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56 Cent People

28 Nov

56 Cent People

No, it’s not a political sign. It defines safe travel not political persuasions. I think, though, it might encourage us to do “the right thing” as we dance and stumble through life. To do “the right thing” means one is informed by values, ethics, moral principles, or religious beliefs…or all of them. Values drive behavior.

That’s true in this morning’s news report about the sheriff in Maricopa County, Arizona, who has decided to save money in his budget by reducing the cost of the Thanksgiving meal given inmates to 56 cents per person. Do you know what you get for 56 cents per person? Not much. Some soy mixture, the article said. I think I’ll pass, thank you.

Nobody believes inmates ought to be treated like guests at the Hilton. Too many believe they ought to be humiliated and treated as if less than human until they’re turned back onto the streets repentant and rehabilitated. So in the name of saving money in the budget, let’s diminish their humanity even more and reminded them again and again that they are worth 56 cents on Thanksgiving Day.

The fallacy of letting inhumane values drive rehabilitation is that the anger and even rage produced by such money-saving brilliance, pent up in months or years of jail time and aimed at any form of authority, explode again on society when the cell door is opened and the 56 cent person is back in contact with the rest of us.

I’ve heard it said that prisons, where dignity and human values are lost, can become the best training grounds for deeper hatred and more violent behavior. Those places become school houses for violence. Maybe the wise philosopher of the comic strip, Pogo, got it right: “We have met the enemy and he is us!”

2 Responses to “56 Cent People”

  1. 14250sc January 18, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    Sad but true…

  2. Joey February 28, 2014 at 3:25 am #

    This makes me ashamed of some people. Imnates are equally as human, they only are being punished for wrong doings. This type of treatment is not part of their deserved punishment.

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