Law/Freedom: Love Freedom; Cost of Prisons; Understanding basic law; Family Law
What is more important to an American than freedom? Freedom is the cornerstone of our great nation. Groups came to the new world seeking freedom they weren’t experiencing in Europe. Of course, we now mention the irony of Native Americans’ freedom vanishing and Africans arriving against their will in the hulls of ships. Those slaves toiled for years before America was America—long before 1776.
If you are the descendant of slaves and sharecroppers (sharecropper weren’t really free until the 1970s), why would you give up your freedom to the criminal justice system like it is nothing? The parlor question becomes “would you rather be a slave in 1815 or an inmate in 2015?” Good question. The following question is “are current inmates justifying slavery in some way?”
The sad fact is that some people fail to instill a functioning value system, moral compass or simple risk/reward mechanism in their children. “Put it on the scale…put it on the scale.” A young person commits a crime that at best will only produce $100 but once arrested, that person’s freedom is gone for years. They could have made that piece of money in a day and they likely sought money to spend on silly items in the first place. In my day, we said “you seek big money to buy things to impress people who don’t care about you.”
Billy Badass: When you grow up as Billy Badass, no one tells you what to do and when to do it—not parents, teachers, pastors or the police. Ole Billy has zero regard for community or sense of right and wrong—he pumps the nastiest music at the highest volume from his car and does it while passing old women and kids.
Since going to school daily is too restrictive, he drops out to seek money the fast way—the ski mask way. When he lands in that penal system, he enjoys less freedom than an eight year old. The guy who thought working for minimum wage was square now makes a few dollars per day and he would love the freedom of working on a prison work detail on the highway. The sunlight, wind and rain become golden. The best people to talk with the youth about freedom are people who gave up theirs.
Closet living: The size of an average jail cell seems unimaginably small to most people. The Good Lawd knows this writer loves being outside and freaks out in windowless buildings. “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” We haven’t mentioned being locked in a room with a person who might be violent in the worst way.
Cost of Prisons: It’s really tough to simply say “lock’em up” and offenders should face consequences for their actions. However, corrections cost in many states is one of the biggest budget items. Cost includes security and administration, health care, rehabilitation, food and clothing. In California, the cost is near $129 per day. http://www.ehow.com/about_5409377_average-cost-house-inmates-prison.html
In Georgia, the direct cost was $21,000 per year per inmate in 2011. http://www.vera.org/files/price-of-prisons-georgia-fact-sheet.pdf
The shocker occurred when the Georgia Director of Juvenile Justice announced that juvenile offenders cost the peach state 90K per year. Say what? http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2013-12-25/georgia-juvenile-justice-changes-take-effect
Oh, hell no. That’s it. This madness must end because we could almost send three kids to the University of Georgia with that money. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and we would be better off building youth who didn’t want to surrender their freedom.
Other freedoms: You can give up other types of freedom also. People with a slave mentality see nothing wrong with reporting to other adults. Of course, we must respect the laws that the government made because God made the government Romans 13:1. But, public assistance often involves reporting personal business to governmental workers.
I wrote a blog post about lessons Justice Clarence Thomas learned from his grandfather on this subject. Grandfather could not stand the idea of a social worker asking if he fed his family or having the state inquire about who slept there at night. We must mention the loss of freedom to alcohol, drug and food addiction. Yes, food can have a deadly grip on a person. In another section of this project we will discuss financial freedom from student loan to child support to good old fashion debt.
Basic Law 101: Every American should understand local, state and federal laws. At an early age, my daddy told us that ignorance was not an excuse under the law. A teenager innocently gives a friend a ride home from the basketball courts but the friend has drugs in his pocket then drops the drugs on the floor as the cops gets the dog out. Everyone in the car might be facing hard time. Civil, criminal, torts, property and family law should be covered in high school or students should be given a useful DVD.
Dealing with the police is the most fundamental part of the justice system and people can learn a lot from TV shows like Cops, Law and Order and programs on Court TV and ID Channel. We need a program to breakdown the law for young people in a two-hour session so they will know the fundamentals.