Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crappy prisons

So I read Hali's blog about a man named Marvin Wilson who was executed despite the fact that he was found mentally incapacitated. The blog continues to call for a reformation of the way Texas uses the death penalty, and says that currently it's use is a little out of control. Even though Wilson's case might be a little iffy, I can definitely agree with the fact that as a state, Texas favors the death penalty way more than it should. But, excessive executions are just symptoms of a fairly crappy prison system. Rick Perry heavily supported the privitization of state prisons, turning state institutions into privately run and owned corporations who specialize in keeping criminals locked up. These prisons get paid by the Texas government for each criminal they hold. This turns criminals, who are in fact people no matter how deranged, into a commodity. Money is made from keeping criminals in prison. The whole notion of rehabilitation has been completely lost, and this system doesn't really give an imprisoned criminal any other choice but to stay a criminal. This dehumanization of prisoners, along with the vicious cycle that keeps them behind bars, makes the death penalty a little easier for Texans to handle ethically, simply because in Texas, once you're a criminal you're always a criminal. And let's not forget how much tax money is being wasted paying room and board for prisoners that are doomed to be forever part of the justice system. In my opinion, fix the prison system first, and create a platform to call for death penalty reformation after. Maybe education incentives are the way to go, offering sentences of degree requirements instead of hard time. Maybe the state needs to fund some additional research. Either way, Texas prisons are criminal factories, creating the general public opinion that criminals are not people, and should just be executed. 

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