In his Dec. 22nd letter to the S.B Sun, “Wrong focus” the writer, Scott Tudehope, lashes out at everything except lack of personal responsibility; the single greatest threat to our society.
Tudehope first ridicules the Corrections’ Dept crackdown on illegal cell phones in prison. He can state no reason to allow this contraband in jails, but rather attacks the concern over their illicit presence. He chooses to ignore the fact that communication with inmates has been restricted for centuries, in all cultures, for good reason. As a way to arrange escapes, coordinate drug and weapon smuggling, target witnesses, attack criminal competitors and endanger rival gangs (not to mention prison staff), cell phones beat secret signals, coded letters and even personal contact at the fence. Increases in all of these issues have been connected with the rise of cell phones.
When Inland Newspapers responsibly supports the crackdown, Tudehope blames them too, asserting that “everyone else” is focusing on outdated facilities, food quality, prisoner health care and visitation policies. Clearly, some facilities are overcrowded or need repair, but except for outrage over wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on a few overly-cush prisons, HDTV, muscle-building equipment, law libraries, free elective surgeries and prisoners escaping during unsupervised visits and furloughs, I have never heard anyone mention such things. I have also heard complaints about prisoners’ endless (and groundless) appeals as well as suing the government over prisoners’ “rights” to particular brands of peanut butter on the taxpayers’ dime.
Tudehope moves on, whining about this brother’s point of view about his poor “prison experience”. Seriously? This is not fine dining, sir, this is jail. It is INTENDED to be as safe as possible in a population of criminals, but not entertaining or pleasant; something to be avoided. I suppose the brother might consider leaving no tip.
The writer summarizes incarceration: After booking, you realize that conviction has changed your life; correct (realizing this BEFORE the crime would prevent the whole issue). Others now control of your life and freedom is limited; check (this is the definition of prison). The routine is dull; um – duh (dealing with hundreds of people who couldn’t manage their own lives requires organization, but no activities director)! There is increased segregation; yup (inconveniently, many of the inmates wish to KILL each other based on race). The routine never changes; yes (see above). Phone calls cost $1.50 per minute and not rioting only gets you 2 FREE calls per week; right (vandalism-resistant phones, random screenings and systems to screen out threats to victims and such cost money). Lastly, “jobs” only pay $5 per day; (and the daily taxpayer cost of securing, feeding and housing each prisoner – given the high efficiency above – is over $60 per day, not counting police and court costs or the losses to victims). Is there a complaint in there?
Tudehope blames his brother’s difficulties on, “Idaho’s wonderful ‘three strikes law’ and Judge [Deborah?] Bail”. So does he mean that, though less than 1% ever go to jail for anything, his brother just couldn’t help committing an ARMED robbery (“holding up a… store”)? He also couldn’t avoid committing the TWO previous felonies on his record? Clearly, it’s the law’s fault and the judge’s fault. Now we can see why his brother would write a complaint letter about a ‘restriction of entertainment’ due to a justifiable safety regulation like ‘no unauthorized communication’, rather than on his self-destructive lifestyle or some genuine threat to his safety while in custody.
This is almost the same view, and just as absurd, as the notion that the U.S. taxpayer “owes” a free living to every citizen and (unlike every other nation in the world) every foreigner that sneaks in. Let’s focus on reality.
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