My brother was shot to death on May 15, 2009 and I was there to witness it all. Luckily his murderers have been tried and found guilty; one is serving 20-life, the others 11 and 19 years.
My personal belief is that inmates should not have such privileges while incarcerated. They are there for punishment and should not be able to watch or listen to any type of entertainment. Instead they should dwell on what got them incarcerated in the first place. I want victims of crimes or their loved ones (in cases of death) to be able to control such privileges of these inmates. They took away our loved ones or violated us so why should we not get some type of control over them? To me the inmates being able to have these amenities is a slap in the face to us victims. I know that being able to control these luxuries will not bring our loved Ones back or make us forget what happened. However in my mind we should have some type of control over our perpetrators, and if taking away these electronics is going to make the inmates that much more miserable then maybe this will allow them to reflect more on the lifelong pain and suffering they have caused the victims, or the victims’ loved ones, because of their actions.
Another topic that I have been seeing a lot of people discuss on my petition is that some of these inmates live better than the homeless and struggling Americans. Some believe they should have nothing but a roof over their heads along with food, and should have to work for everything else they need. I believe us tax payers are also fronting the electricity bill for these inmates to be able to use these electronics, I would rather see that money go to someone in need, rather than someone who is in incarcerated because of their own actions. Our tax money also goes to providing health care, dental care, recreation time, training, and all sorts of other amenities that an honest struggling person does not have access to in the outside world; and has to pay for those things whereas it’s free in jail. I feel that taking electronics away from inmates will also help with the return rates of the inmates. Maybe they wouldn’t have such an attitude as "oh well I will just go back to prison where I don’t have to pay rent, get free food and hang out and watch Tv all day in my cell." The penal system does not seem to be a deterrent to stopping criminals from doing their crimes, which is over crowding the jails and giving many inmates lighter sentencing because jails are overcrowded
Finally, some will say that these electronics are needed as part of the inmate’s rehabilitation program. I don’t think that having access to personal electronic devices is a legitimate form of rehabilitation. I agree that having computer training, watching educational and training programs on television benefits the inmates in the long run. But watching the football game and Tv shows ( that has violence or sexual content in them) and listening to music is not a legitimate form of rehabilitation, but an excessive form of entertainment that these criminals should not have personal access to. I believe watching television in a group setting is fine, but I think that access to personal electronic devices are detrimental to the rehabilitation of the criminal. I believe having access to private electronics takes away from reading and study time that inmates could use to better themselves, having some of these electronics or privileges allows inmates to run a criminal enterprise from inside the prison.
Alexia Barnes-Heflin started this petition with a single signature, and now has 326 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.