Friday, August 31, 2007

Prison Blues?

I have a secret. Wanna know what it is? My family is not perfect (I will pause while you gasp in sheer disappointment). Although I try and live my life fairly transparently, there are members of my extended family whose skeletons I would much rather stuff into the back of the proverbial closet. And then kick the door closed with a steel toed boot.

One of these family members is a male cousin of mine. We were not close growing up and he is a few years younger than me. The only real contact we have had over the years is when his son was born and I sent him a bunch of clothes and some correspondence and the few letters and pictures he would send to my Grandmother, so I cannot say I know him or his heart well. Now he sends pictures to my sister.

The return address on the envelope is a State Penitentiary.

No sad sob story of wrong imprisonment, he is a thug, he committed a couple crimes and he got busted. So now he is singing the prison blues with his fellow inmates. Shouldn't he be?

Here is where I get annoyed. My sister scanned and forwarded the latest pictures to me and they are simply, "ghetto fabulous". In the first one my cousin is shaved as bald as an Egyptian pharaoh, decked out with sunglasses propped on his forehead, a goatee, wearing a "wife beater", baggy sweatpants and the kicker, white, white tennis shoes. This may seem meaningless, but you simply cannot be ghetto fabulous if your shoes have any marks, dirt, etc. on them. They need to be as bright white as the driven snow.

Did I fail to mention he is in prison? No wait, I did tell you that, you would just never know it by the picture.

On to picture number two. In this he is now shirtless, sporting six pack abs, wearing chinos and black shoes with a military shine. The background is a wall painted with a beach theme. Isn't that sweet? He literally looks like a model for GQ is this picture (save the tattoos). Oh and he has complained that he still has some fat to lose (I assure you he does not).

This is what "gets my goat". Dude is in prison. Why in the world are you allowed to sport a gang banger look while I am footing the bill with my taxes? Worrying about your physique?

I am not ignorant to the prison lifestyle and the things that go on behind bars. My major in college was Criminal Justice with an emphasis on Correctional Sociology. Besides, have you ever watched the National Geographic documentaries on prison life that seem to run endlessly? Anyone would be well informed after seeing those.

My annoyance is that I want all prisons to be fashioned after Maricopa County, Arizona, where prisoners get to wear stripes, live in tent cities (no personal televisions and cable here) and get no coffee, cigarettes and other things they think are their "rights". Did I mention the pink boxers they are issued? Priceless.

Forgive me for my rantings. I do love my cousin. He is a creation of my King just like I am. He needs salvation and prayer and I do pray for him. It's just a little harder to do while you are staring at a picture of a prisoner in perfect thug style.

He dresses better than I do.


A quick edit: Carolyn left a comment with an excellent point:

You can also look at our soldiers over seas. It is not right for a criminal in jail to be living better then our soldiers who are fighting for our freedom, while the criminals are trying to take it away!"

ABSOLUTELY right! ~Angel


Carolyn said...

Do the crime, do the time; except for some the time is a better life then they were leading. How can the government except to get people to stop committing crimes if their punishment for those crimes isn't so bad? Just like our kids; we aren't going to get them to obey if the consequences are nonexistent or easy. I understand your fustration. You can also look at our soliders over seas. It is not right for a criminal in jail to be living better then our soliders who are fighting for our freedom, while the criminals are trying to take it away!

Susie said...

Sad! Sad! Sad! Give 'em stripes and pink boxers, I say! And lots of heat with no TV, cable, coffee, or cigarettes. When they see that the punishment is much more AWFUL than the crime, maybe there will be some rehabilitation.

Anonymous said...

Right on Susie. It's the only technique proven to keep them from coming back.

Mrs. Sam said...

I think hard work, labor on the side of a very hot dirt road. Dig a hole, fill it up and do the same thing tomorrow. Get those shoes good and dirty! Even dirt under the finger nails would be great. Hard work builds character and isn't that what's missing? Well, that and a bunch of other important things...but man! Catch the movie "Holes", not that I'd want it quite that bad, but its a start...

Jamie said...

Ugh, this irks me too. This weekend I was browsing through channels and happened upon a show called Lockup. I couldn't believe how they catered to these prisoners- in this case a NM prison where they allowed N. Americans to have sweathouses. And the looks of the prison! :0 Meanwhile, my husband who is in the US Air Force, though he's never been overseas, would not get treated as well. It is a sad, sad messed up world.