Monday, February 21, 2011

Wrongful incarceration in the USA - how many more?

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Incarceration is a senseless act. The only justification for incarcerating people is to protect members of the community. The role of prison is to rehabilitate people. If people are irredeemable, it is because:
1. Our understanding of psychology has not progressed to a state where people are healthy. This is not surprising given that psychology is only 100 years old, people still accept a lot of the crap Freud wrote, and people still believe in ghosts and gods.
2. Society did not act soon enough. The reality is that the system only starts taking an interest in people when they do something wrong. i.e. Until you break the law, the system ignores you, and after you breach the law, it dispenses with you. It is a sad society because there is utterly no objectivity involved. The laws are arbitrary, justice is under-resourced, and society so compartmentalised that it services only the majority which sustains and legitimatises its existence.

I want to draw your attention to this woman - Pamela Smart. She was convicted in the 1980s for the killing of her estranged husband. The situation is that she was at a low point, she was paradoxically mentoring kids through a self-esteem program. She befriends a 16yo boy, who given we have established that he had low self-esteem, was also a vulnerable member of society. The prosecution did a 'plea bargain' with the three boys involved, her boyfriend, another boy who supplied the gun, and they got off on a light '2nd degree' sentence by fingering her with a 'conspiracy to kill'. This is silly. They are out of prison, and she did not even push the trigger. There is no evidence to suggest she even knew about the murder. These boys today, 20 years later, have no reason to come clean, since their lighter sentence depends on now being honest. Listening to the 'taped conversations' there is critical evidence....there is only the flawed thinking in the jury. This is why juries ought not to be sentencing people. Critical thinking is a skill scarcely found in society, and yet ordinary members of society are able to convict - to sentence a person to life in prison - and we deny then another trial because the resources are not available. It costs $100,000 a year to keep a person in prison. This person has spent 20 years in jail for a short period of vulnerability. Visit the Pamela Smart website.

The timing of this trial was a period in which juries were not sequestered from public attention. The media at the time were all over this story. She was spurned by the media who referred to her as 'a black widow'. One can imagine all the self-righteous Christians spurning her from the stairs of the court house. Child molestation is not murder. Twenty years for the boys that really did it strikes me as too long as well; but what might they have learned from the system; that its practical to deceive the court, that lying is practical. So we have unjustly convicted a person, whilst rewarding three others for lying throughout their 20 years in prison. Who do you think has the greater probability of convicting - the three liars or the wrongfully convicted woman who has obtained a Masters degree, and remains a productive member of society 'in prison'. You might well argue that she is afforded a productive life in prison...why shouldn't she stay there. That is not your decision to make. Just as voting in a democracy for these unaccountable politicians to impose their silly, arbitrary laws upon others is not your right. That is tyranny. Democracy is legitimatised tyranny. The majority is usually wrong because they are the sheep that will follow the loudest whistle.

Irrespective of the fact that she was found guilt, she has since become a mentor for all those incarcerated in her prison facility. She has achieved two Masters degrees whilst in prison. She has the support of Dr Eleanor Pam as well as Oprah.
Andrew Sheldon

ConvinceMe.Net - Anyone up for a debate?