Sunday, July 03, 2005

So You've Never Been Arrested

This morning I somehow got a call (a wrong # no doubt) from the Cumberland County Jail from one Juan Ortiz. It was quite interesting and of course had to be denied since none of us know a "Juan Ortiz" or ever heard of him (and Lord knows that they're probably millions) It intrigued me enough to go scouting around on the internet for this jail and voila! I found it. Cumberland County Jail has a web site, full functioning with a virtual tour that was as disturbing as it was hilarious. It starts off regular enough with a mission statement. Yes I said it a mission statement - and to think I always thought jails had one mission and that was Lock 'em up! Well beyond the mission statement there was a lovely virtual tour of what your stay might be like when you indeed fall into the hands of the great people at Cumberland. The waiting room, booking, picture taking, POD showers...oh yeah! Like one of those photo pictorial from a Hotel in say an exotic country only thing is, these walls were depressing mental patient faded blue and awful standard-issue green. Yeah all the way thru, right to the nighttime when you go beady bye in your lovely miniature cell (also featured in the pictorial) This was disturbing on many levels and another level was their claim to fame of having a Jail Olympics - I mean now you make games out of how well you can keep watch over and keep lockdown inmates, they have now become fodder for the Correction Officers fun time. Humm just a lil distasteful. Now I'm not saying that these folks are angels but hey, they're locked up - rehabilitate them properly so they don't come out gunning for me or anyone else, don't play "jail Olympics" with em. Shouldn't that time be better spent "rehabilitating" instead of playing! They even have statistics of inmates, GEDs and other things we're burning to know!
Point is - America's incarceration system is not meant to rehabilitate, it was meant to bring revenue to small counties and half dead towns, shipping in inmates who's families in turn have to visit thereby keeping the town resuscitated with a few dollars and keeping the town population employed in the depressing job of Jailer/Correction Officer. This is all it does, depressing on both ends. After all who wants to be imprisoned and really, is anyone out there dying to be a Correction Officer - NOPE! Jailing and jails seems to be yet another industry in America these last days, big profits, an inexpensive labor force in the prisoners, who couldn't love that. A few claims to jobs in the community and some talk of rehabilitation but I'm sure that is a myth. What is needed is a better social system, better equipped schools and after school programs and way better outlets for the society as a whole to deal with the problems before they become incarceratable. Locking up is not going to solve all the problems, lets head off the problem before it becomes inventory for another jail.


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