As the mainstream media fuels class envy and schadenfreude in the proletariat over Miss Hilton’s hysterics, I have yet to hear anyone point out what a foolish waste jail sentences are for petty crime. They do little to ‘correct’ people, do little to protect the public safety, are expensive, inefficient, and unnecessary due to technological advances.
Can’t judges be creative? Wouldn’t it make more sense to make Paris shovel shit at the police horse stables? Maybe she could do something useful like give old men sponge baths at a local nursing home. Serving 45 days in an overcrowded LA county jail for driving without a license clearly limits space needed for dangerous criminals.
How wasteful to fill our jails with petty criminals, when we can easily put them on house arrest using an ankle bracelet GPS.
The reverend Al Sharpton, who made it a racial issue, asks that Miss Hilton be treated the same way poor minorities are treated when they are sentenced for petty crimes. But, instead shouldn’t he be asking that poor minorities be treated like Miss Hilton? Instead of asking the authorities to bring the hammer down on her, shouldn’t he be asking our leaders to quit hammering poor young people for petty offenses? How does a Billionaire’s presence in the LA County pokey benefit the millions of poor people rotting in jail cells across our nation?
If this situation causes us to question why we keep throwing young people into these hellholes for minor rebellion, then it does serve a purpose, but if few ask that question, it serves no purpose other than to strengthen the police state.
Demanding fairness in sentencing rarely results in improvements for the poor. Such demands have resulted in mandatory minimums, sending our prison population to record levels.
In a 1990 landmark case in Minnesota, Judge Pamela Alexander (Word File) found that mandatory sentences for possession of crack cocaine were three times as harsh for 1/3 as much powdered cocaine. Since 90% of defendants for crack cocaine possession were black and 90% of defendants for powder cocaine possession were white, she found the sentencing guideline racist. I agree with Judge Pamela Alexander. But, how did the legislature remedy this injustice? Did they reduce the sentence for crack cocaine? No, they increased the sentence for powdered cocaine sending our prison population soaring. Did the poor benefit? No. Her victory did nothing to reduce the numbers of minority offenders sentenced to prison.
So what is my point?
Instead of taking glee in Paris Hilton’s misery, shouldn’t we use this as an example of why we should end this stupidity for everyone – rich and poor… and why we should ask for reduced sentences for all non-violent crimes – for all people – regardless of race or economic class. This – “Ha, good, the rich tramp deserves it. Lock her up” – thinking is how we got to this point – a point where we have millions of people behind bars.
Not only is the war on drugs and the war on terror erasing our civil liberties, there is also a war on young people, and Paris Hilton is simply the latest casualty. The propaganda machine just couldn’t resist.