Day 319 of the Calendar Year

“Prison Time” is the one time I have never done nor do I have any desire to do. Of course, like many of you, I have watched countless movies dealing with crime and imprisonment, so I do not feel totally alien to the concept. This is not to say that I can empathize completely since I have never really been there. However, let me try to imagine “doing life” in a prison.

No parole, no chance of ever getting out. Endless days and nights spent in the same room, looking at the same walls and eating the same food. There is someone telling you when to get up, when to eat, when to talk and when to walk on the hour, every day, seven days a week. Routine and monotony piled on routine and monotony. Never smelling the flowers, never cuddling with your loved ones, never running and playing with your children, never walking in the woods, never fishing or swimming in the lake, never going to any place exotic for vacation, never riding your cycle, bicycle, skis, snowmobile, ATV, rollerblades, skateboard, sailboat or motorboat. Never, piled on never, piled on never, for the rest of your life. Then you grow old and die. Forgotten and scorned by all who knew you.

Maybe my portrait of prison time is too bleak or maybe not bleak enough. Some of you will know and you can send me your own feelings. I do not want to find out for myself. Buy I can’t imagine it being worth it. Prison time is a result of a collision of factors that no one imagined possible at the time. Surely, the perpetrator and the victim did not want the intended outcome. The victim did not choose to be a victim and the criminal did not think they would end up doing prison time. However, outcomes are a result of actions and when you put ethics, morals and laws aside to pursue selfish motives and desires, the results can be catastrophic to both parties. We may not be thinking about “prison time” at the time of the crime. If we did, would life have been different? Is prison time a deterrent for crime? It would appear not judging by the number of incarcerated felons or by the recidivism rate.

Thus, we are left with prison time as a sad byproduct of a series of events gone astray. Society has a set of morals and values that once put aside will lead to the harming of at least one and perhaps many more people. Is there such a thing as a victimless crime? What amount of prison time do you think would be a deterrent to you? Can you imagine doing ten years, twenty years, thirty years or a lifetime behind bars? What would make spending such time worthwhile for you? Is there anything you would take this risk for?

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