Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Build Prisons< Would the Money be better spent on people and families?

I'm a little late in posting this article, but having grown up on Maui and seen people that I grew up around getting out of prison at 50+ years of age, I have to wonder what kind of life they can expect.

Maui is considering building as new and bigger prison system on Maui. The cost is high and at a time when people and the government have very little money. I wish I could say there was a way to fix it all to prevent people from going to prison in the first place, but no matter what, some will for good reasons go to prison and some will go for very Manini (little) reasons.

Recently I heard about a youth going to the Maui prison and his response was that he was taken care of pretty good because most of the people imprisoned were his family in one way or another.

Growing up, and I am 53, it was normal for backyard parties to go late into the night and vast quantities of alcohol were consumed. The beginning started out good as people would visit and the food and alcohol were in good quantities. As the evening progressed, people would slowly leave, primarily the ones with children. The ones left were still drinking and eating, but more drinking. The music would start and it would be rather fun as everyone either played an instrument, mostly Ukuleles and sang along.

Unfortunately,  the hard core group would hang out until the last of the alcohol was consumed. During this time the arguments, heated discussions and outright fights would begin. Very often the police would show up and send everyone home, but there was always one or two that would challenge the police. That eventually led to a prison term.

As time went on the children grew up and drugs were added to the mix, so the alcohol and some drugs would start the evening, but often the night went on late as people continued with drugs. Early on, drugs like marijuana would generally put people done and mellow them down if the alcohol didn't keep working on them.

As time went on the kids seemed to stay up later and were exposed to this as if they didn't know what was going on. Then the next generation included not only alcohol, but a variety of drugs and in my opinion the worst being Crystal Meth or Ice as it was called. The Ice Heads would seem to not feel all the other drugs and alcohol and on top of that they would be up all night and even looking for more in the wee hours of the morning.

This could go on for days at a time for many "Ice Heads" until they finally had to crash and sleep it off. Unfortunately the first thing they did was go looking for  more Ice to keep themselves going. While in the mean time the money disappeared, the jobs got shaky or they lost them and the violence picked up because of the stress of it all.

Being such an addictive drug, the people felt that they could carry on life normally, but it was noticed as the family units broke down. Now years later there are generations of kids that have grown up around it or without parents because they were sitting in prison.

Just sending people off island to Oahu or Privately run Prisons in Texas may have lessened the burden on the physical system itself, but it has increased everyones financial responsibilities through our taxes and has done little to help families become one again.

We may be at a point that building a bigger prison is about the only thing to do at this point and may help to reunite families at least to some degree. The bigger question is how are we going to support the family systems to keep them from dealing with the stresses and resorting to drugs and alcohol in the first place?

I'm sure that even helping lesson the financial burden through some program that will only help people with Food, Shelter and Clothing, as well as creating job opportunities may be a better way to spend the money in the first place. Creating a sense of value and respect for others from when children are young and keeping that  attitude and continue to help them to reach adulthood would be a good investment for the future.  Teaching these kids what raising a family really takes and how to handle their finances in school would be a big plus. This also includes looking at the whole picture and not just while they are in school. Sure we need to keep a sense of privacy for these families, but enlisting the parents in helping the children is very much a part of it all.

Again, we have program after program that touch on these things, but it seems we are short on complete and comprehensive programs. Since I am no expert in this field, I'm afraid I don't have a good solution for it all, but the projections for the numbers that these prisons that we will need to hold all the future prisoners is staggering and everyone of those people have a good or useful side of them that just needs to be found and encouraged. We'll never win the war, but planning for success seems better than planning for defeat.


  1. I'll be spending my weekend with my 3 and 7 year old grand children showing them Hana and a part of Maui that they may not know about, plus all the stories I can pass on to them. Hopefully they will remember these kinds of times as they grow up.

  2. thanks so much for expressing about this topic...such good medicine for me today to 'plan for success' wipe the blackboard clear of those 'defeat' programs.. this helps motivate me to get back to studies and new patterns of time management that will help
    create new successful patterns....


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