Most of what I write is likely to be revolutionary and a bit extreme for some of you. If I can at least make you think “outside the box” then that is good enough for me. For too many years the American people have essentially been given two sides to the same coin. I want to show that we need not even use this coin, that there are plenty of other options available to us. All I ask is that you keep an open mind to what I profess and ask as many difficult questions as you can come up with. Ultimately it is up to each and every one of us to make up our own minds.
For today I thought I would discuss a topic which I think we can all more or less agree on. Our prison system is overly crowded and is a drain on our society. Unfortunately I am writing this away from my office so I do not have adequate research capabilities but I am fairly positive the U.S. prison system is one of the largest on a per capita basis.
A large prison population by itself is not necessarily a bad thing; it simply implies a lawless society. But when the population gets so enormous that it begins to be a drag on society, the only logical option is to reconsider the reasons why some of these persons are being sent there in the first place. The government has found it necessary, for some reason unknown to me, to prohibit certain activities and products which in and of themselves are only harmful to the person undertaking the action or utilizing the product. If a society truly wishes to be free, it must demand that the government allow individuals to make choices which can harm them. A law purporting to protect one from oneself is no more than a restriction on individual liberty.
One excellent example of this is the so-called War on Drugs. Americans love their wars and this is no exception. The government has found it necessary to prohibit the use of a variety of plants and chemicals which produce a wide range of effects depending on the particular product. Despite the abundance of research to the medical necessity of at least one of these products, the government refuses to even consider the fact that it might be fueling the violence and lawlessness it is striving to prevent.
A simple review of the Roaring 20’s with the mafia and various whiskey runners will show to anyone with an open mind that drug prohibition cannot work. The prohibition itself does virtually nothing to the demand itself and in some cases even increases demand. The lack of legal dispensaries forces a consumer to search for an illicit dealer. Once a transaction has been processed, neither party has any legal recourse for fraud and other such incidents. The only recourse for these individuals is violence.
Without open market competition, the prices demanded for these products are highly elevated. With high prices for disposable goods used generally by low income individuals comes more lawlessness in the form of theft. It has been pointed out to me that even many legal drugs are expensive which has given way to cases of patients stealing objects to finance their drug purchases. While this is certainly the case, this is not a valid argument for the continued prohibition of certain substances. The high prices of many drugs are due simply to the governmental grant of exclusivity via patent law. Common drugs such as aspirin are extremely cheap.
Again, due to the illegal nature of these substances transportation becomes a costly and dangerous venture. A quick search on the internet will find hundreds if not thousands of cases where drug runners have destroyed crops, killed animals, ruined equipment and even hurt or killed citizens. With legalization, these products would be grown domestically or transported through inspection points in commercial trucks. All violence from the transportation would cease and the high costs would drop.
Coming back to the main topic, the large percentage of drug related prisoners could be released. This would create an enormous relief on the straining prison system. Before I continue, people will complain that there will be too much violence if we legalize drugs. My question for these people is how will this new level of violence compare with the current level? Most of these drugs are no more dangerous than alcohol; a drug which causes untold damages in property and lives and yet remains legal.
Continuing with the prison problem, we find our population nicely reduced. Every single American (with exception to those leeches on government subsidies) is forced to provide for their own shelter, food, clothing, entertainment and whatever other needs they may have. Prisoners do not pay for shelter. They do not pay for their meals or cable television. A gym membership can be rather costly depending on your location but prisoners do not pay a dime for theirs. I would suggest billing prisoners for their amenities.
Many people will say this is cruel and unusual punishment. How? Is it cruel and unusual for every other American to pay for these items? The only difference between the people in prison versus the people without is their adherence to law. Those in prison have broken a law and for some reason are given free room and board for their efforts. How does this make sense?
Numerous prisons allow the inmates to work in order to have some money upon finishing their sentence. I say give them the opportunity to work so they can pay their bill at the end of the month as every single other American must do. Prisons could virtually pay for themselves.