Opinion

Easing our prison problems

What to do with those found guilty by the state of perpetuating offenses against order in ways grand and small? Officials tasked with this weighty question have historically assumed that the safety of the public would remain at risk if those who chose to act against it were allowed back into the public without several years in detention.

Individuals who commit truly heinous acts against society are assumed to hold no chance of rehabilitation and are thus sentenced to expulsion from the mainstream.

News outlets say that the prison population is growing at an unprecedented rate. More people than ever are in prison. Correctional facilities are suffering from overcrowding and violence. The sky is falling!

Everyone would find themselves far better served by an approach to the problem of prison crowding free from the emotions and vitriolic demagoguery that characterize its debate today. The U.S. needs a sensible proposal for handling social deviants. Perhaps a wider application of the death penalty would find favor among certain segments of the population, but humans are too costly to kill. Our government could not afford such a solution and all the finely honed sensibilities of our citizens could not stand such cruelty. No, the best solution lies not in the ending of life but in its alteration.

Those found guilty by the state of violating its laws should be given the same treatment as those who, by an act of fate, live in a place where their interests and those of the government coincide. Everyone should be treated as a criminal, and every place of residence must become a prison.

What good is it to punish actions that already have occurred? Order is already disturbed and the ideal enforcement of law is already showing its fallibility. Better instead to assume that all may violate the laws of this state, and punish them accordingly. Far better to limit human interaction than to risk the danger that comes with allowing it to run rampant. Stripping the freedom of action away from humans who can potentially use it to harm and err is the only way to ensure that our society will reach the pinnacle of safety and security for which it so dearly wishes.

Therefore all must be locked in their homes from dawn to dusk. For it is the lawbreakers, not the laws themselves, that lead to prison overcrowding. Therefore, the elimination of humanity’s ability to judge will also be the end of crime.

Andrew Hamner is a freshman majoring in journalism. He may be contacted at a.hamner@miami.edu.

April 3, 2008

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.