Justice system has many caught in revolving door

May 10 2012 - 3:38pm


We are all familiar with the phrase, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Could this be applied to our present justice system? Do we need to improve and update our thinking as to what is happening to our society today?

I have been working with individuals to help them get their lives back in order and have positive self-esteem. One individual I have been working with finally found employment and was doing very well in his job. His employer liked the work he was doing. He previously had some problems, and reported to court. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail.

What is blown is his self-worth. Perhaps he will be assigned to "work release," but he has to report back to the jail to spend the night and pay for his keep. It is 36 miles a day round trip. He can't drive because he has no drivers license, If he rides the bus or the train and is not back in a certain period of time, he is considered AWOL. This makes no sense to me as he was living only four blocks from his work.

The proper thing, in my opinion, would be to have given him probation, not a jail sentence, as he has proven the intentions of his heart and such change was evident. Society needs to realize that this leads to the revolving door syndrome, in which an individual is sent to jail, serves time, gets out and can't find work. He has no money to pay fines and goes back to jail, continuing a vicious circle.

I don't know where the money from fines goes, but in my opinion, it should be used to prevent a crime, rather than to collect for that crime. There is good in all individuals and we all have weaknesses. As the Savior said, "He who is without sin cast the first stone." We need programs that are set up to help those who fall by the wayside and are shunned by society. I believe jail time may be a detriment to the individual.

Jerome R. Willden



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