By Tony Casson
“Now then, I will reveal the truth to you.” Daniel 11:2a NLT
“There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.”
“The Diary Of Anais Nin, III”
Some time ago, I announced that I was working on a multi-part series on the unfortunate Culture Of Incarceration that has become so much a part of America’s identity in the past 40 years. Here at home, and throughout the world, much has been made of the fact that the land of the free has become the land of the imprisoned.
State and federal legislators enact new laws defining new crimes at an alarming rate each year. The federal government alone has created at least 452 crimes just since 2000, bringing the total of federal crimes to over 4,450. I dare not even inquire as to the number of laws there are on a state level. No one can possibly be expected to know every law and yet the Supreme Court has held that ignorance of the law is no excuse. There is only one exception to that rule and that concerns illegal campaign contributions. How ironic that the only exception to the “ignorance defense” is reserved for those who write the laws.
The more important point is that this country’s state and federal legislators take their roles as ‘lawmakers’ entirely too literally. At the behest of national, multi-national, private, and public corporations and companies, lawmakers have created so many crimes that it has been said that NO person can get through one day without breaking at least one of them.
The series you are about to read covers different aspects of America’s Culture Of Incarceration:
–“The Anatomy Of America’s Nightmare” discusses the advent of the culture partly through the formation of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
–“The Iowa State Affair” demonstrates how the unholy triangle of corporate greed, political cronyism, and a shameless disregard for humanity combine to create, and foster, the mindset that allows the Culture Of Incarceration to prosper and grow.
-Part 3 is titled “Preparing America’s Children For Prison” and discusses how many children seem to be destined from birth to become food for the prison machine.
-In parts 4, 5, and 6, I talk about the political and financial incentives to not only maintain a large prison population, but also increase it through failures in rehabilitation and education while individuals are incarcerated and with the obstacles and roadblocks confronting those who are released after serving their time.
-The final installment is called “The Worst Nightmare Of All” and outlines the additional obstacles, restrictions, and prejudices that face those convicted of ‘sex offenses’ – regardless of the nature of their crime – upon their release.
I will take this opportunity to apologize in advance for any shortcomings or inadequacies in the completeness of these reports. Time, and my own limitations, precludes anything more thorough in such a format. If the points that I DO make fall short in demonstrating that there is a frighteningly large and shameful problem facing America today, then the fault lies with me and the fact that I am not a writer or a journalist. I am just a man in prison trying to make those who care to take the time to read aware of the broad scope, and depth, of this national tragedy perpetrated in the name of justice, but executed mainly for profit.
In the near future, I will be adding supplemental articles regarding constructive rehabilitation, how to remove the obstacles facing felons as they try to reenter society and how this is to society’s advantage, and I will also try to demonstrate more adequately the horrors of this nation’s sex offender registry as it exists today, why it is an embarrassment to this country, and how it can better achieve it’s intended purposes.
All of that said, I invite you to share my thoughts, to share your own, and – if you feel there is any merit to any of this – share it with others. To quote an old friend in the restaurant business, “If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn’t, please don’t tell ANYONE!”