For the first time in history, a sitting President of the United States is going to visit a prison, yes, Obama takes on the prison system.
What took so long?
Why this action has taken so long to happen is obvious to anyone familiar with politics and the criminal justice system. American prisons are a cash cow for private industry and government. The U.S., houses 25% of all the prisoners on the planet Earth. These numbers are abysmal and clearly shows an institution out of control. The prison population has blown up due to two primary factors, the “Three Strikes You’re Out” laws, and mandatory sentencing. Pile on the amount of gross corruption in the courts and correctional facilities by both staff and inmates, and you have this recipe for abomination that costs around $80 billion plus a year.
The U.S. Criminal Justice System is the problem
Something had to be done about it. The problem has continued for far too long. Massive amounts of the population have been through the criminal justice system and it has bed a subculture of tens of millions of Americans who are now registered criminals to one degree or another. Now, President Obama is taking a great risk in addressing the issue and seeking reforms to lessen the populations of the prisons, allow for rehabilitation of criminals so that they can regain their basic rights such as voting and not being discriminated against in employment, housing, and finance. It’s a big leap forward and it appears he has the momentum to do it. Even the Republicans are showing support, and the only opposition will be the system itself as that massive revenue it pulls in will be jeopardized.
Nothing to fear
It doesn’t need to be a disaster. Former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich has proposed a brilliant plan to convert the present system into one of productivity, compassion, and effectiveness. By getting former inmates back into the society, it leads to less resources from more vital areas and would boost government efficiency considerably. If a sound foundation for these reforms is established now, and a Democrat wins the next election, we’ll see changes on a monumental scale.
Will it work?
Only time will tell. The sheer magnitude of problems in the criminal justice system seems a daunting series of tasks to overcome. Corrupt officials and officers, organized crime, a multi-billion dollar black market for drugs, contraband, murder, extortion. These things will be upended and not to the liking of those who make their ill gotten living from them. Obama and his teams will have to get legislation introduced and passed, work with the unions, and a hundred other issues. If a sound foundation is laid out whereby effective procedures can be followed, then it will be off to a good start.
Since this endeavor is one of not only domestic but international interest, the world will be watching to see how things fare. On the brighter side, opposition alone will reveal the true criminals behind the scenes, and from there, the government can pick them off one by one easily. America, and the world will be better for it.
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