I think it is time America brought back indentured servitude to replace of our overpopulated, expensive and unsuccessful prison system. Now before you go off screaming insanely that “Corns is for slavery”, please consider some historical facts and how they might apply today.
Statistics show us that 53 percent of all state prison inmates are “non-violent” and pose no danger to themselves or others. Additionally, 74 percent of all local jails hold inmates of this category, with 87 percent of federal inmates in the same group. Basically, the vast majority of people incarcerated in America today are non-violent, non-threatening persons.
Currently, the USA has the largest number of imprisoned people in the world. Communist China is second. Obviously, we have something wrong in how we are dealing with crime in this country. There are simply too many people in jail. Current estimates put the cost of keeping someone incarcerated at nearly $80/day. Considering that there are over 1.6 million inmates nationwide, this makes the cost to taxpayers nearly thirteen million dollars a day.
So what are we getting for our money? Better yet, why should the taxpayers foot the bill for prisons which are in large part housing mature, able bodied, non-violent persons? Jails are just too expensive a cost on our society. Along with the overcrowding and the expense, there is the element of reform. Prisons are supposedly encouraging reform to these misguided souls who have found themselves on the wrong side of society. But are they successful? Again, the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics reports the recidivism rate of US criminals is about 67 percent. In other words, two-thirds of all criminals will be arrested again within three years (so much for successful rehabilitation)!
Criminal behavior is not reformed in prison, it is refined. The evidence is clear. America is failing to adequately deal with the numbers of people in prison, the costs associated with keeping them, and at rehabilitating them to never return. What is the answer? I believe it is indentured servitude. Think about it. Indentured service was the way many of our forefathers came to this continent to begin with.
Many European families didn’t have the money to pay for passage to America, so they voluntarily signed themselves up to be indentured to a specific person as an apprentice or laborer without pay, for a specified period of time (usually seven years). There were definite expectations and requirements for both parties. The sponsor had to provide housing, food, clothing … the necessities; while the indentured person was pledged to learn the trade and perform the chores required of him.
When successful, the indentured person could earn their freedom from their sponsor and thus become “free men”. No one was put in chains or forced to sleep with pigs. But they were expected to do an honest day’s work for their keep.
Today, we have millions of illegal immigrants doing the same thing in secret. They come across our southern borders into our largest agricultural regions and do hard, laborious work for America’s farmers. Why not have prisoners do the same? Why not require them to indenture themselves to earn back their freedom? They would learn a skill or trade. They would learn the value of work and self reliance. They might even discover a purpose for their lives beyond drugs and crime.
Obviously, what we are doing isn’t working, so why not try something else — even if it does offend a few liberals!
Gary Lee Corns