Vengeance is Profitable, Stay Out of This, God
Robert H. Outman, Prisoner P-79939
Over 150 years ago, literary and philosophical icon Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote, "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons." Today, few know what happens within the high walls and lethal electric fences surrounding modern prisons. Those maintaining prisons rely on well groomed masters in public relations, who are careful not to affront society's expectations, to carry their messages and assurances.
In reality, by Dostoyevsky's measure, civilization of today's society is little worthy of pride. At 5% of the world's population, the United States houses 25% of the world's prisoners, and disgracefully leads all civilized nations in punishing old men to death. On any given day, one can see thousands of old men limping about prison yards with canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. Younger men, bearing the yoke of brutally long sentences, are permeated in rancor and condescension, assuring polarization. Prisons are like farmers cultivating their crops but, while farmers deliver their crops to the market, prisons deliver their products back into society. By any definition, this can't be defined as civilized.
Beyond being the laughing-stock of other civilized nations, U.S. prisons exhibit a perverse agenda. Shamefully, U.S. incarceration has become an economic bonanza with reports of as much as 80+ billion dollars in the annual punishment mother lode. Defending massive prison budgets, prison industry spin doctors instill fear, like foxes assuring everybody that chickens are dangerous.
In California, a multi-billion dollar leader in the prison cartel, "rehabilitation," is a buzzword in justifying the bloated budget. Polished press releases tout vocational training and on-the-job training in the prison industrial complex, a for-profit industry using prisoner labor. It's all very politically correct.
However, the devil is in the details. With recidivism rates reaching 70%, an intelligent person has to question "rehabilitation." Vocational training is a great idea but there aren't any statistics as to parolee placement in these vocations, nor are there statistics as to parolee unemployment, which is suspected to be around 70%. Could those prison industry spin doctors be embellishing the facts? Could "rehabilitation" heralding be a Machiavellian device to justify something else?
A blatant clue to the truth, and to California's real agenda, can be found at the prison parole gates. To start a new life, released prisoners, who have been incapacitated by 15, 20, 30 years, or more of isolation from society, are provided $200 in "gate money", minus the cost of the street clothing that they have to buy themselves. Gate money has been the same for over fifty years, with no cost-of-living adjustments. This is a recipe for failure. No one in the twenty-first century can start a new life on less than $200. In an ironic twist, California's prison guards are the highest paid in the world.
Penological experts have pragmatic opinions about today's prisons. In his book Discipline and Punishment: The Origin of the Prison, forensic psychologist Michel Foucault defines current prison models as dysfunctional. He tells us that prisons make criminals: "The delinquent is an institutional product." In his book The Lucifer Effect, psychologist Dr. Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D., advises us that current prison models are breeding grounds for evil, affecting both prisoners and staff. He noted, "A system designed to combat evil, creates evil." Psychologist Maureen Murdock, Ph.D., writes "Part of the problem in the United States is that we have a very punitive society focused on inflicting punishment and pain."
Dr. Murdock's observation, "we have a very punitive society," identifies the fuel feeding the financial fires that drive the incarceration frenzy. Politicians and profiteers are more than willing to feed society's insatiable appetite for punishment and pain with longer sentences and bigger prisons, modern day shrines to social vengeance. Who needs God for vengeance, when the prisons can do it so well?
2013, one recommendation by a federal three-judge panel was to reduce the
population of elderly prisoners. The state responded with a plan
to consider parole for prisoners who were over the age of 60 and who had
served more than 25 years. Out came the metaphorical pitchforks,
torches, dogs, and public outrage. Prosecutors, victim's rights groups,
and assorted advocates for death in prison voiced their abhorrent shock,
fueling the fires. On March 12, 2016, the San Jose Mercury News article,
twist stuns, angers, captured Dr. Murdock's observation regarding society's
thirst for punishment. With a broad brush, the advocates for death
in prison attacked the wisdom of the federal judges and the state legislators,
who'd attempted to find rational ground.
