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Old 10-26-2012, 12:00 AM   #28
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Re: criminal justice

Originally Posted by jam's mum View Post
And if the offender is receptive? The vast majority of men are in prison for non violent, drug related crime. Does that make them ideal fathers? No. Does it make them worthless fathers? No. It doesn't.

My BIL is in and out of jail. He's unstable, and he's an unstable presence in his children's life. They're extremely lucky, if you can call it that, that they have a loving grandfather who is willing and able to have custody of them. But my BIL loves his kids, and they love him, and I don't think his situation is unique, even if their solution is, and I don't think that having him locked up half their life is a socially valuable solution.

What I'm trying to say is that incarceration is more disruptive, and more dangerous than is commonly accepted. And I think there are -- I think there must be -- alternatives, that can only be discovered when the conversation around criminal justice is expanded to recognise its indirect effects.
If the offender is receptive, then the programs are already in place. The system can only lead the horse to water. You say nonviolent drug related crimes like those are no big deal. I dont think youre understanding the lifestyle that leads to these crimes...and the children that are exposed and affected by that lifestyle. The type of offender that gets caught is not likely to be someone who smokes pot once in a while to loosen up. They are usually people completely addicted to something hard. (though they may only get caught using a lesser evil, I dont believe that so many people only smoking pot would be so desperate and stupid to get caught...its the hard drugs that make you act like that). These offenders are so addicted that theyll lie, cheat and steal. They steal from their families, from their children. Theyll use their children. Anything to get a fix. They generally only get caught when theyve strained their families of everything they have and used them all they could so they go out and make stupid mistakes in public trying to get their fix. By that point its probably better for the child to get some more seperation from the parent. And to show them that its not ok or normal to live like that. I think its a good thing. I was that child and Im grateful for the system.

I know the statistics say so many children of drug convicted parents will end up the same, but im willing to bet that those numbers skyrocket for children of drug addicted parents who dont get caught. They live that life as their "normal" for 18 years! Its always sad when a parents decisions affect a child so profoundly, but i truly think the system is set up as good as it can be for people who dont want to change. Ive had plenty of experience with it and know that its all on the individual. Its just easier to blame the abstract "system" than someone you can look in the eyes. I also know a few people who were in that system going round and round and finally broke free of it and they dont blame the system at all.

In any case, if youre interested in this cause, there is a program that does exactly what youre describing, and urges judges to place drug criminals in their program as an alternative to incarceration, but i cant remember the name of it. If you look up Trey Anastasio on google youll find it. Hes a member of Phish who went through the program and is a big advocate.

Last edited by harmoni247; 10-26-2012 at 12:11 AM.
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