Responsible Citizen? What does that mean?

(excerpt from my graduation paper)

How can a society genuinely expect a person who has never had a loving home or any good examples to make good decisions and become productive citizens of society? What do we do with these people? As a responsible citizen how do we make sure that no one falls through the cracks?

All of these questions have plagued my mind throughout my internship. I am especially compassionate toward this because I see young men as young as twenty one years old that will never spend a day outside of a prison. All of the things we take for granted they will not get to enjoy the way we do.

Granted they were in bad places and in some cases did unspeakable acts, but what can we expect when the only example they have in their life is failure, disappointment and loss.

I genuinely do not know how to feel about the situation because the victim in the cases will never have the opportunity to do anything anymore. Their life has been taken and in most circumstances they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. So society we need to put our heads together and look at the system we have in place. It obviously isn’t working if we have over eight million under supervision in the criminal justice system in the United States. That is a huge amount of people falling through the cracks.

What do we do with these people? Well is is obvious that right now most of them end up in prison. The mental health system has been gutted and that resource is not a easily attainable for many inmates that need treatment and not incarceration. So where do we start to make things better, and what does an attorney’s office have anything to do with this? The number one answer it tax money. A huge amount is spent on defending capital trials. Two attorneys are appointed in each capital case and since often the defendant will not get out of jail for many years if ever the state must pay for this defense. In capital cases there are many things that must be done to make a capital punishment an option for the jury to consider. This takes up a huge sum of money because the state is paying both sides and for all of their research, time, and other necessary people that are on their team.

I think it is important to stress that justice is making sure that the rights of a defendant have been preserved. There are cases were someone as guilty as sin is let go because there were mistakes in the investigation. This does not happen as often as people may think, and it is over exaggerated because media coverage is only what a producer knows will sell.  Many people in society generally views this situation in a different light than how I see it now. They look at the defense and complain they got him off, but if these rights of due process and Miranda are not preserved then the system that protects us will no longer be in place.

I never understood how the ACLU or defense attorneys could defend guilty people, but if someone doesn’t fight for these rights then the scales of justice have been tipped and it is not a fair system where people have a chance to defend themselves.


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