WATWB – Your Monthly Shot of News That Doesn’t Suck

Contrary to what most people think, the American system of incarceration – and possibly the world’s – isn’t predicated on the notion that jail is revenge. It’s supposed to punishment, sure, but in addition to safely stowing away people who could cause harm to society, incarceration is supposed to be about paying for a crime. One would think after a jail sentence, the crime might still be there, but it has been paid for. Done. And, arguably, the person who was in jail should no longer be considered a criminal.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works and we see lots of people shrieking “I hope you get raped in prison” at everyone who gets tossed in the can. As if gang rape was part and parcel of the criminal justice system. To make matters worse, once an inmate is released, it’s difficult to get a job and go straight because even though the crime has been technically paid for, former inmates are still considered criminals in the eyes of society. This leads to high recidivism rates because, hey, if you can’t get a job it’s damned hard to get luxuries like food and a place to live.

Now, it’s likely the criminal justice system will continue to spiral down into anarchy, at least until a lot of things change. And part of that change has to be in the way we view former inmates. Rather than mindless brutes, there are some clever folks in prison. Take, for instance, the prison debate team at Eastern New York Correctional Facility who recently not only beat Harvard’s debate team, but they beat the Cambridge debate team. Not bad for a bunch of guys who don’t even have Internet access.

Additionally, the ENYCF debate team, rather than having to dodge jocks in the hallways, has the support of a large portion of the prison population. They are, in their own way, celebrities.

We could argue whether or not being on a prison debate team is helpful in reforming prisoners, but you have to admit that it’s better than getting out of prison with B.S. in Violent Crime, and M.S. in Bodybuilding, and a PhD in Going Right Back To Prison. At the very least, debate encourages critical thinking, argumentation without resorting to childish nicknames, research skills, and presentation skills, all things which will be more useful than killer biceps.

Read the whole story here.

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our lovely and talented co-hosts this month are
Lizbeth Hartz,
Peter Nena,
Shilpa Garg,
Me,
and <https://inderpreetuppal.com//”>Inderpreet Kaur Uppal

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible. (Wow, I totally missed that mark this time around).

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

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And now, your moment of Zen.

pinkpanther

6 thoughts on “WATWB – Your Monthly Shot of News That Doesn’t Suck

  1. Thought provoking story. I agree that prisoners need to find ways to continue to develop so they don’t get stuck in the prisoner rut. The most poignant sentence for me: “But the team has given him something deeper, he said, the belief that he is as worthy as anyone.” How necessary for a prisoner to believe this; it gives him a reason to keep trying. And how important to give these locked up humans hope for something better than prison life. How touching that they’ve learned that “even with limited resources, human beings who have been counted out, who may have done some bad things, can do some great things.”

  2. Hi Eric – what a great story … I’ve heard about an inmate here – who was ‘rescued’ by the counselor suggesting he write a book (without the internet too … pen and paper: doesn’t do us any harm) – and now he’s out and helping others. Excellent they won against the Harvard team … yes lots of people have the ability to achieve much … cheers Hilary

    http://positiveletters.blogspot.com/2019/04/we-are-world-blogfest-24-kugali-african.html

  3. Yes, there is so much stigma on ex-prisoners. Always doubted and troubles. I think this debate is important and must be globally encouraged. Everyone deserves a second chance.
    Thanks for sharing.

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