Fyodor Dostoevsky said “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” What do articles like this excellent Glenn Smith piece in Sunday’s Charleston Post & Courier, documenting the death of a young man in a South Carolina prison, or the recent United States Supreme Court opinion in Brown v. Plata finding California’s prison system was so cruel that it ordered the release of more than 30,000 inmates say about our civilization? It’s not flattering.
We claim to be greatest country in the history of the world yet we allow assault, rape and murder to be a routine part of incarceration. Our country is majority Christian yet this is how we treat the “least” of us. Often, it is the politicians and citizens proclaiming their Christianity who are most vocal about how “easy” prisoners have it under our current system.
Yes violent criminals deserved to be kept apart from the rest of society; but we have no right to abuse them or allow them to be abused under our care. The current system is shameful. A civilized or Christian culture would not tolerate it.