My Wife Opposes Funding Prisons in Economic Stimulus

By · Sunday, March 8th, 2009

I feel very proud of my wife for the active efforts she makes to live as an integral part of my life. In late January of this year, Carole told me that she had contacted the offices of both California senators to express her outrage that Republicans were trying to squeeze a billion dollars into the economic stimulus bill to fund the Bureau of Prisons. When Carole told me of her outrage, I felt like wrapping my arms around her and kissing her.

Carole learned about Congressional efforts to provide more funding to the prison system through her continuous scrutiny over all news issues pertaining to our lives as a prison family. She is a nurse and a responsible citizen, but since I am in prison, Carole considers it her duty to look after my interests. It is her opinion that rather than providing the Bureau of Prisons with another billion dollars, Congress ought to require prison administrators to implement prison reforms that would end the practice of warehousing humanity.

Carole understands that one step administrators could take to reduce bloated operating expenses would be to place more nonviolent, nonthreatening prisoners who have served substantial portions of their sentences in home confinement programs. She recognizes the absurdity of packing tens of thousands of prisoners in minimum-security camps. Such prisons do not have fences, and the people confined to such facilities could serve their sentences on home confinement while working or making contributions to society.

In the spring of this year, Senator Jim Webb of Virginia has called for panel discussions and hearings to begin explorations on prison reform legislation. Carole will alert the readers of Prison News Blog with all she learns about to Senator Webb’s hearings. In the meantime, however, I feel proud for the role she has taken in our legislative process by expressing her outrage at Republican efforts to provide another billion dollars to the Bureau of Prisons.

As part of the stimulus, Congress included $800 million in funding for the Bureau of Prisons, and President Obama’s initial budget allocates $6 billion to the Bureau of Prisons. I expect that the Director will be required to appropriate those funds in accordance with the vision for America that our new President has. As I told Carole during our visit last Friday, that funding may be necessary to launch new efforts that would expand the community confinement centers or home confinement program. Such expenditures could work in our favor.

Carole’s proactive efforts to bring me home are some of the ways she expresses her commitment to our marriage, and they are some of the reasons I feel so privileged to have her love. More family members ought to take an active role in the push for prison reform and the legislative process. 

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