Society is letting down our youth.
Posted on 30. Jul, 2010 by paul b

I started this article on hearing that there are more 17yr old black youths are in Jail than in College in the USA. The phrase ‘that can’t be right’ sprang to mind in two ways. 1. Is that correct?… The answer unfortunately is, yes. And 2. Is that morally acceptable?… The answer for me is, most certainly not!
We seem to be locked into a growing cycle of self perpetuation that unless action is taken will get bigger and bigger and create a whole new world of hurt… and I’m not being overly dramatic here.
In the UK in the 80’s and 90’s the courts in the UK (and I guess the USA) started treating juveniles as adults and giving them longer sentences… After all house breaking and robbery are just as traumatic if it’s done by a 15year old as a 30year old, very little thought was given to the mental maturity of the offender.
In an adult prison, Juvenile offenders are more likely to be sexually abused and commit suicide. British Prison Reform Trust found that while people aged 15 to 21 made up 13 percent of the prison population; they comprised 22 percent of all suicide deaths.
Habitual adult offenders don’t grow on trees who suddenly decide on a life of crime as a career move at 25yrs of age. They are nurtured, encouraged and schooled just any other semi professional.
The New Jersey Medical School examining the problem came to some now obvious conclusions:
• The present system is not working.
• Severe penalties do not deterred juveniles from committing crimes.
• The penal system does not rehabilitated the youth sentenced under them
• It actually makes juveniles more violent.
A Florida study shows that youth sent into the adult system had 34% more felony arrests after being released than those held in juvenile facilities.

Stating the obvious again
If you want to have less Adult Prisoners in the future you have to start cutting the number of Juvenile offenders now.. For prisoners you can read crime… If you want less crime you have to stop children (for that is what they are) becoming offenders.
Taking a side step for a moment… We all (roughly) have the same intelligence, what we don’t have is the same education or educational advantage. Education is what sets productive members of society apart from people who don’t want to work and your opportunist thug.
OK. The above paragraph contains some sweeping generalisations, but the basic principle is correct.
Education solves problems in more areas than just crime. Education puts people in jobs… it creates jobs… It makes people more socially interactive and it lessens the divide between the haves and the have-nots. Also, Education once put into people’s heads makes revenue for the country.
The average unit cost of keeping someone in prison in 2009 was £24,271 a year compared with £2,369 for a probation order and £1,770 for a community service order.
The cost of keeping a prisoner locked up in a U. S. prison, on average, is more than it costs for most college students in tuition for a year. It is reported to run from $15,000 to $38,000 a year depending on state.
Education, in the UK, is not cheap, a Graduate will leave University after 3 yrs with a debt to the Government of about £30,000 before they start work. When I was a student, many years ago I got a grant and tuition fees that I didn’t have to repay, and I had friends, like myself, from working class backgrounds who would not have gone onto further education, but for the fact it was FREE. Friends, who if they had of been born 20 years later, might have drifted into a completely different layer of society.
I can’t help but think some of the modern problems afflicting society is due the restricting Education to those that can afford it and those that are mature enough at an early age to see the value in it.
A juvenile in prison for 3 years will cost us £74,000 and untold years of strife to society. He will probably re-offend and long term cost even more time and money. A fraction of that money spent now, will save money in the future.
Personally, I would rather have free education to a high standard for all young adults and provide new dedicated establishments with free facilities, cafe, climbing walls, gyms, computers, athletics, boxing, clubs, community centre, etc and access to education and people who would be mentors to try to prevent some committing offences in the first place.
What we need is a total revamp of the education system and investment in society’s future now, rather than perpetuate this spiral of neglect.
We need to invest in the future, not cut back investment in schools. It is not economic prudence to save money now, it is folly!.

Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents - Our Mission is to do better!


Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents - Our Mission is to do better!

TIME FOR CHANGE - Kids behind bars

Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents - Our Mission is to do better!
Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents - Our Mission is to do better!

Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents - Our Mission is to do better!

eTc Campaign

Advocate for Change We hope you will use the information on this website to ask policy makers for changes in the prison phone system.  Many of the positive changes we have seen were the result of just one or two policy makers who became concerned. The following FAQs will help you prepare to contact individuals.
1. How do I get started?

Be certain you understand the situation.

