Our Prison System Has Some Not-So-Secret Problems

Our Prison System Has Some Not-So-Secret Problems

How the prison system fails to protect citizens inside and outside of bars.

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On August 21st, inmates in prisons across the country commenced a strike which is quickly becoming one of the most prolific prison strikes of the modern era. The demonstrations, which are slated to run until the 9th of September, mark the one year anniversary of a bloody uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility in New York, which left several inmates dead. Striking tactics during the demonstration period have included refusal to work, and in some cases refusal to eat, also known as a hunger strike.

One of the highest priorities of the inmates is the securing of a fair wage for their labor. Prison laborers are often underpaid for the work they do, which included prison chores, basic trades, and sometimes dangerous tasks. According to Vox, some California prisoners have been voluntarily recruited to help combat wildfires during the state's worst season in history. These firefighters are paid a minuscule wage of $1 per hour plus $2 per day, far below the pay grade of a civilian firefighter.

On one hand, I sympathize with many of these prisoners' aims, and if I were in their situation, I would certainly feel as if I was being treated unfairly. On the other hand, I recognize that these men have committed crimes against their counties, states, and even the federal government. The fact that their labor is compensated at all could be considered an undue kindness. As a whole, however, I believe that the US prison system is in dire need of reform. Generally, prisons should only serve the purpose of restraining individuals who pose an immediate danger to themselves, others, and society. Nonviolent offenders, even those convicted of federal crimes like counterfeiting and fraud, have no place within correctional facilities.

This is not to suggest that justice not to be served. In any functional society, individuals who break the law must be punished, and justice must be upheld. All I mean is that jail time is not an ideal punishment for individuals who pose no danger to average citizens. Not only does it fail to dissuade these offenders in any way, the cost of housing these prisoners is a drain on the American taxpayer and country as a whole. I am no legal expert, and certainly not creative enough to envision punishments suitable for various crimes-such a thing is for judges and lawmakers to decide.

Whatever the crime and following consequences, reformed prisoners should be able to live normally after they have paid their debts to society. Too often, ordinary citizens are turned into criminals by the prison system, which makes no distinction between people who have committed acts of horrendous violence and individuals who made mistakes, broken the rules, but wish to simply atone for their actions and move on. The dangerous prison conditions and lack of focus on rehabilitation lead many to dive deeper into a life of crime, often ending in extended sentences and repeat offenses.

We all know this to be true within our cities and communities. For years, It's been an unspoken truth that the US prison system currently harms far more people than it helps. I am unsure how effective these strikes may be in reforming such a rooted and gargantuan system in the short term, but I am confident that with continued determination on the part of inmates, activists, and rational citizens, the prison system will slowly make strides towards justice for people on both sides of the prison walls.

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Why Ocasio-Cortez Is Unfit For Office

For many of the same reasons as Donald Trump.

Kentaro
Kentaro
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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's meteoric ascension to elected office was as much of an awakening to the Democrats as was the election of Donald Trump. They too were not immune to the American people's frustration with the current status quo. Unfortunately, for both Democrats and Republicans alike, this has led to the election of polarizing figures with little backgrounds in politics and a commitment to alternative truths.

Ocasio-Cortez considers herself a Democratic Socialist and is out of touch with reality as much as her idol Bernie Sanders was. Socialist countries past (USSR, East Germany, Vietnam) and present (China) were/are rife with corruption. The socialist utopia which Ocasio-Cortez envisions will be the death of small American business unable to pay the high taxes required to support her platform, which includes Medicare and housing for all. Furthermore, her platform contains a proposal to tax Wall Street to fund public universities and trade schools (her childish thought process probably consisted of Wall Street = stocks = money = something I can tax), and a proposal to abolish ICE and demilitarize the police — besides being incredibly idiotic, a proposal feeding on the misguided anger some American have for our brave law enforcement officers who risk their lives on a daily basis to keep us safe. Our government is in 17 trillion dollars of debt because of its inability to manage money, and Ocasio-Cortez is telling us to give them more. It's appalling and scary someone so out of touch with reality was elected.

Ocasio-Cortez apparently loves alternative truths and lies as much as Donald Trump. Her most recent claim was that 66 percent of her Medicare proposal would have covered by the Pentagon's accounting errors, which total somewhere in the neighborhood of 21 trillion dollars. Looking closely at the article which she cited as the basis of her claims, it becomes clear she did not read or comprehend the article in its entirety and is living in her own fantasy land. The 21 trillion dollars is the sum of all the transactions where the same dollar could have been transferred between multiple accounts multiple times. In fact, the Pentagon hasn't even spent 21 trillion dollars in its existence. Ocasio-Cortez has also said ICE has a quota to detain 34,000 people a day, again another case of her living in her own fantasy land and acknowledging a half-truth. ICE is required to maintain — not fill — 34,000 beds by the DHS Appropriations Act of 2016. Ocasio-Cortez has said many more alternative facts, but I have neither the time nor the desire to bore you and analyze them all.

It's incredibly sad honesty and integrity have no place in American politics. Electing officials who have no commitment to the hard truths will destroy our American values and everything we hold dear. May God help this country.

Kentaro
Kentaro

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