Over the course of my time at the Slabs, I met several people who served jail time – and probably many others who also served, but not to my knowledge. While I may not have a full picture of the events detailed below, the stories and experiences shared with me sparked three thoughts:
1- One man was incarcerated in various state prisons for six and a half years for burglary. During his sentence, he shared a prison – and often a cell – with criminals convicted of far more violent activities. He was often roughed up and the experience was traumatizing. Not that prison should be a walk in the park, but it’s absurd that such different types of prisoners could be so dangerously lumped together. Does anyone have thoughts, ideas or insights on this?
2- My dinner companion at Karma Kitchen argued that the justice system does a lousy job of delivering justice to the victim. For example, three men stole $1,000 from an elderly woman at the Slabs. These men were sentenced to time in prison, but this woman will not be repaid the money stolen from her. My dinner friend argued that a proper judicial system would have uniform punishments for particular actions, but would also make a point of compensating victims for their losses. In your experience, does our legal system do this? If so, what are the exceptions and loopholes that screw people like this elderly woman over?
3- One friend burned his identification when he came to the Slabs. He had been repeatedly screwed over by “society” and no longer wanted to be part of government or “tracked” or anything of the sort. I initially felt that the decision was not well thought-through: What about social security checks? Voting? Driving? Leaving the country, and coming back in? A later conversation revealed that he had indeed thought through these things and ideologically decided that it was worth it to him to live off the charts and be ‘truly free’. I never met a person with such a different perspective who also had the guts to (stupidly or cleverly) put ideology into action. Have you ever met anyone like this? Do you find this appealing? Irresponsible? Both?
The past year has been an incredible series of eye-opening, giggle-inducing, occasionally stress-provoking learning experiences: the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, the RV, Burning Man, Faces of Israel, Reno, Los Angeles, Israel, Joshua Tree National Park. Hands down, there was something different and unique about this week. I have always contended that travel is about the people and cultures you meet, and this was a powerful week of people meeting. Boy, we’re not in Riverdale anymore!
posted by ayo