Problem Solved — How to End Prison Overcrowding Warning! This essay is composed with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek. So, lighten up and stay loose. I don't take myself particularly seriously and neither should you. This article could be under the “Problem Solved” heading. I decided to put it in Humor because it is so politically incorrect it would never go through.
THE PROBLEM Crime is rampant! The prisons are over-crowded! Keeping a prisoner locked up costs about $100,000 a year! Almost none of them are rehabilitated! The public is clamoring for effective law enforcement! But because of prison overcrowding, we release violent criminals to commit more violent acts! We need more prison space! We need additional funding for law enforcement!
I’ve got two solutions to prison overcrowding.
SOLUTION ONE. The morally superior Europeans object to the death penalty. Europeans killed more of their own people in the last century than all homicides since the beginning of time but for some reason they have the temerity to lecture Americans on morality.
Fine! This gives us the opportunity for a solution that will satisfy namby-pamby bleeding hearts who think they can rehabilitate psychopaths. It wouldn’t create the income that the next plan would but it would solve our prison over-crowding problem.
Give the death sentence to all violent criminals. When the Europeans and some Americans object, set a date certain for the execution. If the anti-death-penalty Americans can pony up a one-way airline ticket, the judge can release the convict on a personal recognizance bond with the understanding that if he ever shows up in an American jurisdiction he will be sent to the jurisdiction of the conviction for immediate and unappealable execution. Law enforcement officers could then put him on a plane and send him to Europe. Let the French, Germans or the Vatican rehabilitate him!
The Europeans insist that they will not extradite a person who faces the potential of the death penalty so they definitely will not extradite one who faces the certainty of the death sentence. We could turn Europe into a prison colony!
This is very easy on the felon but it solves our problem!
I've got another idea to solve prison overcrowding. This one will both get prison space and additional funding for law enforcement.
First, we rent Michigan Stadium which Wikipedia says is the largest stadium in America. Then we ask the general population of two maximum-security prisons, say Ossining (Sing Sing) and San Quentin, for volunteers. Every prison in America is full of guys who think they are "baad!" We will have no difficulty finding 1,000 "baad dudes" in each institution to volunteer. We will sell the seats for $1000 and up and the broadcast rights for a gazillion dollars. I guarantee that we could fill every seat at a $10,000 a pop but why be greedy? Why not? O.K., we will sell the seats for $10,000 and up. The networks will be reluctant at first because they are run by woolly-headed liberal flakes, but they are owned by greedy capitalists who will ultimately force the liberals to bid big bucks for the broadcast rights.
Now we divide the cons into groups of 100. We give each con a gladius (the short sward carried by ancient Roman legionaries) and a shield. And we let a hundred of Sing Sing’s baadest fight it out with a hundred of San Quentin's baadest. When one group has been totally eliminated the networks can break away for advertising. Now, we have enough groups for 10 such melees. Presumably each prison team will win some. After the melees, or perhaps between the melees, the wounded would be dispatched by the survivors and the survivors could demonstrate their personal prowess in individual combat.
Of course, the entire world will be shocked and appalled but people will buy tickets and tune in. These are fights to the death so there will be no seriously wounded to care for. Since during the melees, one entire side will be killed and it is safe to assume that the winning side will lose most of its men, at the end of the day, the overwhelming majority of these prisoners will be dead. They will cost nothing to feed, clothe, house or guard. The survivors will return to their institutions as heroes and other baad dudes will admire them and want to sign up.
Perhaps to encourage recruitment we could get volunteers from the women's prisons to reward the victorious survivors. If we called for these volunteers in advance, they could act as cheerleaders during the games.
This idea is open to almost unlimited variations. Different weapons could be used. Although in the interest of crowd safety, shooting weapons will probably have to be forbidden. Gamblers could bet on the survival of an individual, the victorious team, the number of survivors on a specific team, or any other variable. The gambling opportunities are unending.
I predict that this would generate more revenue than all of the current pale gladiatorial contests — football, basketball, baseball, soccer and so forth. Nothing is required to pay the gladiators so almost all funds will go directly into the justice system to aid law enforcement in arresting, justice departments in convicting and the prison systems in guarding, caring for and training successive generations of gladiators. And the number of prisoners in these institutions will decline rapidly.
One county jail could challenge a neighboring county jail. Institutions in one state could take on institutions from another state. One prison gang could fight another gang. At the end of the year we could have a world series and then finally a super bowl!
The convicts would have an opportunity to show just how baad they really are. They could win access to women and the ability to boss the prison. The networks would get rich rewards. Law enforcement would get billions in additional resources and an opportunity to perform its function at a profit. The networks will get a new cash cow. Bleeding hearts will get a new cause. The public will get a new and exciting form of entertainment. And society would have fewer ex-convict psychopaths terrorizing the streets.