25 FEB 2015 :: Prisons, Education, and Medical Issues

In my desire to separate topics and time, I have (so far) decided to do these three topics (in the title) on Wednesdays...but that will be changing in the near (kind of) future. Once I figure out the separate blogs, I hope to add to each of them as events create information to be shared.

The big headlines I noticed today were  ::
  • the life sentence of a man I would have considered mentally incompetent when he killed the hero of a movie called American Sniper
  • the impending financial shut down of a government department called Homeland Security (Immigration and Terrorism related department, I believe) by the (Republican) Senate, with a lot of media references to the similar (Republican) budget events in the past
  • the Democratic President's veto of the Republican Keystone Pipeline project 
  • the apparent loss of unity within the Republican Party after its landslide election, possibly because it is already worried about the next election
  • the arrest of three men who were willing to harm America on behalf of ISIS or another similar terrorist group -- from what I could tell, they were arrested like others with the same desires: while they were leaving the US to get into the terrorist's training program
  • the committee examination of the head of the Federal Reserve...which focused only on one Republican member with a question about making sure there is equal access to her office by both Republican and Democratic parties

These topics show you what the news media thinks we care about, OR, they reflect what the media thinks is important and they present their viewpoint on the topic.  What do you think it is?

I commented tonight on Facebook about the sentencing.  I was angry that a man who was obviously mentally unfit was treated as a competent adult.  I wondered what the sentence would have been if there wasn't a movie about the victim, or a media presence.

Other people kill and don't get life imprisonment.  Some people kill by accident and get large sentences.  Mandatory sentencing doesn't allow for special circumstances surrounding an event or person involved in a crime.  Our criminal "justice" system is in need of serious reforms.  It doesn't allow for change in the future -- in the person or in the laws.  It takes away the incentive to be better.  

What we want is a better citizen.  If they do the work to become a better citizen, shouldn't they warrant a chance to prove themselves?

I vaguely recall seeing a video presentation about Canada's prison system many years ago... I was so impressed by some of the concepts presented.  I don't know if it is still this way, but what I remember is they allowed inmates to earn their way out of prison.  They inmate would be living in a prison apartment, working and keeping their own schedule, before they were released.  They learned how to be what a society needed them to be, how to fit in to normal life, how to live without feeling they needed to commit a crime.

I tried to remember where I saw it, and how to find it again, but it wasn't possible (for me).

What kind of person would you be if you knew your whole life was going to be in a cell somewhere, about 8x10 feet I hear, and there was no one who cared if you lived or died?  What reason is there for you to be a better person?