A Question of Mercy and Justice? (Outside Event)

Watch both these three videos and in 200 words discuss how they connect to each other and what they tell us about “justice,” “mercy,” and “equity”





  1. The main thing that connects these three videos is money and targeting the lower class of America. In the video, To Prison For Poverty, we see how probation had become privatized. Probation is supposed serve as a way to keep people out of prison, but with probation companies their only main concern is profit, and the poorest communities are their best markets. Sentinal, one of the private probation companies, collected $40 million in one year from probation payments. Being poor isn’t a crime, but our punishment system has allowed poverty to be criminalized so companies can make a profit instead of stopping the reoccurring cycle of prison to poverty. In the video, Books Not Bars, we see the same trend of prison being a giant industry. The construction of a prison includes all sorts of job markets…trucking, technology, cameras, gates, air conditioning, paint, electricity, and so many more. Young people are criminalized because of their age, their race, and because of being poor. They are then sent through a system that doesn’t care about them and involves anger, violence, rape, and so much more because we have allowed the punishment system to become a major industry. The same money spent on building youth prisons could be invested into our youth’s future by building schools, giving them a chance to gain an education and valuable future and a chance to break the cycle. In the video, This is Crazy: Criminalizing Mental Health, the same trend again is happening. Rather than taking the mentally ill to care centers where they can be treated, they are being thrown into the prison system to fill beds. Everything known about how to help mental illness is thrown out the window in prison. Medicine neglect, a violent environment, solitary confinement, untrained guards… all these things only worsen the condition of someone who has a mental illness. Rather than having police crisis intervention training, jail diversion programs, community treatment programs, supportive housing, discharge planning and supervised releases, these put are put through a vicious cycle, even though investing in these types of things has actually saved millions in health services and jail costs. What this tells us about justice, mercy, and equity is that these things do not exist within our prison systems today because it has been allowed and even encouraged to profit from someone’s incarceration.


  2. What these three videos have in common is a lack of justice, mercy and equality. Each video shows a broken system that victimizes poverty. The video, “To Prison For Poverty” shows the lack of justice behind JCS, Sentinel and other private probation companies. Men and women going to prison for a $41 ticket is not fair or just at all. If you can’t pay because you are poor, then you get handed over to a private probation company. Then threaten with jail time, and often the individual ends up going to jail. JCS tacks on additional fines each month making the offender deeper and deeper in debt. The video said “being poor isn’t a crime” however that what it has turned into here. In “Bars not Books” you can see the Criminal Justice system exploit even more impoverished people. By investors making a profit off of each body that enters the prison, the Prison Industrial Complex system. This business has become such a safe investment that more money is going into it than schools. This only makes the demand for prisons greater, strengthening the investment. In the Video, “This is Crazy” poor, uneducated, and disabled people are again victimized by the Prison Industrial Complex system. Instead of investing in helping these people, the money goes to repeating the cycle, by going back into funding the prisons.


  3. Each of these 3 videos shows how the criminal justice system is targeting the poor or lower class in order to make a profit. They show 3 different situations in where they feel attacked and/or abandoned and hopeless. The video To Prison For Poverty shows how a company named JCS is targeting those in poverty in the area for not being able to pay tickets. These are people who have very little income and are trying to find jobs. They are unable to pay their tickets so they are put on probation and charged more each month. When they can’t pay the probation then they are put in jail, all so JCS can make a profit. They aren’t trying to help these people, they are just trying to make more money. In Books Not Bars it shows how there is more money spent on prisons than there is on education. Again, it’s in a poor community where those who go to jail often end up going back and the prisons and criminal justice system keep getting more money. In This Is Crazy, It shows how the criminal justice system is failing to help those who have mental illnesses. Instead of getting them the help they need and taking them to a place where they can be treated, they are treated as dangerous criminals and put in prison where they get worse instead of better. Police officers don’t have the right training to deal with mentally ill people and the situation often ends bad. Again, more prisoners means more funding for the prisons. These 3 videos show how corrupt the criminal justice system has become. There is hardly any true justice, mercy, or equality.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s