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The Failing American Prison System


Since I started "bantering" my friends around the World using the Internet some fifteen years ago, I have received many emails asking me to write something on so many subjects, that even if I had the money to do nothing else with my time, I just would not have the time to do it.  Almost daily the emails come in asking me to pen banterings on everything from Justice in America to the failures of pre-college education in the United States to the failed Health Care system that wiped me out financially a few of years ago.

If you are getting this particular Bantering it is because you opted into my Bantering List, or it was forwarded to you by someone who did.  So I decided to throw down a challenge. Listed below is just one of the requests I have received in the last few months.

If you would like to take up your pen and research the subject and produce your own Bantering I will publish it - provided it follows the rules of civilized Bantering.

  • Facts presented as facts must be linked to reputable sources.

  • All writings must be academic in nature and without profanity or "hate content".

  • All Banterings must be written to improve the readers knowledge and understanding.

I would suggest that should you wish to take up this challenge you let me know before you start.

I have been asked many times over the years to write a Bantering on the horrific and barbaric state of the Prison System in the United States, and I have researched some concepts that would allow me to do so, which I list below for your perusal.


  1. America has less than 5% of the world's population, but it has 25% of the World's incarcerated prisoners in its' jails and prisons.  (Article from bnet 2002)

  2. America uses its' Prison System to house Alcoholics and Drug Addicts and remove them from society rather than paying for treatment for their addictions and rehabilitation into society.

  3. America also uses its' Prison System to house and hide its' Mentally Ill rather than paying for hospitalization.

  4. America's Judges are "elected", thereby reducing the US Legal System to a partisan political system and Judges into vote seeking populists that could reduce the certainty of the accused obtaining Justice. (New York Times).

  5. America imprisons more of its' citizens than any other country in the world!  (University of London).

  6. America incarcerates murderers, rapists and the mentally insane with non-violent minor offenders.

Factors to consider

  1. Diseases such as HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, etc., are running rampant in American prisons.

  2. Sexual abuse, Murders and Assaults are more prevalent in the American Prison System on an ongoing basis than anywhere in the developed world not experiencing an all out War.

  3. The American Government spends more to incarcerate its' citizens than it does to educate its' children.

  4. Poor Americans, who lack the financial ability to purchase adequate representation by qualified lawyers, have far shorter trials and are more likely to be found guilty than rich Americans who can purchase representation.

  5. The majority of developed countries provide hospitals for the mentally ill; and publically funded programs to deal with alcohol and drug addiction, whereas America uses the prison system to remove them from Society.

  6. How would conditions improve with segregation to prevent gang crime in prisons; and, most important of all to a civilized people, how would conditions improve if the mentally ill, the violent and the non-violent were not forced to live together in overcrowded prisons where their Civil rights are systematically denied to them.

Questions to consider

  1. Should all trials be video-taped and the recordings viewed and ruled upon by an independent Review Board for fairness and legality as quickly as possible before anyone is removed from society and the rights of citizenship?

  2. How could a more civilized system be established and paid for when Americas' financial stability is slipping?

  3. Could Roosevelt's Civilian Conservation Corps of the Great Depression be recreated within the Prison System to house non-violent prisoners and teach them a trade - the first project could be to build a forty foot high wall along the US southern border to reduce illegal immigration and drug trafficking into the Untied States, thereby also reducing the prison population to be paid for by American taxpayers? After that they could be employed to build housing for the homeless in America and rebuilding the country's infrastructure.

  4. If America needs to incarcerate more of its' citizens than any other country on Earth, does it therefore follow that the American Culture is the most violently criminal Culture on Earth?

  5. In the USA there is one lawyer for every 265 Americans (men, women and children), whereas in France there is only one lawyer for every 1,403 French citizens. Could it be that having so many lawyers in the population (Source) contributes to Americas' overcrowded prisons? (30% + of US Senators and Congressmen are Lawyers)

  6. Should foreign nationals convicted of breaking American laws and sentenced to jail time by a US Court, be housed in separate facilities within the United States, paid for and run by their own governments rather than US taxpayers (but with a US appointed Warden) as part of their nation's Embassy presence in America?

So, my friends, do you think you could write a Bantering on this subject?  If so, please let me know.

Bantering is a non-serious, very serious, conversation or written communication, usually between friends. The purpose of bantering may at first appear to be an offensive affront to the other person. However, people engaging in such a conversation are often signaling that they are comfortable enough in each others' company to be able to say such things without causing any offense while they are attempting to educate or good-naturedly challenge a friend's beliefs and understanding.

For thousands of years most people have accepted as unquestionable and have diligently professed the religion of their parents; most people also follow in the political footsteps of their parents; and they associate with, vote and base their beliefs on the community within which they live, and they are convinced that the country of their birth is the greatest or the worst country in History.  Problem:~ as long as they do so - progress and advancement dies.

A Bantering is designed to make the reader think. To make them question their beliefs, or challenge the accepted wisdom of the day, to look behind the words to assess how they were used to camouflage the truth in a way that would benefit the speaker who uses those words. A Bantering can at first be seen as offensive or whimsical, humorous or ridiculous; but the reader who is used to such challenges of their long held beliefs must read between the lines and try to find qualified fault with the writing, knowing that it is meant only to promote thought.

John Hathaway-Bates  ~   ~  310-550-1984

If you want to get future Banterings you need to send
an email with the word "Bantering" in the subject box.

[email protected]

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