With the impending criminal trial for Senator Ralph Shorty, I have to say that it doesn't have to be the final chapter in Ralph's public life. I want him to get a fair trial and a just verdict. And then I want him to be a better man.
This is what I want for every fellow Oklahoman. Yes, we need societal accountability and prudent discretion. But let's also look for ways to protect society, promote public safety, and still be hopeful & helpful. Simply locking up people for years on end, has cost us too much money.
Is there a better way? Do technology and innovation give us better and less costly options? Can house arrest and monitors give us cheaper options which still punish and protect, while allowing families to stay strong, independent, and positive influences for accountability?
Can a nonviolent offender work from home and still be a good parent, spouse, and neighbor?
I hope the legislature takes a good look at the options. I'm not sure Ralph Shortey would have supported such options before, but I think he might be a poster child, now.
We now have politicians getting re-elected with political contributions from the private prison lobby. Genius political move, but completely ill-motivated.
Last November, the voters of Oklahoma loudly spoke when they passed State Questions 780 & 781. The 17% margin totally deflated the bluster of the prosecutors who became disciples of the Keating doctrine of piling on long prison sentences, then shipping convict so far away from their families and support, that even the words of Jesus Christ became seldomly practiced ("When was I in prison, and you came to visit me?"). Some legislators, like Ralph Shortey, believe the voters were ignorant and their ballot results should be thrown out. Ralph is notorious for carrying unauthorized concealed firearms into the state capitol (something that the rest of us would be at least detained for doing).
But due process policies were also thwarted, because the detention officers work for a company which gets more money when they make claims on the behavior of inmates which result in longer incarcerations.
Watch the video produced by TruTV & New York University; reporting on the results of an academic research.