America already has one of the weakest and ineffective penal systems in the world. You don’t have to be a convict to realize that a 10 year prison term generally means 2-3 years in lock up.
In Kentucky, it could mean even less time in jail.
Like most states, the Commonwealth of Kentucky is facing a financial shortfall in their operating budget. They are trying to look to various avenues of reducing spending and one of those they decided on is the state prison system.
In a move designed to save nearly $42 million, the commonwealth will release 990 convicted felons on Tuesday and then release around 300 more each month until they reach their savings goal. If their financial savings goal is not reached until the end of 2012, Kentucky is set to give early releases to over 4,000 convicted felons.
Rather than reducing the perks and costs of housing inmates like what happened in Arizona a few years back, Kentucky has opted to tell violent criminals that they’ll be able to serve even less time there because they just can’t afford to keep them in jail.
Mind you that the inmates they are planning to release early include those that were convicted of arson, burglary, armed robbery, and even child molestation.
The victims and families of victims are in an uproar over the early release of those that perpetrated their crimes upon them. The mother of Travis White was furious over the news that at least of those involved in her son’s murder and disposal of his body was scheduled to be released tomorrow.
Commonwealth officials need to ask themselves what is the real purpose of the prison system. If it is a place of rehabilitation, statistics have proven that they have failed miserably. If the prison system is designed to punish those that commit crimes, the early release of over 4,000 violent offenders is not helping to impress that message to would be criminals.
Instead of making a complete mockery of the legal and penal system in their commonwealth, why don’t they take other measures to reduce costs and keep the violent felons behind bars? Eliminate cable television and internet access. Change the prison menu to the bare minimum necessary to provide the basic nutritional needs and get rid of more costly foods. Instead of building more prisons, put more inmates in each cell.
If they don’t like the conditions and food, then they shouldn’t be committing the crimes that get them there. Make the prisons a true place of punishment and get rid of all of the social do-gooders that keep claiming that prisoners have all these rights. I’ve seen cases where the convicted felon ended up with more rights than the victims of their crimes did and that folks is a very backwards system. As far as I’m concerned, when a person is found guilty, they lose most of their rights. Yes they have the right to file appeals, but as for their other rights, they forfeited them. It reminds me of what I’ve heard most of my life: ‘if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.’
But in Kentucky, the message being sent is: ‘do the crime and you won’t have to do the time.’