Prisoners and Pollution
Pollution rates grow each day whether it be in the air, ocean or in our own neighborhoods. With information spread so quickly due to social media we are able to see events all over the world. It seems to effect us more deeply because instead of a news caster reciting information they are reading from a teleprompter we are able to see videos shot from peoples phones, just like us, of the devastation around them. They show fires, flooding, trash in the sand, on their streets and in the oceans and lakes they are swimming in. It is hard to get through a day of social media without being shown a sea creature having plastic cut off of its body or gaining knowledge of how so much trash gets to the ocean in the first place.
Other devastating news is that most of what we recycle goes to other countries to be sorted and because we don’t have better recycling regulations, much of it ends up in landfills overseas and now even getting passed to other countries because the countries we hand off our recycling to do not have the means to handle it anymore.
Concerned citizens can’t help but wonder what the community could do to help this massive issue, myself included. I have pondered deeply on this subject and another area that I always find myself thinking about are incarcerated individuals, especially those that have not committed violent crimes. I have studied documentaries and other resources of information in which other countries offer their prisoners true rehabilitation to help change their habits so that when they are released, they will have more to offer to themselves and society.
I will save the full discussion of rehabilitation of prisoners for another time but I would like to focus on the fact that the US has millions of people sitting in facilities right now. Even if we could just take a portion of those prisoners and have 1 million or even 300,000 of those prisoners partake in programs that help clean and restore the earth that would make a significant difference. With facilities in each state and in different parts of the state we could cover a vast majority of our land, lakeshores, creeks, river shores and ocean beaches.
Prisoners used to be seen along the highways (I’m sure in some areas they still are) and the guards would oversee them so the most significant financial inconvenience would be that of paying for transportation and we could have each prison focus on their local area to cut down on petroleum costs. They would have to get searched upon returning but it is a way for them to be outside and getting exercise 6-8 hrs out of the day and also cleansing our earth at an accelerated rate which in my eyes is invaluable.
I also think that prisons would be an excellent place to house recycling programs so that we can keep our recycling in this country and get it sorted properly, of course only putting prisoners with non violent offenses and good behavior on these jobs.
There are many things that could and would go wrong but the overall benefit of programs like these being implemented would supersede any negative occurrences. I feel that we as a society let fear sway us from all the jobs prisoners could do to help. If we open our minds to the possibilities there is so much they could do for our country and I think it would serve us much better rather than them being stuck in a cell or watching tv for the majority of their day.
A great percentage of these prisoners will be released at some point and I’d much rather live next door to someone that was allowed more constructive activities rather than being caged up like an animal all day, I would imagine that would only create more trauma for a person thus leading them to possibly even worse scenarios after release.
The way things are right now with both pollution and prisoners is not working, reincarceration rates are high and the planets well being is plummeting at a staggering rate. Being open minded to different strategies can help us bring significant change to some of the largest issues we are plagued with.