Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Thinking would help

I got a call this week from a guy who admits he broke the law. He's on the later side of middle-aged, and was growing some wacky tobacky in his back yard. I'm not sure why people think they can get away with this stuff, but that's another story. Anyway, he got arrested and convicted. But then he got sent to prison for a couple years. That, in itself, doesn't make a lot of sense. But now you gotta hear the rest.

The man had been injured several years earlier in a snowmobile accident, and is paralyzed from the waist down. This means that he cannot get around. It also means that he has problems with bowels and his urinary tract.

Now stop to think about it for a minute.

I know that this well-meaning judge wanted to get terrible criminals off the street. But guess how many problems it might cause not only for the new prisoner, but for the current occupants of the prison and for the prison staff, to suddenly admit this man. And when you get done thinking about that, stop to think about how much more this is going to cost the state than housing a healthy human being.

The results were completely predictable.

Prisoners couldn't stand having this guy around, with all of his personal hygiene issues, and they finally took things into their own hands and beat the guy to a pulp. That was their only solution to the problem. The man recites a litany of disasters that no one should have had to experience. His punishment turned out to be much worse than the actual crime.

There has to be a better way. This is sheer stupidity.

In a case like this, it's hard to believe that anyone was thinking.

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