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What I Think Jails & Prisons (Don't Know The Difference Lol) Should Be For - Shreya Sachdev

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all having a nice day. For today’s blog post, I wanted to talk about what I believe jail and prisons should be like. I’m sorry, but I don’t completely understand the difference between the two so I’m just going to generalize both of them and speak about both of them as if they were the same. I apologize if that offends anyone, and if you know the difference between the two then please don’t hesitate to let me know because I would love to know and expand my knowledge. Anyways, I wanted to talk about this because I remember watching a video a couple of years ago about how prisoners in Norway weren’t even treated like prisoners, and they instead were staying in very nice facilities and even got to eat ice cream, pet puppies, and walk outside for however long they wanted. This really shocked me because I’ve always believed in things like the death penalty and for people to deal with the consequences of their actions. Therefore, at first I was really against the prison system in Norway, but after thinking about it some more over the past few months I’ve come to realize that my opinions have changed and that I do see the advantages in treating prisoners with kindness and respect, despite the crimes that they have committed. Anyways, I thought I would just speak about my thoughts on the prison and jail system with all of you guys today. Trust me, I know this is a bit of a strange blog post and nothing like what I usually talk about, but like I said I don’t only want to talk about college because I feel like it might get too repetitive, so I want to only post once a week about my time at college. I might begin to increase how much I talk about college once I’ve been here for at least two months, since right now everything is still very new to me and I’m not sure what to write about. Something else I want to say is that I have obviously posted a lot of stories about my time in high school, but I will not be doing that anymore. Now that I am in college, I want to only focus on talking about my time at college and the present day, so unfortunately I won’t be speaking about my times in high school anymore. However, if I still have this website years from now (which I hopefully do and am planning on) then I would absolutely love to do a few throwback posts in which I share my favorite high school memories, reflect a little on high school, and try to figure out whether or not I remember anything from what I learnt in high school. I think that would be really fun, but that would definitely be anytime from 5 to 8 years from now, since I want the years to go by and for me to be able to properly reflect on everything and feel nostalgic. It would most likely be after I finish not only my undergraduate degree, but also after I finish my master’s degree. So, stay tuned for that in 8 years from now! For now though, let’s get on with this blog post.

First of all, I think that the idea of locking a human being up in a cell and isolating them from the entire world, which includes their family and friends, is absolutely inhumane, and going to jail is honestly one of my worst nightmares. For me, jails and prisons should exist in order to physically protect the outside world. What I mean by this is that if someone is a killer or a rapist, then they should go to jail because they are literally a danger to society and they need to be kept locked up because we can’t risk having them out in the real world. Therefore, when it comes to crimes like assault, kidnapping, abuse, child pornography, harassment, stalking, manslaughter, homicide, hate crimes, killing and raping, I am all for prisons and jails because I think they are necessary in order to protect our society and make sure that we don’t put any more people at risk. However, when it comes to crimes such as bribery, insurance fraud, telemarketing fraud, identity theft, tax evasion, and other crimes that are wrong and shameful, but don’t actually involve anybody else’s lives being in danger or being at risk, then in my opinion jails and prisons should not be the punishment given to people who commit those crimes. Some people might be shocked to hear that, but I genuinely think that doing years of community service and paying a fine is a much more acceptable punishment rather than locking those people up, especially since they’re not actually a physical danger to society. We keep dangerous animals in cages, and we keep certain animals on a leash too. We don’t allow them to be free in the world because if they’re released, there’s a high chance that they can seriously hurt someone. That’s how it is with people who murder and rape. They need to be kept in a closed confinement so that they can’t hurt any more people. However, people who bribe or people who simply don’t pay their taxes aren’t actually physically hurting anyone, and that’s why I don’t think it’s vital for them to go to be locked up.

Last week, I was reading about how Felicity Huffman, who was accused of paying 15,000$ to have a proctor correct her daughter’s SAT test for her, was sentenced to two weeks in prison as well as 250 hours of community service, and had to pay a 30,000$ fine. Personally, I agreed with the punishment that involved the community service and the big fine, but I didn’t agree with the jail sentence. It’s not as if Felicity Huffman needs to be kept inside of a cell because she’s going to go around murdering people. Along with that, she wrote a very deep and emotional letter to the judge where she explained how she was just trying to be a good mother, and how she wanted to give her daughter a fair shot at what she really wanted to do. I’m not going to lie, I actually felt a lot of empathy for her but also was somewhat irritated at the same time. She wrote about how her daughter has a passion for acting, and that she wanted colleges to judge her daughter based on how good her acting was, not at how good she can take the SATs. To be perfectly honest, this is something that I was going through when I was going through the US college application process. I’ve mentioned this so many times already, but University of Southern California (USC) was my dream school because I want to be a screenwriter, and USC has one of the most prestigious film schools in the world. I saw their requirements and was really happy when I saw that they wanted me to write a few screenplays because I knew I could do that, but then I saw that they also wanted me to submit the SATs and my IB scores, and in my opinion I thought that was ridiculous. I think that if you’re applying for something like screenwriting or film, then you should only be judged based on your creative portfolio. I spent so much time making sure my portfolio was great, but my parents also spent over 10,000$ for me on SAT tutoring. I remember that in the summer of my sophomore year of high school, I did an intensive seven week SAT preparation course, but because I still didn’t feel prepared I did another two months of SAT tutoring, and it was such a pain and such a waste of time especially since I wanted to go into screenwriting, not math. Therefore, I can see where Felicity Huffman is coming from since I agree it’s unfair that students who want to go into film, drama, or anything in the creative field are still being tested on how well they can do math and other subjects. Nevertheless, that doesn’t excuse her actions. She paid 15,000$ to have someone correct her daughter’s SAT for her, whereas my family paid 10,000$ on tutoring and did it the moral way. I still do not think that Felicity Huffman should have gone to prison, and I honestly don’t think that anyone who is not a rapist or a murderer should be put in jail because they’re not an actual danger to society.

Anyways, those are just my opinions on what I think jails and prisons should be for. I’m not saying that people who commit fraud or bribery shouldn’t pay for their actions. All I’m saying is that they should pay for their actions without jail time. Of course, this also brings up the debate of whether or not people would be more inclined to commit those crimes if they knew that they wouldn’t be facing any jail time, and that’s a really interesting argument that I definitely realize, and in that sense maybe it is necessary for people who commit those crimes to serve jail time, since it keeps the public afraid and less willing to commit those crimes. It’s definitely a huge debate, but I don’t want to drag this post for too long and instead just give you guys my own short opinion. Like I said above, this definitely isn’t the type of blog post that I would usually write about. In fact, I tend to stay away from political topics in the news because I feel like it causes so much drama. Along with that, I hate people who talk about issues like climate change, food waste, gun violence, and all those other things, but don’t actually do anything about it. If I were to talk about those things, then I know I wouldn’t have the motivation to actually do anything about it and that’s why I don’t like to talk about those issues since I don’t want to turn into those types of people. This post was just me sharing an opinion, and not complaining about the prison or jail system, so please don’t think that I’m being hypocritical when I say that there are people out there in the world who talk about issues but don’t actually do anything about them. As always, let me know what you think jails and prisons should be like since I’m always interested in hearing what you have to say, and of course stay tuned for my next post!

Shreya Sachdev