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Repeat Felons on the Loose: Their Next Target Could Be You
Can you really put a price on your family’s safety and peace of mind? Ten dollars, twenty, fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a million? To me, none of these numbers can compare to having a feeling of peace at night when I rest my head. This feeling might go away very soon because of our state elected officials and their decision to release many convicts early. The mass release of convicts from the Kentucky State jails happens to be a very bad idea because even though we may be saving money now, the price later could be much greater, jails are a place for punishment and not rehabilitation, and allowing dangerous criminals to walk the streets would lesson the safety of all Kentucky’s citizens. I believe this is a topic that needs to be discussed and rethought. If we put a rush on it, we might make a bad, history altering choice.
First off, I would like to talk about how saving money now doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t have to pay that back and possibly more in the very near future. Saving tax dollars may sound like a very good idea right now, but think of all the physical and emotional damage a group of convicts could create. If they committed a crime once, who’s to say they won’t commit the same crime again, if not worse? These people have not been put through correctional activities most of the time. They have been punished. This could mean that they would still be very willing to go out and commit the exact same crime again.
Think of someone who robbed a bank. This cost the bank money and in turn it made it so the bank’s customers couldn’t get the money that they own out of their account. This costs the government money because they insure the banks. This takes money away from new roads, technological advancements, medical research, and school funds.
Think of a little five year old girl walking up to her mother and asking if she can go play on her scooter. The mother answers, “No. Not today,” and the little girl starts crying. She can’t go out and play because a sex offender who was let out early just moved down the street. This has ruined the family’s peace of mind. Truthfully, I feel we would lose a great deal more than we would gain by going through with this. The price is too great. It wouldn’t be worth it.
In my second argument, I’d like to point out that what goes on inside a jail is mostly punishment related and not correctional. Jails are not rehabilitation centers. They focus mainly on punishing people for what they did wrong. Now I’m not saying punishment doesn’t always correct people. Sometimes it does. But I’d like to point out, that these are full grown adults, not teachable babies. Their mother’s have taught them their lessons with timeouts and apparently, that didn’t quite work. Punishment doesn’t always work to correct people’s ways. Plus, these criminals are stuck with other criminals. They aren’t with your Everyday Joe. They still get into fights and the people they socialize with have done drugs, robbed stores, committed sexually offensive crimes, and even killed people. They are hanging out with people who think it’s perfectly fine to do whatever it is they did. This probably doesn’t help make them better people. Jails need to become more remedial in their actions to stop these convicts from becoming repeat offenders before they decide to let out massive numbers of convicts.
I would also like to state that I feel strongly that we would be eliminating the safety of all Kentucky’s citizen’s. Having criminals walking the streets with the normal everyday citizen… Wow! I think that’s crazy. Can you imagine walking into Wal*Mart, just a grocery trip, and Wal*Mart being robbed by one of these convicts? That would rob you of your piece of mind! You would feel totally unsafe! You’d have that experience in your mind for the rest of your life, haunting you. But wait! What if the criminal pulled out a gun? What if he was shooting? What if he shot you? Then, not only would you be robbed of your peace of mind, you’d be badly hurt, or even dead! Is saving a few tax dollars really worth that? Can you seriously put your life and the lives of loved ones at risk for a couple dollars? I don’t believe a person can truly put a price on their safety and peace of mind. I believe the government’s job, first and foremost is to keep it’s people safe. If they fail to do that by caring out actions like these, then what can we expect from them? Do they truly reach the standards we elected them for reaching? I don’t think so!
It’s a fact that 56% of violent felons are repeat offenders. 18% of these repeat offenders were on parole, while 7% were on probation. These are the some of the same situations we would be putting these criminals in when we released them. Don’t you think that’s a tad bit scary? Also, there has been a 75% increase in the number of convicted repeat felons since 1996. It is good that these people have been caught, but we’re letting lots of these people out on the streets again to save money. That’s another scary statistic.
Now some people out there may be thinking, “Our state will go broke if we don’t save money somewhere!” This is a very true statement, but there are many alternatives to releasing a large amount of criminals. What if we placed small factories inside jails and had the convicts work for a paycheck. This paycheck would go to their room and board. That way, it wouldn’t be coming out of our tax dollars. We could also renovate old buildings into new jails. This would cost money at one time, but with the population of criminals rising, we should spend the money now and not later, when we’ll need it direly. We could put some of the non-violent criminals on job release. We would let them out and give them around a month to two months to find a job. All they would be allowed to do is go to work and stay home. This isn’t giving them complete freedom, but it is better than jail. These are just a few alternatives I could think of. There are many more that are safer and still don’t cost excessive amounts of money. We could surely use one or more of these while saving lives and money!
Right now, as I’m about to close this speech, I want to mention a few things you could do to help this cause. You could write your local government officials and let them know how you feel. If enough people write, they will realize the mistake they are making. You could also start a petition. Go around your neighborhood and get signature. Take it to work with you. Leave it posted at local hang-outs like Starbucks and Wal*Mart. The more people you get to sign, the better! If we get enough people to sign for our cause, we just might get to our government! You could bring together people in a peaceful protest in Frankfort. This could help make them realize how serious we are about our cause. There are many more ways that I haven’t listed, too. Anyway you can think of to help, do it! Anything you do to help this cause, no matter how small, is great!
So, now that we’ve looked at the facts and the ways to help, let’s wrap things up. The government is trying to release a mass amount of convicts to save money. This is dangerous and should be stopped. It will eventually cost more than we wanted to save, our jails are for punishment, not correction, and the safety of our citizens is the price we pay for lower taxes. Does it really sound like such a great idea now? I didn’t think so! So get out there and take a stand! Fight for what you believe is right! Don’t let the decisions of our government harm you! Do you really want our future’s youth to be wounded by what we do today?
Organized Crime Digest. January 13, 2009.
Repeat Offender Prosecution Project (R.O.P.E.). January 15, 2009.