By Just A Guy
Editors note: Just A Guy was recently released from a California prison, where he wrote regular reports for us. He continues to comment on prison and criminal-justice issues. You can read his most recent post here.
So it’s finally happening: The early releases are to begin very soon, and the furor of public officials trying to protect their collective asses by decrying the releases and stirring up fear is funny.
Shit, what do you do? The number -- 6,500 -- is a drop in the bucket. Really, why is everyone so worried about it? These inmates are all getting out anyway, and more time inside equates (according to the pundits anyway) to more time for these low-level offenders to become fodder for the prison gangs and become even worse than they are now. And because they’re getting so much rehabilitation on the inside they should be kept there.
I guarantee that the majority of these 6,500 people are people in for possession or possession for sale. I guarantee the majority got no real help while inside, and a good portion will be on the streets and using drugs again -- because, well, not everyone has the capability of self-rehabilitation without being given the tools. Is it any wonder many get out worse than when they go in?
I have been on parole for just over two months now. I was in for possession. My supervision has already dropped from once a week to once a month. Bear in mind, I transferred to a different state, but parole isn’t that hard, not if a person is willing to take responsibility for his or her actions and life. But I’m fortunate -- I have a great support network, job, car, house, etc…but I also have the desire to stay out and to stay clean.
I know to many of you this may be counterintuitive, but there are folks that have the desire to stay clean, but just don’t know how. They don’t have the tools or skills or know what to do. They grew up around drugs, they went to prison where there were more drugs, their role models were drug dealers and gangbangers. They go to prison and get no real help and now…they’re released into a world with little supervision to the same neighborhood and the same shit keeps happening AND they keep hearing about how they’re such horrible people. The cycle continues.