financially sustain the criminal justice system. Thus the taxpayers must one day choose between trying to continue with the folly of supporting that bankrupt system until it saps all of the potential out of their communities or invest in something that works. Billions of dollars are being poured into the criminal justice/prison “hustle” risking our children’s education and neglecting the crumbling roads of our neighborhoods, bridges, libraries, water and sewage systems. Our open areas, parks and housing options continue to deteriorate. We must refuse to continue to allow tax dollars to be poured into that sinkhole, while searching for an alternative to the failed ways the state and federal government has been mishandling the situation.

As a prisoner who has been incarcerated for over 40 years, many may be put off by my background, and feel uncomfortable about considering my suggestions about ways to get out of this fool’s paradise; but consider this: I’ve been around this sorry state of affairs longer then over 90% of those who the taxpayers are trusting to handle this problem. That means I must have learned something about its workings. Therefore I ask you to set aside your reservations about me, and first read and ponder my ideas before you judge whether they are self serving or otherwise.

But I’ll save them for another follow up piece. Right now I’m sorry to inform you that you are living in a fool’s paradise.


[1] police, court, jails and prisons

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