A time when many are apprehensive about our political, financial future | PostIndependent.com

A time when many are apprehensive about our political, financial future

Out on a Limb
Ross L. Talbott
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

I can’t recall any time in my short adult life that so many people were apprehensive about the political and financial future of America. We are actually experiencing economic hard times with high unemployment and collapsing businesses.

On the one hand we’re being “Gored” by the fear of climate change (formally global warming), inducing panic in the public and an increasing dependence on foreign oil.

The History Channel keeps running programs titled Life after Humans. They speculate that all humans will suddenly disappear and Eden will gradually return, just the way Mother Nature intended.

Humans are purported to be the curse of the environment. Evil forces are at work destroying our capitalist system and planning to rebuild it into a wonderful socialist system. Of course they will need to borrow money from China to do it. Oh, wait a minute, there is no such thing as evil. It’s just bad selfish people causing the good terrorists to hate us.

If we would just apologize to the terrorists, I’m sure we could all live in peace. Our president bowed down and apologized but so far it hasn’t worked.

If Israel would just quit being offended by all the rockets being fired into Israeli territory, the Palestinians would stop hating them. After all, Jewish claim to the land only goes back several thousand years.

I have visited several prisons, most recently the one in Sterling. Sterling houses 2,500 inmates and has 800 employees. Somehow I didn’t feel that apologizing would solve the problem.

When you consider that every town of any size has a jail and then add in the county, state and contract prisons you realize that a huge percentage of our population is incarcerated.

Instead of catastrophic overhaul of government, we should start by making the penal system restorative rather than just punitive.

Branches of government tend to be self-sustaining. They develop all sorts of rules to justify their existence and increase their budget.

We even had an inspector come around and tell us what height to hang fire extinguishers.

The legal system will take a person literally caught in the act and who has an extensive record and hold them at our expense months and even years until getting a conviction.

I have attended a hearing to set hearings. The courts create an impossible situation for offenders and victims.

For instance they will be charged for days in jail, a fine, lawyer fees, the bail bonds and maybe restitution. They are paroled and admonished to live straight and pay back everything. By the way, they take away driving privileges (no license).

Try to find an keep a job in this county if you can’t drive.

The obvious solution for the offender is to move in with some buddies and deal drugs.

We had a legitimately elected district attorney. She intended to set up a panel to work on restorative justice. Some lawyer felt threatened and ultimately succeeded in getting her recalled.

Our system convinces offenders that they are just victims of circumstance. A bad childhood or excessive societal pressures made them the way they are.

Long term inmates are entitled to living at taxpayer expense. Free TV, free clothes, free food, no bills to pay, and no responsibilities and many become institutionalized.

What an incredible saving to taxpayers if we could develop a program that helps offenders to become productive members of our culture instead of being a growing cesspool requiring high maintenance and consuming taxpayer money with no payback.

We should focus on expanding the few programs that work. Chuck Colson’s prison ministry has a low recidivism rate. Let’s expand it. Allow parolees to go to a Christian halfway house rather than sending them back to their old neighborhoods and contacts.

Let’s relook at the process of community re-entry and job opportunity.

I would love to see a bunch of correctional and legal people lose their jobs by breaking the cycle and reducing the need for prisons.

Maybe this problem helps explain why so many politicians and lawyers are afraid of Christianity.

Ross L. Talbott lives in New Castle.

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