There ain’t no rest for the wicked, unless you can afford the finest bed. I’m not saying that “wicked” and “wealthy” are synonyms. But I am saying that the nation’s richest can seem to do no wrong. Even if that means going to jail.
The fact is, according to prisionpolicy.org, more than half a million people walk into prison each year. However, they also state “people go to jail 10.6 million times each year.” They say that nationally, the median bail is $10,000. So, of course, some people can afford this. All they would have to do is phone a friend, cry a little and leave to go laugh it off. Then there are the others who cannot. So, they sit there in jail until proven guilty or found innocent. All the while, their life back home, out of the cell, stops – though we all know that bills do not.
Sure, some people could have committed a terrible crime. But what about those who were wrongly accused? It doesn’t matter. Do you have the finest lawyer or the underpaid public defender? That’s the real question, but only the wallet can answer.
It’s the oddest, classist thing I’ve seen. Or maybe not. I’ve just thought the “buying” people out of jail was strange.
But I understand why some would pay to see their loved one back at home instead of behind bars. Some have that opportunity, and if they have the means, it’s probably no question.
However, the issue isn’t with them. The issue is with the system. (But if someone committed murder and ordered themselves the most expensive lawyer and walked out a free man, that’s a big moral issue. But isn’t it all? Heck, sure it happens with other crimes. I digress.)
Sadly, prisonpolicy.org also says that “one in four people who go to jail will be arrested again within the same year.” Usually, it’s due to underlying issues like poverty and addictions. Still, I wonder if jail is the assistance they need to help further their lives. Apparently, it doesn’t work as well as the system would like to believe. Or maybe it does.
From here, I’m not sure how to fix this. I don’t know if anyone does. It’s been embedded into our world for so long, some might wonder if it’s too late for change. But as long as the keys to freedom are still held by those who have the wealth of the nation, what can an average man do?
I’m sure we’ve all seen it. I have, but I didn’t realize how tilted toward injustice it was. I didn’t realize that it was wrong. I just thought that’s how the world worked for average people.
— Hannah Morgan, a native of Wyoming County, is attending WVU in pursuit of a career in journalism. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org