Paying For Crime

Paying for Crime - The NIA

By: Mazzetti Alexander aka The Inside Voice. An inmate in Georgia State Prison system
 
I believe we all have heard the saying, “do the crime, do the time.” But when you think about it, those who commit crimes aren’t the only ones paying for them. Initially, there are always two parties involved when a crime is committed, the offender and the offended (the victim), and their families, of course.
 
But consider a third party, those who also pay when a crime is committed- the taxpayers. From a literal perspective, it is taxpayers’ dollars used to build and maintain the prison system across the Land of the Free.
 
Most would say it’s a small price to pay for safety, security, and the locking away of dangerous criminals. But what if I told you that everyone warehoused in a prison isn’t dangerous, a career criminal, or even a bad person but are someone just like you, who instead, made a mistake or a wrong choice? What if your hard-earned dollars are spent unnecessarily on sheltering, clothing, feeding, and supervising those who were never a threat or are no longer a threat to society? Or, if I told you that other than protecting you from criminals, prison has become a lucrative business, consisting of free inmate labor, and, on the flip side, a human public storage facility?
To be honest, there isn’t much thought, effort, or money, being put into rehabilitation, education, or real world job skills. No wonder recidivism is high. Moreover, alongside of taxpayers, family members of the incarcerated are paying hard earned cash to hear the voices of their loved ones, to see the faces of their loved ones, to fill the bellies of their loved ones, and to comfort their loved ones showing their love and support at a very high price. Not to exclude that there are more people being incarcerated with much longer sentences than in time’s past, necessitating increased tax rates, on top of the money being spent by prisoner’s loved ones. Those dollars just keep adding up.
 
But how do you benefit from this? Well, you don’t, but someone does. You would think that your money would go beyond keeping people locked up, that it would also prepare inmates to be law-abiding tax paying citizens once they are released. Clearly that is not the case. With all of this money involved, especially yours, doesn’t it make you wonder when sentences get longer for crime who’s actually in mind to pay for it offenders, their family members, or taxpayers? I believe the answer would be all the above. Unfortunately, you pay, also. Then my next question would be, “who’s getting paid?”