Gerald Bates

“Prison Reform Reality” by Gerald Bates

The quest for criminal justice reform has been a decades long failure. It continues to fail because it remains just a political stump hot topic. Everyone wants to start “a conversation” about prison reform. The sad reality is, it never gets past the conversation. The truth is, criminal justice reform has been talked to death. Every administration since President Johnson has promised reform. It’s time we got past the conversation. 2.5 million men and women incarcerated in the U.S., the majority of them over charged and severely over sentenced. It’s time we convince our families and friends to DEMAND true reform from their elected Representatives. Most of our relatives and friends vote. The epitome is they rarely, or in most cases never call their Representatives with their concerns. Exercising, your rights entails more than just going to the polls to vote! You must use your voice by calling your Representatives and DEMAND that they represent your interest. Unless we the people demand results from our Representatives for criminal justice reform. The “power of the people” will remain powerless and, prison reform will stay just a hollow political stump promise. Use your voice!!!!!

Gerald Bates
DOC #1425997

3 replies »

  1. First of all, there aren’t even 2 million people incarcerated in the US. I think the last time I wrote regarding it, there were 1.6 million.
    So here’s the deal. Prison population is actually declining…yes, declining.
    True, private facilities have seen their numbers grow by 2%, but overall, 4% fewer are behind bars just these past couple of years (federal and state).
    And if we compare that to those incarcerated at the beginning of the century, we see 29% less population today, than then.
    Why? Because crime is down. Over 3 million less crimes these past couple of years compared to 2000.

    Why no reform? Easy, privatization. The feds want to get this monkey off their backs and turn it over to independent businesses.
    At first I supported the idea and even voted for it in a CA ballot in 2009. But after closer review, and the statistics of inmate care and lifestyles, I now oppose the concept. And feel that businesses still are too easily void of the human equation when it comes to moral judgements and convict care. Which is why I now approve state and federal penitentiaries, no matter the cost to the taxpayers.

    Taxpayers on the other hand, do not want to pay for your housing. Their congressmen and women show them the bills which are always between $20,000.00 and $40,000.00 annually. Per inmate in a Fed joint!
    Each state varies, but it’s a shit load of money, when everybody out here is making less today than they were only 10 years ago.
    Not to mention the 3% or more inflation which steals their buying power year after year.

    If someone only made 30 or $40 K a year, and inflation has dropped that to only 20 to $30 K in buying power after a decade, why would they ever care if you’re on bread and water for the rest of your lives.
    I have heard from inmates that have musical instruments, and other amenities, that some of these families don’t have. And these are the same families that you robbed to get where you’re at anyway. So no, I wouldn’t count on any reform anytime soon.

    But here’s a novel idea. Reform yourselves. Yes, I said it. You can show American’s that their money is being well spent.
    Educate yourselves, and once educated, educate those around you. Exercise and eat healthily, and practice good moral conduct like Christians are supposed to do. Eliminate prison violence, improve cleanliness and personal hygiene.

    I only spent 14 months behind bars, but in all those days, I didn’t find 20 people who would help their brother out. As a matter of fact, on my very first day at the Hampton City Jail, I had to take an inmate out, who felt it his responsibility to show me the ropes, so to speak. The last person I killed was in New Iberia Louisiana, now there’s a hell hole, They still have chain gangs there. And they still rape little white boys.

    Gerald, I do not mean you personally. In 90 days in Virginia I was able to get two inmates’ convictions overturned, and two others reduced sentencing, through appeal letters. But you need to know how to write one, and you need to know the precedences which garnered their sentencing term. If this is all a bit much for you, then pass it on to someone there who has the wherewithal to get something done for you.
    I assure you there is a white collar criminal there, just as I was there at one time.
    Show America that you’re worth the effort, and America will help you reach the prison reform you’re seeking. Because we seek it too.
    As always, God Bless you and keep you.


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