Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Money Isn’t Everything

Posted by MEC on October 6, 2007

Here’s what happens when “saving money” is the primary consideration:

When 17-year-old Dennys George was arrested this summer, allegedly for carrying 10 grams of crack cocaine, he was taken handcuffed and shackled to the state prison’s high-security wing — not a juvenile facility.

George said he was strip-searched and spent the night in a cell with another teen. Though he didn’t have contact with older inmates, he wouldn’t shower because he was afraid of being near them.


George is one of about 40 teenagers who have been jailed in the state prison under a new law that treats 17-year-olds as adults in the court system. Billed as a way to save money, youth advocates, judges and the attorney general sounded the alarm early that the proposal might actually be more expensive, and could hurt children.

Now, four months after the measure passed the Legislature, state officials admit their mistake: It’s unlikely to cut costs, it has created confusion in the court system and it is imprisoning teenage offenders who might have been sent home with their parents instead.

State officials say it happened because the chain of people responsible for the proposal — who drew it up, signed off on it, forwarded it to lawmakers and voted it into law — never thoroughly researched it and ignored warnings.


College-bound teenagers arrested under the new law risk losing federal financial aid if convicted of a drug crime. Those looking for work will have to disclose a criminal record. If the 17-year-olds had been in Family Court, their records would be hidden from public view.

Oh yeah, and it’s making it less likely that the kids will be rehabilitated and go on to become productive, law-abiding members of society. Does anybody care about that anymore?

22 Responses to “Money Isn’t Everything”

  1. whig said

    Well, it’s kind of the point. The drug war is intended to disenfranchise those selectively prosecuted.

  2. Stormcrow said

    Besides, if you did somehow manage to [i]rehabilitate[/i] people, that would cut into the profits of the new prison industrial complex.

    That last is Newspeak for “Amercian GULAG”, BTW.

  3. Charles said

    MEC asks, “Does anybody care about that anymore?”

    Everything that Bushco has been doing has been to weaken the next generation… to weaken every generation, really, but the rising generation is the most vulnerable. Bushco is behaving as if the United States were invincible and that the only threat were internal. Tyrants are ever thus.

  4. whig said

    Well if America is to be a saleable commodity, it needs a population that is too hungry and desperate to refuse foreign employment.

  5. MEC said

    Whig, not foreign employment. When the wall goes up to keep out illegal immigrants, Certain People will need Americans to be desperate enough to accept jobs with low wages, no security, and no protection against abuse. The propaganda campaign portraying union wages, pensions, and “gold-plated” health benefits as bad for the economy contributes to that goal, too.

  6. Charles said

    The wall may end up keeping people in. Considering the harassment of travelers, that’s all too easy to believe.

  7. MEC said

    The wall may end up keeping people in.

    Could we please skip the theocratic government of “If This Goes On—” and go straight to the Second Republic?

  8. Charles said

    Shall I draft a revised Constitution/Bill of Rights?

  9. whig said

    Do you plan to do that solo, or do you want to call a convention first? If you’ve got a draft ready to go…. Let’s read it. :)

  10. Charles said

    One of the things that characterized the American Revolution was the multiplicity of drafts declaring independence, whig. The more the better.

    I do have some clear ideas, but it will take some time to create a genuine draft.

  11. whig said

    Do you want to start by laying out principles or try to compose the whole thing in one go and put that up for comment when it’s ready?

  12. Charles said

    I want to do the whole thing, starting by laying out the long train of abuses that leads me to believe we need to establish a new form of government, then demonstrating how relatively conservative changes to the existing Constitution can result in deep and lasting reform– assuming Americans are willing to commit to changing themselves as well.

  13. MEC said

    This is not a good time to call a Constitutional Convention. It would be stacked with neocons and theocrats. We’d get The Republic of Gilead.

    It is, however, a good time to prepare for the time when a Constitutional Convention would have a reasonable collection of delegates.

  14. Charles said

    Exactly, MEC. We are headed toward a time of crisis, a crisis not of our making, but of the right’s. The side that will prevail in that crisis is the side that is prepared, especially if the proposed Constitutional changes are constructive.

  15. whig said

    So you need to write a Declaration first, it seems. Then the amendments or new frame of government. I look forward to hearing more about it when you are ready to discuss it.

  16. whig said

    MEC, no need to call a convention. We’re already committees of correspondence.

  17. whig said

    I have a different philosophy about this than some people, I’m not trying to recreate the past, I’m trying to build a future, so I think right here is plenty good.

  18. whig said

    If we decide amongst ourselves (including broader conversation among the blogs) that certain amendments or changes to our frame are necessary, then we will make them.

  19. whig said

    Including, if necessary, creating new frames from scratch. The internet was designed to withstand this very kind of thing, we are what it was built for.

  20. Charles said

    One of the most important elements of developing a consensus is close attention to precedent and history, whig.

    Most people do not want radical change. They have specific issues that move them. But changing the Constitution is inherently a radical act. By that means, we re-defined African Americans, women, and 18 year olds as full human beings, for example.

    For that reason, changes to the Constitution need to be carefully circumscribed, so that we make it clear we are not repealing the great good within it to obtain a particular goal. That’s why I believe that re-editing it will make it clear precisely what is and what is not being changed.

    The starting place is actually not the new Declaration. It is a compendium of how the original Constitution has failed us.

  21. whig said

    Charles, I believe that all deliberate procedures will and must be followed. I simply think that the consensus is first built here, and then we engage with the next level, and so forth. It grows from a seed, like anything.

  22. Charles said

    No disagreement, whig.

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