Non-Violent Offenders

I’ve recently gone through several years of watching my naive, but now wiser, son get pushed around by the criminal system.  He is still currently going through an extended year of a program called “Community Correction” which is basically a hyper form of probation.  This is after a two year probation, several thousands of dollars of court and lawyer fees and multitudes of fines and probation “costs”, more than a month in prison, and several mandatory classes.  He is now listed as a Felon, which carries with it the weight of not being able to rent from any corporately managed apartment complexes (97% are…), the inability to find a job without declaring that you are a felon (which many companies, even with policies preventing it, discriminate immediately) and the cultural stigma associated with the term felon.

How many people’s lives did he destroy to be labelled and harassed and force him (and myself) to lose financial standing?

Zero.

WHAT?!? How is that possible?  How could the government completely disrupt and destroy a person’s future and their current life without them impacting another person’s property or life?

Marijuana…

My son decided when he was in his teens that he would give in to peer pressure and smoke a weed that his friends were smoking.  He got caught three times with a small amount of it and where we live, that’s three strikes, you’re a felon…  Your life as a normal 19 year old with a 30 on the ACT going to a state school is over.  Because of a plant that the government has decided is dangerous to you.

This is one of the main reasons I have shifted from a limited government conservative and a one issue voter (lower my taxes) to a libertarian questioning why the government is telling us what is best for anybody.  It’s not the ONLY reason, but it is a primary one.  Basically, if I’m not stealing or hurting anybody or their property, leave me alone…

Back to my son, though.  I am grateful that I am even moderately capable of affording the costs of the gauntlet that they put him through and that he is still in.  He’s paying the majority of it, but without my resources, he would have no recourse but to go deeper into the prison system.  Poorer families would have to retreat into debt or wallow in the prison systems to even stand a chance.

There is no concept of rehabilitation and reform in the present system.  The primary goal, the ONLY goal is to make more money off of people who they can catch.  Once in the system, the ability to catch a felon with any indiscretion means that you get another year’s worth of probation money to count on…

Over the next several weeks and posts I’ll go into more detail about how the system is first and foremost a money making enterprise to feed itself.  I’m not sure how I’m going to divide and conquer the last three years of blackmail and mob-like behavior just yet, but i’ll try to give it some logic.