First off, thanks again for reading my previous correspondence on the air.
On your show today you lamented that prisoners get health care while poor people don't and asked "Where is the justice?" The inference if not the implication of this statement is that being allowed to deteriorate physically and mentally is an acceptable punishment for crime.
Prisons have a responsibility to care for those in their custody.Custody \Cus"to*dy\ (k?s"t?-d?), n. [L. custodia, fr. custos guard; prob. akin to Gr. ?????? to hide, and E. hide. See to cover.]
1. A keeping or guarding; care, watch, inspection, for keeping, preservation, or security.A fleet of thirty ships for the custody of the narrow seas. --Bacon. 2. Judicial or penal safe-keeping.Jailer, take him to thy custody. --Shak. Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
Your statement also pits two relatively powerless groups against one another. Taking care of our prisoners health care and the health care of the less fortunate in this society are not mutually exclusive. We can and should do both. Your statement perpetuates the idea of health care as a privilege rather than a right. Health care is not a perk. You also seem unaware of the fact that the prison population to a significant degree is filled with nonviolent offenders. Human Rights Watch notes that:According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) data, 53 percent of all state and federal prisoners are incarcerated for nonviolent crimes. Indeed, an estimated 337,872 men and women are serving state or federal prison sentences because of drug convictions, most of whom are low-level offenders.
Overly punitive prison sentencing practices mandated by legislators (as opposed to judges) desiring to appear tough on crime contributes to an aging prison population which mirrors the outside world in its need for medical care. According to the AP:A 1994 state law meant to do away with parole has increased the number of inmates who are expected to die behind bars.There are nearly 3,500 state prisoners over age 50. That's about three times what it was ten years ago.
Thank you for at least talking about the issue. I hope that this provides some context for a more informed discussion.
Let me know what you think. Are you keeping Morning Radio honest?