on life without parole
Judges in United States are forced by federal law to give the sentence of life without parole to those who have not committed violent or excessive crimes. People with no previous offense caught with more than 10 grams of cocaine can receive this sentence. Judges have felt this sentence to be unfair and disproportionate. Many have encouraged the convicted to petition and ask for clemency. Many have wrote to the president themselves to petition and ask for clemency themselves. If there is a purpose to this federal law, it is not to give appropriate punishment to and rehabilitate these offenders. A judge has called this sentence a ‘governmentally sanctioned, personalized terrorism.’ I agree. The most important aspect of this sentence, regardless of its recipient’s actions, is that it instills hopelessness. There is no hope for these people to ever be reintroduced to the society or make a positive impact. As always since the popular rise of ‘scientific reasoning,’ people are looked at as a number, not an individual. The government, and many of us, are so removed from society that we think of these people as replaceable. Life without parole is, most definitely, a terrorism, effecting not only the convicted, but the society, which has lost an individual with potential to contribute. The idea of dignity becomes irrelevant when we start looking at people only as a ‘criminal’ and not a human being. At that point, we take away their dignity, their personality, their experiences, and their future. We take away all possibilities from them. (I say we, because as citizens, we are responsible for the doings of our government; if they are doing things we do not agree with, it is not justified to blame them as if they are a separate entity. If they are corrupted, that is the citizen’s fault for allowing it.) No one should have this kind of power except the individual. In a societal sense, we are murdering this individual. They may be alive physically, but in society, they have died. The hopelessness of the convicted is definitely real enough to constitute this sentence as a form of torture. Hopelessness and isolation are two of the most prevalent reasons for suicide. It is because people need hope to survive. People need other people to survive. People need to feel that there is a reason for their survival. How can you feel that passion to survive if you will be locked up in a cell for the rest of your life, with no possible way for change? This sentence deprives the convicted of the will to live. Therefore, it is most clearly a form of torture. This person now has nothing to lose. Back in the day, when the government took away so much that people had nothing to lose, there was a revolution to overthrow the government. Nowadays, with people so disconnected from each other and government so deceptively taking away people’s rights, such as privacy, speech, and happiness, that people primarily don’t care enough to revolt. This makes the government infinitely powerful. Yes, there may be a system of ‘checks and balances’ within the government. But let’s be honest. This world is run by money. What is the purpose of this sentence? Why does this federal law exist? Because it is a monetary benefit to somebody. Somebody who is so removed from society that he or she cannot relate to those who have their life taken away. A huge part of the problem is that the prison system is privatized money pit. More prisoners who serve longer sentences are beneficial to those who run the prison system. And we, taxpayers, pay them, simply, to lobby for more disproportionate sentences, so that they can make more money, because we don’t care enough to do anything about it. The hopelessly corrupted government, working together with the media, scares the citizens to the point where we sincerely believe the only thing we can do for the safety of our society is to lock up these people until they rot away in their cells. Money, money, money, that is in the root of everything. The more I think about the system, the more I am disappointed by the lack of integrity in our society. Everyone who can be bought, was bought to enable this corruption. People who have integrity are not sell-outs, but people who don’t have integrity, make money, and in this society, they make the rules. We have the responsibility to revolt, not just in a violent sense, against this system. Don’t think this effects you? Wait a little longer, until it does effect you, and it will be too late to protect anything you care for. Or look around, stop ignoring the injustices, and take a stand. It doesn’t matter in what- education, prison system, environment. Just start somewhere.