From the November 2007 Idaho Observer:

Diluting the inherent dangers of human factory farming

You are beginning to hear more and more about overcrowded prisons and people are asking, "Why are so many people in our prisons?"

It may seem as though a battle of competing interests is at work between "public safety" and funding, but that is only intentional deception; it is all about the money. The "gold rush" of Reaganomics is over, and the only reason the issue of crowded prisons has surfaced at all is because the crumbling economy has made federal (fiat) funding all but dry up, so the states are forced to neglect aging infrastructure to maintain the purposely bloated prison industry’s drain on actual tax dollars provided by the citizens.

Virginia has 53 prisons operating at double the rated capacity or more, while prison staffs are at ½ to ¾ of rated normal capacity requirements. Guards work double shifts and overtime regularly for compensation not worth the circumstances. A few make a career of "corrections" while many find being paid to keep undeserving people imprisoned under appalling conditions an insurmountable moral dilemma and quit. The ones who do stay on are either indifferent the moral considerations and/or enjoy the power and some stay on hoping to make confinement a little less bad for the prisoners.

But how can you stuff two times as many "bad people" in boxes without putting ¾ the needed staff in extreme jeopardy? Well, you can’t. How dangerous would it be for staff if only dangerous people were put in prison? If only truly dangerous people were put in prison, the people who guard those prisoners would be in extreme mortal danger constantly, so a "buffer" is needed to dilute the danger.

By diluting the minority (though still plenty) of truly dangerous people within a majority of inappropriately punished, wrongly convicted victims of unconstitutional law and process (and just plain innocent people who are not only not dangerous, but are seriously disadvantaged by the fact that they are completely non-violent) the danger factor for the staff is greatly minimized and diverted elsewhere. Too many, especially the younger convicts, assimilate and adapt out of necessity and end up transformed into "career outlaws," and the crime rate stats climb despite "getting tough" on crime.

You hear of the suspension of habeas corpus and think it only pertains to Guantanamo detainees. You hear about the "checks and balances system" and think it is real and protects you, the citizen, from malicious prosecutions and wrongful convictions. But the reality is that unless you are wealthy or the media takes notice of your dilemma, you will find yourself in no different position than a POW in a foreign land—your voice will be heard by no one and no one is going to hear or acknowledge the wrong being done to you.

This is not speculation, exaggeration, gossip, or guess work. I know because I am living it. I have already spent more time in prison (since September 15, 2003) than most of the rapists, child molesters, and murderers I have seen on the news and watched come and go while I remain here. And I could have avoided more than half of this prison time if my integrity had allowed me to be coerced into admitting guilt where guilt did not exist. But then I would have to live with myself as a coward who allowed repugnant garbage in illicit authority to force me to commit treason against my very soul to spare myself the threatened extension of physical discomfort/mental torture that I neither earned nor deserved to begin with—I couldn’t do that.

Yes, I learned the law and proved my innocence after the fact of kangaroo conviction, but what good is proof if no one acknowledges it?

Money has much influence on injustice and false justice is often awarded to the wealthy. Ironically, proper justice also requires money and it may soon be the lack of money which helps to assure some measure of truth in justice—as injustice becomes too expensive!

Richard Keller

Mitchells, Virginia

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