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John Maki, executive director of the John Howard Association of Illinois (courtesy

“Who would you rather meet on the streets of Chicago? A recently released parolee who has spent three mandatory years in Illinois’ crowded and under-resourced prison system or an offender who has completed an intensive evidence-based alternative sentencing program that is proven to reduce recidivism?” – John Maki, executive director, The John Howard Association, quoted in Prison watchdog group opposes boosting gun violation sentences [via]

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  1. Considering one of the nicest guys I know did a ten year stretch for drug trafficking (some 5 figure number of acid hits) and it was that misery that convinced him to turn his life around I may have a slightly scewed perspective. That being said I really don’t mind meeting any felon on the streets provided I A) have the capacity to defend myself and B) have legal recognition of that right.

    Those two preconditions of course mean that I would not like to meet either felon in Chicago where as I would be fine doing so in say Albuquerque.

    • There’s a full patch Bandidos member in my city who fits the same description, but he tells me it took dozens of arrests and several convictions before he got tired of running and fighting. Nice guy now, but since I have no justification for searching his criminal history, I have no idea how many people he hurt before seeing the light.

  2. Translated
    Do you want to meet someone who *just* went to prison or someone who’s got a participation award from the new “Prison-Plus” program?
    Dunno. Did either work?

  3. Define “meet”. Is he working and being a productive member of society? Or is he lurking near an atm waiting for you to withdraw some cash?

    I worked in a prison. My personal belief is that if your first trip to the lock up doesn’t break you of the habit, nothing short of death will. Any man’s entitled to 1 mistake and a chance to put it right. But the guys that are going in more than once, they should be in a lifetime labor battalion improving roads in Alaska.

    • As an LEO, I have always found our corrections system to be repugnant. Our way of dealing with ex-cons practically guarantees recidivism; a guy can get cut loose after serving his sentence but he never REALLY gets cut loose, does he? Want a good job? Sorry buddy, you answered “yes” to question number nine. Want to vote? No can do pal, you’re not really a citizen anymore. Want the RKBA? You can’t be trusted with a gun. With society treating ex-cons like misbehaved children, what is their incentive to rejoin it?

      Criminals should fall into one of two categories:

      1) Those guilty of non-violent crimes or lesser violent crimes, non-recidivists: These guys actually get a fair shake. They are going to lose their freedom for a while to atone for what they’ve done but when they come out of prison they’ll be coming out with a trade: carpenters, wood-workers, craftsmen, miners, loggers, plumbers, electricians, computer programmers, sheet-metal workers, agriculture, cooking, automotive mechanics, etc. Degree programs for the smarter ones. Couple skills training with some tedious labor (growing their own crops and tending to their own livestock sounds like a good start) to help foster a work-ethic (i.e. no crops no food). Perhaps we could work with banks to find them low-interest start-up loans for small businesses upon release. Wipe the slate clean; full-restoration of civil rights and immunity from ever having to answer questions about their past on any job application. Treat them like adults. I am not a big government person but the return on investment for the rest of society would be worth it, unlike most entitlement programs. The caveat to this is that we cannot afford to do this with the war on drugs going on. Either decriminalize for use (more income for states that way) or legalize. All of a sudden, your pool of criminals becomes MUCH smaller and this course of action becomes possible.

      2) Category 2 is where we put repeat offenders, violent rapists (i.e. not the 18 year old dude with the 17 year old girlfriend or some other such nonsense), child molesters, 1st degree murderers, professional home-invaders, terrorists, and truly horrible people. This is not the warm and fuzzy institution the category 1 offenders enjoy. Once you land here, you stay here. Activities include making big rocks into gravel and being locked up most of the day. If after 20 years in prison we can’t trust a person to vote or bear arms, then they have no business being free. Period. Enter in prison shoes, leave in a body bag decades later, unless you win an appeal. This is a MUCH more manageable maximum security population.

      The combination of these two would save the tax payers a sh*t ton of cash, and I would stake my left nut that recidivism would be decreased dramatically.

      • Couldnt agree more.
        I feel for the peoples whos lives are generally destroyed over a mistake. Yes they broke the law, but many felonies do not justify the end of ones future.
        The war on drugs especially. Many will not agree, but there should just be legalization. If heroin was given by script the addicts wouldnt overdose from unknown purity or toxins, they wouldnt have to rob or steal for their fix, and it would dismantle the US illicit drug trade in one swoop along with generating huge money for the country by taxation. That goes for all drugs. If someone wants to use, that is their choice. They are going to do it anyway, and the sooner the cartels and criminals are out of the picture the better for our country.
        I dont mean gas stations selling heroin amd cocaine, but perscriptions for those who choose to do so.
        I know thats a radical opinion to some, but i truely believe it would be better. Making users amd addicts felons and forcing them to steal and rob for their habit because “drugs are bad” is a proven failure. The WOD is a proven failure.
        Until then we will see massive prison overcrowding full of addicts, high crime rates, overdose deaths, ever growing cartel power and a low rehabilitation rate.
        The “youre a felon your life is over starting now” does absolutely nothing but put more lifetime criminals on our streets.

  4. An air compressor to the temple for violent or even just repeat offenders might mean I don’t have to encounter either type. Taliban style punishments go a long way towards convincing people to play nice or at least think twice before jacking that next car or wallet. But considering having potential victims armed is out of the question, “violence only breeds violence” and all the other enabling bull will keep these dangerous people out of the lye pit where they belong.

    • When you implement Taliban-style punishments, murderous thugs flock to the job and never get in trouble for their brutality.

  5. That depends. Could the parolee be a five-star female exotic escort who was just released from a three year term at a women’s prison and has three years of pent up hormonal needs she wants to satisfy?

    • 1. Like that’s ever gonna happen…

      2. They really don’t look the same without their makeup and your beer goggles…

      3. Do you really want someone like that in such close intimate contact with your life….

      • If she is really a “five star” than she has any number of clients who are politicians and A-list celebrities. She ain’t going to jail.

        And Aaron, we know you aren’t being serious.

  6. I hate to admit it but Norways prison system works, even though many people complain of how inmates are treated too good. It works since it has only a 20% recidivism rate compared to the 50% rate of the US.

      • I haven’t done a huge amount of research, but from photos in the UK news, the prisons there look like vacation resorts. Fancy architecture and materials, comfortable furniture and clothing, and lots of mental health people wandering around to help you see the error of your ways.

        Not sure that would work here- there’s less opportunity for economic advancement in the places many criminals come from, less cultural glorification of criminal behavior, and less sense of pride in being an upstanding citizen.

  7. What an ostentatious display of superfluous verbosity, intended to overwhelm an audience with awe, with all that jargon of pseudo-scientific terminology impressing them with the efficacy of what was uttered.

  8. Who would I rather meet on the streets of Chicago? Frankly, neither one, but if I had a really big gun on the streets of Chicago, I could tolerate either.

  9. That’s a “When did you stop beating your wife?” type of question. I take the fifth and respectfully decline to play unarmed.

  10. Chicago falls into one of my “no-go” places. Along with Seattle, California, Colorado and all of New England!

  11. Or even scarier, meeting a former Chicago or Detroit Mayor either on the street or (more likely) in prison..

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