Before I was locked up, before I experienced this institution called prison, I was a proponent of longer prison sentences, harsher sentences. Forgiving a perpetrator was unthinkable. Eye for an eye, life for a life. I used to say things like “I think they should go back to public executions, that would deter future criminals for sure!”

I knew not what I said. There are places where public executions take place and people gather around to watch. It isn’t this somber experience, for most it is entertainment. People aren’t gathered around quietly, witnessing a life being taken. If people want that they can go to the occupied territories of ISIL. Islamic extremists do that. African drug lords who have militias do that. Czars and Dictators do that. 

Do you want your children seeing that? Sitting around a public square watching justice be taken out of a mans soul? “What did that man do Mommy?” he’d say in which the Mom might reply something like “very bad things sweetie, don’t let your hot dog get cold.” Later that night she would cover his eyes during a violent scene on TV, to “protect” him.

Don’t get me wrong, people deserve punishment and in its entirety. However, blood lust and justice are two different words with two very different meanings. People need to be sure that if they want one part of the law to be “eye for an eye” they need to be prepared for the entire law to be that way.

That means that if you accidentally bump someone in your car and they get injured, your justice dictates you take the same damage. Think about that. The idea works until your the one who must pay. 

Some people in here are to far gone, plain and simple. They have chosen the “convict code” over reality and now serve fear and violence as their master. Joining prison gangs and staying in them. Or there are people who are just to wrapped up in their selfishness to accept personal blame, faking change so they can get out and use again or molest again or whatever. Both cases are extremely obvious to us inmates, we can spot these folks from miles away. Which leaves us with the people who are not just sorry, but stricken. Who understand the gravity of what they have done and are now different people then at the time of their crime, disgusted with the men and women they once were. 

Such a deep subject. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage