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Just Plain Mean

Last edited: Tuesday, February 12, 2002
Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2002

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Scotty's Soap Box

For my soap Box Today, let's discuss chemical imbalances in one’s brain, and how one can become a "productive" member in society. But first, I once again must offer the following disclaimer: The editor of this publication accepts no responsibility for the contents of this article nor its content. In other words, please address your mind-altering opinions directly to the author of this article.
I love talking to old folks. They're a wealth of information. Recently, I had the pleasure of talking to a retired Prison Warden. For the sake of confidentially, we'll just call him Warden Doe.
As a crime writer, I was seeking some information on the prison system and was introduced to Warden Doe through a third party. Having over thirty-eight years of working in the Georgia Prison system, Warden Doe gave me more than enough information to aid me in my next book project. However, what I really learned from our meeting is what I would like to share with my audience.
We discussed the difference in the way prison systems are run today, versus the days of old. I don’t have to really tell you what most of us already know; our prison system, along with our legal system, is a mess. The criminals have almost as many, or more, rights than the average citizen. Ambulance-chasing attorneys will file a suit against the prison system for abuse of their state-sponsored clients quicker than you and I can order a drive- through meal. But one issue that Warden Doe really educated me on was the issue of parole for many of these social misfits. We focused on one of the most common parole opportunities available to those convicted of crimes.
Bi-Polar, the medical term for those that have some kind of mental disease, seems to be the disease of choice for those seeking to "play-the-system." I'll spare you the medical definition of this disease. However, here's how it works in the prison system: Commit a crime, go to prison, convince the state paid medical staff that you're Bi-Polar, and it’s your ticket to be released back to society. Don't let me forget to use the term "productive" member. The medical profession uses this word "productive" to convince us that these criminals can be released, if medicated properly.
My understanding of this mental disease is that it can be treated by medication such as Prozac, or several other mind-altering medications, that can balance out the chemicals in one’s brain. The supposed theory behind this is that a criminal sometimes commits crimes, due to the imbalance of such chemicals in their brain. Treat this imbalance, and they can return to society to become a (there's that word again) "productive" member. Does it work? Well, not in Warden's Doe experience.
"They play this so-called mental disease to their advantage. They get out on parole and quit taking their medication. They commit another crime, return back to prison, get re-medicated, and before you know it, they’re released right back to the streets," quoted Warden Doe.

By now, you might be asking, "What about the third strike rule?" Well, keep in mind this is sort-of a game between the prison system, the professional medical staff and the bad guys. The bad guys can be thrown balls with, "We can medicate you and return you back to society as a (there's that word again) productive member." Therefore, don’t be fooled with this third strike issue to make you think our system is really putting away all the hard criminals. Folks, it isn't happening!
Warden Doe made a common-sense observation concerning the criminals in this world and the recent terrorist attacks on our country; "There are professional people in this world who make all the excuses for those in our prison system, and the recent acts of the terrorist. What these overeducated, trained professionals failed to recognize is that most of these criminals and terrorists are "just plain mean!"
Before writing this article, I wanted to make sure I wasn't just passing on this sort of information without doing more research. Therefore, I spoke to a social worker who currently works in the State Prison system. Not only did she verify everything I mentioned in the above paragraphs, but she also described an event that actually happened to her from one of these so-called Bi-Polar individuals.
Early last year, this female state worker testified in court against one of these Bi-Polar individuals who was seeking early release from prison. While in the courtroom, she testified that she felt he was using the system to gain early release. She recommended he not be released early. For her testimony, she was stabbed inside the courtroom by this hopeful (that word again) "productive" member of society.
For her pain and suffering, the State of Georgia offered her compensation. Of course with the stipulation that she resign from her state job and not discuss the events that had taken place inside the courtroom. This case is still pending and I'm anxiously awaiting the final outcome of this one! By the way, the State of Georgia kept this thing pretty much under wraps until my soapbox got a hold of it. I always wanted to live in Florida! Sorry, let me get back on the soapbox.
So, what are we, as a society, to do about this problem within the system. Well I'm sure that some professional medical person has the solution. There is no doubt that all of us law-abiding citizens may also have a chemical imbalance in our brains. We possibly need to be medicated by some sort of mind-altering drug. This will help us all to understand that there really isn’t a problem, and we're disagreeing over an issue because of our own brain chemical imbalance.
Well that's my soapbox for today. Not one to disagree with the recommendations of trained medical professionals, it's time for a mind-altering drug. Maybe then I can become a (my God, that word again) "productive" member of society. Beer Please!

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