The driving force of today's prison agenda of financial exploitation is vengeance. Thinking that more prison bunks will cure crime is like thinking that more hospital beds will cure cancer. Long term incapacitation has to be replaced with a true rehabilitation system. With today's ever-growing social ills, people might be so blinded with a thirst for more punishment that they can't see that the failure of current prison models might well be society's canary in the mine.
are some thoughts about rehabilitation and recidivism. If I understand
things correctly, then most prisoners are members of gangs, and they spend
their resources fighting among themselves. Is it possible that, maybe,
prisoners don't necessarily have to be one another's enemies? Maybe
the authorities are the enemy, and their provocateurs are playing the gangs
against one another, as a strategy.
—editorLetters to the Editor
Good Afternoon. My name is [name omitted]. I am a "lifer" serving 2 life sentences.
I live with a roommate [name omitted]. He also receives your newsletters on a regular basis. And I would like to request to also be put on your mailing list as well.
Also, if you do not mind, I would like to make a particular article of yours. It is entitled "Material-Safety Data Sheet" and is about women. I am unsure of its printed date, but think it was/is 1996 or 1998. It's an old printing, I know — but if you still have one, I'd very much enjoy having a copy of it....
I have to wonder about the courts. If they'll sentence a man to serve two life sentences then, in a capital case, will they sentence a man to be executed twice? Does any of it make any sense at all?
The Material Safety Data Sheet appeared on page 4 of the February 1996 issue. That was more than 20 years ago. You have a long memory.
Dear Friend, Sam....
I have let many other prisoners here read your Frontiersman, so you may get more mail soon.
I hope "Matthew" didn't give you too much rain & you are not flooded...
It's been dry here.
Been a while since I wrote to you. Hope you are well. Very much enjoyed the October Frontiersman. I was on hiatus in the writing department but, have found a person to continue posting my stuff so the inspiration has been rekindled. Will share with you once I get going again.
Hope you are doing good my friend.
A White Man's Notes
Sam Aurelius Milam III
•In most conversations with a man, a woman's purpose is to explain to him that he's wrong about something, and to correct him.
•When talking to a woman, a man is well advised to keep Miranda v. Arizona firmly in mind.
Goats, and Choices
Sam Aurelius Milam III
I've been criticizing Christian evangelism for a long time. Eventually, somebody always accuses me of Christian bashing. I construe such an accusation to be a tacit admission that my criticisms are valid. Otherwise, the critic would be able to refute them. Since they're valid, he can't refute them. So, instead, he attacks me. Next, he'll assert that the people that I'm criticizing aren't really TRUE Christians. They're some other guys who just call themselves Christians. They're fakes. The Christian who's complaining to me always believes himself to be a TRUE Christian.
Every Christian on the planet claims that only the members of his own particular group are the true Christians. The other guys are always fakes. Every Christian on the planet claims that only his beliefs are correctly based on the Bible. The beliefs of the others are always false. Since every variety of Christian calls every other variety of Christian a fake, it all cancels out. I don't see any reason to suppose that any one of them is any more credible than are any of the others.
I don't care if a Christian's beliefs are based on the Bible or on the entrails of a goat. Given the multitude of different versions of the Bible (and of goats), I believe that anybody who wants to call himself a Christian has as much right to do so as does anybody else. A claim of unique legitimacy might theoretically be valid, but not necessarily. It will certainly be disputed by other identical claims.
So far as I'm concerned, all Christians share the guilt of evangelism, which is one of the most harmful influences in the known history of human society. Any Christian who doesn't want to be a part of the sorry Christian history of carnage, blood, and brutality can do what I did. He can divest himself of any and all connections to Christianity and stop calling himself a Christian.
Usurperation of Church and State
In olden times, or so I'm told,
And should a doubt arise to lure
With crushing boards or flaying blades,
But now, faced with diversity
So when the doctrine of the church
My thanks to the following: SantaClara Bob; Lady Jan the Voluptuous; Betty; Carl, of Gramling, South Carolina; Gary, of Ione, California; and Eric, of Ione, California.
It's Great to Be a Guy Because
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— Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor