Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What to Say When Summoned for Jury Duty

How I Got Out of Jury Duty...By Telling the Truth

There is no question that our prison system is a private business whose main interest is incarcerating individuals because of the profit incentives. The prison industrial complex has been affecting our communities in a very serious way for a few decades now. The number of individuals who have been incarcerated over the past 10 years has dramatically increased even though crime rates have not increased at the same rate. Since the three strikes law was passed in the mid 1990’s, the number of individuals who have been given life sentences has gone up considerably; if the types of crimes that are being prosecuted are analyzed you find that many of these individuals are now incarcerated for life for crimes that are not too serious. Once an individual is part of the states criminal system it is extremely difficult for their past not to be used against them. The justice system claims to be interested in a person’s rehabilitation but how is that being accomplished when individuals are given life sentences without the possibility of parole once they have been charged with 3 felonies? These are the same individuals who were released from prison before and put into the same conditions that got them into prison in the first place.

Many argue that not every individual chooses to fully participate in the rehabilitation process and that they choose to go right back into the “lifestyle.” While that argument may apply to some individuals, every person with a record cannot be assumed to be a criminal for life. If the state and federal government really made an effort to fund truly effective rehabilitation programs, fix the current education system, fund non-profits or programs that help individuals become productive members of society then perhaps those same individuals would not end up back in prison. California now spends 10 percent of its operating budget on incarcerating individuals in state prisons. The private companies who provide prisons with their supplies now look at the number of third or fourth graders who are failing in school to estimate the number of beds they will be supplying the prisons with. At such a young age, our youth is already being tracked into the criminal system. Instead of looking at the number of failing students to research how the education system can be reformed, our government is perpetuating the school-to-prison pipeline. Is it any surprise that this same government is not committed to the true rehabilitation of individuals? There is no clear investment in our youth and until our government and society really works to discover and nurture their individual gifts our youth will not reach their full potential.

With such knowledge it was no surprise to read an article about a man who was released from jury duty after telling the Judge that he was invested in the rehabilitation of individuals. I guess we don’t have to lie to try and get out of jury duty, we can just tell the court system that we are invested in our people and our communities and that will work just fine.


1 comment:

ogshortdawg said...

Tell how it is Agueda! I love your righteous indignation. Agueda for President!