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Sat Feb 16, 2013, 01:47 PM

One of my neighbors is a drunk.

One of my neighbors is a drunk.

He is also a kind, and intelligent person, and he worries about his son—and others—who are in jail. He does not, at least so far as I am aware, assert their innocence, but rather worries and argues about inhumane conditions in the jail, and about denial of necessary, medical, psychological, and rehabilitative services for those imprisoned.

Sane people should share his concerns. We are talking of a local jail, not prison. Therefore, with possible exceptions, most of the people incarcerated there will be getting out in a matter of—usually months. Therefore, irrespective of highly appropriate concerns for these inmates themselves, an intelligent local community should be concerned about maltreating minor criminals for a period of months and then turning them loose without having helped them to recover from the problems that got them sent to jail while they were in jail.

What answer can I give this man?

He would really like me to sue the county, or the local Tribe, or the State, or somebody to try to force the provision of humane conditions and appropriate treatment for the jailees. He bemoans the fact that the local attorneys (likely including me when he is speaking to others) do nothing. He is probably unaware that Congress has—as a condition of providing even the most minimal funding for legal services—prohibited legal services corporations from suing local governments about such things as jail conditions.

He is probably quite right that conditions are very bad. I don’t know whether he takes the next logical step to argue that deprivation of services to jailees harms not only them, but also the community. His primary concern seems to be for those imprisoned, and as stated above that is highly appropriate.

But if we are not concerned about such persons, then how can we claim to be concerned about the communities to which they will soon return?

18 replies, 2007 views

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Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply One of my neighbors is a drunk. (Original post)
existentialist Feb 2013 OP
LiberalEsto Feb 2013 #1
Animal Chin Feb 2013 #2
patrice Feb 2013 #4
HereSince1628 Feb 2013 #5
patrice Feb 2013 #3
classof56 Feb 2013 #15
patrice Feb 2013 #16
upi402 Feb 2013 #6
FarCenter Feb 2013 #7
Comrade Grumpy Feb 2013 #8
rhett o rick Feb 2013 #9
FarCenter Feb 2013 #11
MannyGoldstein Feb 2013 #12
Comrade Grumpy Feb 2013 #13
rhett o rick Feb 2013 #14
Enrique Feb 2013 #18
Bluenorthwest Feb 2013 #10
ReRe Feb 2013 #17


Response to existentialist (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 02:41 PM

2. What does his being a drunk have to do with anything?

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Response to Animal Chin (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 02:43 PM

4. Perhaps he is in pain. nt

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Response to Animal Chin (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 02:49 PM

5. And what implicit linkage hides here-- "Sane people should share his concerns"?

The opposite of sane is insane. Does the op really mean to say that persons with alcohol addiction should be considered insane?

Is this some sort of strange anachronism of legalese?

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Response to existentialist (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 02:41 PM

3. I would try to get him to look at the Families Against Mandatory Minimums model and

find just one other INVOLVED person to form a working dyad with to ask questions and seek answers about how the FAMM model http://www.famm.org/ can be scaled down to address their situation in the way, with the focus, that they want to give it.

The reason I suggest FAMM as a model is because I have seen them work in the neighborhoods themselves, where they were doing what amounts to naturalistic research, collecting that actual facts given them by the people affected by the minimum sentencing guidelines.

There is NO substitute for that one by one, face to face, commitment to SHARED work and goals.

Once that much is established even just between your neighbor and one other involved person, once the concrete personal commitments are established and some way of working together is identified along with the simplest most basic goals, such as collecting and documenting the stories of the persons like your neighbor's son, then they should begin their broader social presence by means of Facebook and Twitter, at least, and eventually the rest of the internet too, though they should caution themselves about what a time-sink the internet CAN be, so they're going to need to balance that with actual concrete service WITH, collaboratively with, those whom they are trying to help and to empower to help themselves.

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Response to patrice (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:52 PM

15. Thank you for this link.

Won't go into detail, but my heart is breaking for a relative who at 16 was sentenced to 16 years in prison for inappropriate activity with his stepsister when he was 13. He is mentally and emotionally challenged and as much as I appreciate the care and attention he's received in a juvenile facility, I shudder to think what will happen when he's moved to the "Big House". I can only shake my head in despair for him and all the others who are caught in this trap we call "justice".

Blessings.

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Response to classof56 (Reply #15)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:00 PM

16. FAMM are some seriously dedicated people, but maybe someone there can talk to

you about how they do what they do . . . ?

I hope.

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Response to existentialist (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 02:53 PM

6. The prison industrial complex

is run by criminals.

my .02

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Response to existentialist (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 02:57 PM

7. A main purpose of jail is to make you not want to go back to jail.

He should counsel his son to not do whatever got him into jail when he gets out.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:20 PM

8. Jails are supposed to have minimum standards.

The main purpose of jail is deprivation of liberty, not making prisoners miserable.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:43 PM

9. Man that is sad. If that were the case then beats would be in order.

We would want a system that helps people get on the correct track. Making it miserable in jail does not keep people from going back. They go back because they have a problem that we are not helping them fix.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #9)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:53 PM

11. No, they go back because they continue to do criminal activity.

Being put in jail is punishment. See for example:

Punishment for Criminal Offenses

http://www.abc.virginia.gov/facts/punish.html

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #11)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:10 PM

12. But it's tough to make a life for one's self with a record

People with clean records go years without getting work. Have a record? Much worse.

Much easier to walk the straight and narrow with a job and a future.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #11)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:12 PM

13. You appear far distant from the realities of the US criminal justice system.

Are you unaware of the huge racial disparities in the criminal justice system?

Did you not read the "school to prison pipeline" threads posted here recently?

Did you know we arrested about 1.5 million people for drug offenses last year, 90% of them for simple possession?

Did you know the number of wealthy people in jail or prison is very tiny?

It must be nice to live in a simple, black and white world.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #11)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:14 PM

14. Of course. No argument there. So jails arent very good at reducing recidivism.

We as a society fails these people. We choose to pay for there continued trips to jail instead of investing in fixing their problems.

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Response to FarCenter (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:05 PM

18. too flippant a response

imho

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Response to existentialist (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:46 PM

10. The line that stands out from the OP is this 'He is probably quite right that conditions are very

bad'. Probably? You are an attorney defending clients who go to those jails and you don't really know the conditions? Did Congress pass a law that you are not allowed to be look?
I join the man in including you on that list of apathetic attorneys. Sorry. You should at least know the conditions as you are part of the system. Are the only choices for you to litigate or do nothing? Are you prohibited from speaking out about what you know, from writing editorials, going to the media, from speaking to faith oriented groups?

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Response to existentialist (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:03 PM

17. Story...

My Mom was one of those "good" church ladies. Most in her church were hypocrites, but there was this one fellow. Owned a Jewelry Store in a larger town nearby. Mom liked him, because he visited the jail regularly and "ministered" to them. He would take them a little New Testament Bible and just shoot the bull with them. He took them magazines or books if they wanted them, even cigarettes or cigars (as they were allowed.) Any small thing they wanted and were allowed to have, he would take to them. And before he left, he would say a simple prayer. Even though I am not that religious, I always admired that little man for doing that. Truth be known, Mom probably gave him money to help defray the cost. She was just like that.

Jails are our modern-day dungeons. And I don't know how to answer your last question. I really don't. We have a broken prison system, and Republicans holding our society hostage. I can just imagine what they would say on the floors of Congress if someone wrote a bill to address the situation. This society is fucked, from one end to another.

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