Saturday, January 9, 2010
We are spending a great deal to maintain convicted criminals and prospective convictees in our jails, penitentiaries and probation and parole programs. We stray around among the peripheral issues ignoring the basic penal issues. The Doser cites some of the meanderings: What rules shall we make regarding prisoner amenities, i.e. provision of televisions, law books, writing facilities, computer access etc.? What rules are okay regarding the handling of inmates that act out. What rules about activities like television and exercise. How about handling of the matter of visitations. Shall inmates be limited to post cards for correspondence with the "outside?" Why should inmates be denied the privilege of voting? And on and on! The basic issues are: What are the purposes of incarceration and how are we doing in achieving any of those purposes?