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Diatribe: If Going To Prison On Purpose Is The Easy Way Out, Then It Needs To Be Made More Difficult.


Apparently, “going to jail” isn’t as much of a deterrent for potential criminals as it used to be.  In fact, for far too many people, the prospect of being incarcerated can look like a vacation when compared to their actual lives.  They envision free meals, a place to sleep, healthcare, gym equipment, family visits, libraries, no rent, no bills, a job on the inside and a chance to get a GED.  One can almost understand why someone would intentionally get arrested.

Last month, an unemployed North Carolina man with no health insurance, went to a local bank and handed the teller a note asking for just one dollar and then sat on a sofa and waited for police to arrive to arrest him.  This man intentionally wanted to be arrested so that he could get medical care in prison.  He only asked for one dollar to show that his motives were medical and not monetary.  He was hoping for a three-year stay to provide the health care that he thinks he needs but, unfortunately for him, the charge of larceny (not armed robbery) is not likely to keep him behind bars for more than twelve months.  And who foots the bill?

Also last month, it was announced that a Michigan prison inmate is suing the state and its governor claiming he is being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment because the jail in which he is serving time bans pornographic materials.  The inmate filed a five-page handwritten lawsuit earlier this month in U.S. District Court.  He wants a judge to let inmates have pornographic materials along with personal televisions, video game consoles and radios.  Prison systems have authority to regulate the material that comes in and out of each facility.  Some allow “men’s magazines” and others don’t.  This guy claims that pornography-free living conditions have been used as a method of psychological warfare against prisoners in order to both destroy the morale of the inmate population and break the spirit of individual prisoners and that he is personally suffering from both sexual and sensory deprivation.  This  prisoner has filed several complaints in the past and each has been dismissed as frivolous.  Surely this complaint will be dismissed, too.

Prison is supposed to be a “bad” place.  I get the feeling that prisons are much more comfortable than they need to be.  While I certainly think detainees should be treated with dignity and fairness, it’s important to remember that these people are criminals.  There are too many types of penitentiaries and some appear to be country clubs!  Going to jail is supposed to be punishment for breaking the law … end of story.  If going to prison on purpose is the easy way out, then it needs to be made more difficult.

UPDATE 08/28/13: Oregon Homeless Man Robs A Bank So He Can Go To Jail To Access Healthcare.


From → Diatribes

One Comment
  1. Sue permalink

    The 59 year-old man who robbed the bank for health care lost his job 3 years ago, depleted his savings, then applied for Social Security and only got food stamps, no medical help.

    This was a person who was driven to do what is unthinkable to the rest of us. But no one is exempt from potential financial ruin. If he had medical conditions without insurance I can understand his hopelessness and desperation.

    This is a statement on the economy and being denied medical help through the usual channels, not “real” criminals who expect the amenities of a resort when prison should be punishment.


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