  • Visit the Rates by State page to see how the rates you are paying and the calling options you have compare to other states in the region and across the country.
  • Visit the National Perspective page to see how the system you are forced to use compares with others.
  • Visit the Developments Since 2000 page to see what has happened in your state and what editorialists have said, if anything.
2. Who should I contact?

Prison phone policies are determined at the state level.  So, we recommend that you contact state officials. 
Those include the following:

  • Public Service Commission or agency that regulates utilities
  • Attorney General or Agency that oversees consumer protection
  • Commissioner or Director of the Department of Corrections
  • Phone Company that provides the service
  • Better Business Bureau for the region that headquarters the phone company
  • Your state representative
  • Your state senator
3. What if I accept calls from another state?  Who do I write to in that case? Write to the officials in the state from which you receive calls.  In the case of legislators, write to the chairpersons of the house and senate committees that oversee corrections.  (Those can be located on the state's legislative website.)
4. What points should I raise?

We have heard a number of complaints from individuals who receive calls from individuals who are incarcerated.  Depending upon your experiences, you may want to raise some of the following issues:

  • I have been charged for calls I was not home to receive.
  • I have had calls prematurely terminated.
  • I have had my phone number blocked, apparently because the phone company with whom the prison system has contracted does not have a billing agreement with my local phone company.
  • I am charged exorbitant rates, in part because the phone company that operates the inmate phone service offers (and the state agrees to accept) an unreasonably high commission.
  • I am not allowed less expensive calling options. There is no technical reason why I should not be able to receive prepaid and/or debit calls that avoid operator assistance and can be billed profitably at considerably lower rates.
  • I am forced to pay in advance for collect phone calls, and never receive an accounting of dates, times, and length of calls charged against that prepayment.
  • The phone company charges me to process my payment.

5. What else should I include in the letter?

Be certain to include your name and address.  You may want to include your phone number as well.
Explain how long you have been receiving calls from the prison.  You may want to include a copy of your phone bill or the total amount you spend in a typical month.
6. How do I find the addresses of the individuals to whom I should write? 
Look up the phone company for the prison system on the Rates by State page. Click here for the chart that provides the address for each phone company and the associated Better Business Bureau. Click here for the address of the regulatory agency, the consumer protection advocate and the department of corrections.  See your state legislature's website for the address of your state senator and state representative.
7.How do I respond to false claims by the phone company or the department of corrections?
Many of those who defend abusive prison telephone systems offer misleading information for justification. Policy should be based on truth, not fiction.  Here is the truth:

  • Neither the state utility regulators (in most cases) nor the Federal Communications Commission sets rates for prison phone calls.  Since deregulation, phone companies are required to file rates, but those rates are not regulated or monitored.  (Check the Litigation Section of the "Progress Since 2000" page to see if the utility commission in your state has taken any action.)

  • The security features required for prison phone calls (e.g. branding, time limitations, monitoring, number restrictions, and bans on 3rd party calls) can be applied to debit calls as well as collect calls - at no additional cost.  (Because debit calls are prepaid and require no operator assistance, debit calls are charged at rates that are considerably cheaper than collect rates.) 

  • Debit calling would not require additional expensive hardware or software.

  • Representatives of phone companies have told us that debit calling would NOT substantially reduce the revenue received by the prison system.  If calls were less expensive, individuals would simply call more often.

  • It is not necessary to wait until the expiration of the contract to initiate changes.  Prison systems have negotiated changes in existing contracts.

  • While it is true that prisoner calls generally do not cost more than a collect call in the free world, it is important to understand that prisoners in many states are only allowed to make expensive collect calls.  Individuals in the free world can avoid such charges by making direct calls or using credit cards, debit cards, toll-free numbers, etc.

  • It is NOT true that taxpayers would have to subsidize the cost of the prison phone system if rates were reduced.  Commissions currently paid to the prison systems more than cover any costs associated with the phones.  If debit calling were implemented, rates could be reduced even more and still cover all costs.

  • It is true that the families and friends of prisoner are often poor, and can ill afford unreasonably high phone charges.

  • It is true that prisons are often built far from population centers, making visiting expensive and difficult.  Phone contact is the most practical means of staying in touch.

  • To the extent that telephone commissions are used for the benefit of prisoners, all taxpayers benefit as well.  It is not fair to "tax" only the families and friends of prisoners to pay for programs that will rehabilitate, produce more secure prisons, and enhance public safety.

If I Get Out Alive - Children Sentenced to Adult Prison - Press Play to Listen

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