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Are We Protecting People by Building Prisons?

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protecting peopleIn the early days of his governorship, Arnold Schwarzenegger directed the construction of two prisons to accommodate the overcrowding. Problem was that since 1980 California has built 20 prisons but the inmate population has increased fivefold. At this rate, using this philosophy, the problem of protecting people by incarcerating others will be cured…uh…never.

Perhaps its not that we should keep following this strategic policy until every other building in the United States is a prison. Perhaps rather we should take a look at what we’re putting people into jail for and consider whether or not it’s a valid reason. There is nothing to suggest that the United States is a more criminal society than the rest of the world but we’ve just got too dang many laws.

It used to be legal to walk into a drug store and buy cocaine or heroin, then the early 20th century saw the rise of the “Progressive” movement in government, which resulted in a national war on drugs. Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal policy was the capstone on the lunacy when marijuana was deemed illegal.

The incredible violence of the drug culture is a direct result of the federal government’s attempt to eradicate it. Didn’t we learn anything from Prohibition? The only thing it did was create a herd of below-the-radar speakeasies. Take away the illegality of drug use/sales and the profit motive largely goes away. But the Fed continues to create crime and overfill our prisons under the auspice of protecting people from themselves.

Hmm, when was the last time we had an all out crime war between aspirin cartels?

The Holistic Survival Team

Holistic Survival

Flickr / Migraine Chick