I normally do not post about political issues or happenings. But there is one particular issue which I have been specifically disgusted and impatient with for about as long as I can remember. Growing up, I lived and went to school about 10 minutes from the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility. It is incredibly large with numerous buildings and the typical fences you would expect to find at a prison. The high school I went to was one of the smaller school systems in my district and there was no real town, therefore, no real city taxes dedicated to our small school. Our school was equipped with a full computer lab only in my sophomore year of high school. With the cinder block walls, cold temperatures were felt pretty quickly indoors. Of course there was always heat in the winter and a/c in the summer. Don't get me wrong. The obvious architectural and structural simplicities of my school had no effect on my academic success and I have no horror memories due to the building itself. Every time I would ride with my mom somewhere that required us to drive by the prison, I remember thinking that the prison looked much more kept up than my school. Sad.
I said all of that to tell you about what I read in our state newspaper this morning. We all know that many state governments are cutting budgets due to the economy. This morning in my state paper is an article about the most recent budget cuts our state governor has made. So far, the total cut tallies are as follows: K-12 Education- $195.3 M; Higher Education- $74.5 M; Department of Corrections- $26.6 M. So, total educations cuts come to $269.8 M. Total Dept. of Corrections cuts are $26.6 M. Does this strike anyone else as unbelievable, unacceptable, and just wrong? I do not know how much money is still in the budget for each department, however if cuts need to be taken, I find it ludicrous that education endures more cuts than our corrections department.
The article mentions that due to these cuts the governor is working with the department of corrections to prevent the prison system from having to release thousands of inmates. THOUSANDS!!! I'm sorry, was that a misprint? Release thousands of inmates, give our already struggling school system less money, and make it harder for young adults to go to college. This is a brilliant plan already (please note my heavy sarcasm).
Ever since I was that little girl wanting to tour the prison to see if it was nicer than my school, I have had the opinion that inmates should live in meager housing, grow their own food, and not get any real luxuries of the outside world that you and I enjoy. By luxuries, I mean they should not have access to television, magazines, gourmet meals, movies, plush beds, and cozy living conditions. Of course everyone should have access to clean, working toilet and shower facilities. However, working on a farm, with large amounts of manual labor full of tasks and goals is a much more appropriate and laborious than a day of watching TV, lifting weights, playing video games, playing games, or simply sitting in a cell. Perhaps if crops were grown on such a farm as this, they could be sold to the general public or soup kitchens or even given to the needy so that it benefits someone other than themselves and might even bring in a small profit. Wouldn't you feel that you had actually accomplished something with manual labor than just exercising and playing basketball all day? Would you think twice about committing a crime if you knew the punishment would be days on end of hard manual work outside with only the bare necessities? I just had to get that off my chest.