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Monday, May 23, 2011


The simple solution?  Commit a crime and spend a year in the Halawa Community Correctional Facility (HCCF).  Cost?  Free, although you must give up something called freedom.  Yes, I'm being sarcastic, but I can't really sympathize too much with a convicted criminal who comes in really fat, weighing 318 pounds, and loses 100 pounds to a now lithe 220 pounds, the ideal weight for a 6 feet 5 inch wide NFL receiver, or basketball forward.  That's George Rowan and his wife, Gemmi, to the left from an article in the Honolulu Star Advertiser yesterday complaining that prison food at the HCCF was inadequate.  I wonder if he is related to Akebono, or Chad George Rowan.  Prisoners who lose weight while in prison should mostly be thankful for an eventual prolonged life.

I thought, perhaps, this was one of those cynical articles with a punch line.  Nope, the award winning reporter, Rob Perez, was unfunnily serious.  Mind you, I don't exactly cherish the thought of surviving on HCCF meals for a whole year, but these are criminals, many, if not most, having been convicted more than once.

The Department of Public Safety provides the following info [my meals are boldly in these parentheses]:


BREAKFAST [one-third of an apple]

>> Fruit or fruit juice: 4 oz.
>> Scrambled eggs: 4 oz.
>> Rice: 8 oz.
>> Whole wheat bread: 2 slices, margarine
>> Cold cereal: 1 cup
>> Skim milk: half pint
>> Hot beverage (coffee): 8 oz.

LUNCH  [Rainbow Drive-In bento with, sometimes, a beer]
>> Roast beef: 4 oz.
>> Brown gravy: 2 oz.
>> Mashed potatoes: 8 oz.
>> Green beans: 4 oz.
>> Whole wheat bread: 2 slices with margarine
>> Fruit: 4 oz.
>> Beverage (juice): 8 oz.

DINNER [4 oz of grilled fish, 4 oz of steamed rice, a simple salad, glass of wine]
>> Grilled fish: 4 oz.
>> Steamed rice: 8 oz.
>> Cooked cabbage: 4 oz.
>> Whole wheat bread: 2 slices with margarine
>> Tartar sauce: 4 oz.
>> Fruit: 4 oz.
>> Beverage: (skim milk or juice): 8 oz.

While some prisoners might disagree on the authenticity of the above, according to Larry Hale of the state correctional facilities:

“The foods are nutritionally balanced as accepted by a registered dietitian,” Hales said in written responses to the broadsheet. “All statewide correctional facilities follow the same 5-7 days standardized menu cycle.”

A case can be made about larger people getting more to eat.  But if the policy is to maintain good health, and someone is obese, some control on input would be warranted, for it has been shown that your survival instinct going back to our origins attempts to maximize calories when food is available.  This is a good part of the reason why past Hawaiian royalty and many Americans are overweight.  In comparison, I have no snacks and try to walk on a golf course to maintain my weight.  Why don't I have any sympathy for "bad" prison food?  Crime #2 below explains why.

The following was serialized nearly two years ago from my SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity, and published as Part 2 of a series which started in the Huffington Post:

Part 1, the background, of this two part series, can be found in myJune 11th posting of the Huffington Post. This is one of those truly controversial matters that might best be left unsaid. However, if the January 1939 issue of TIME can picture Adolph Hitler on the front cover, I thought I'd likewise offer this subject for discussion.Anyway, I'm still unsure how I entered this territory, but I guess it was the unfolding of a solution for crime that just developed as I wrote Chapter 1 of SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity. By the way, the real cover used on January 2. 1939 was:

Let me come straight to this simple solution to crime: Three Strikes and You're Dead (TSAYD)! To repeat, THREE STRIKES AND YOU'RE DEAD. Let me remind you (as underscored in both SIMPLE SOLUTION books) that simple solutions are rarely simple.

First conviction: Someone commits a crime. Do everything possible to reform the misguided individual. One remediative option is restorative justice, promoting repair, reconciliation and the rebuilding of relationships. The process attempts to build partnerships, seeking balanced approaches for victim, wrongdoer and community. There will be a lot of counseling and, as necessary and possible, some restitution.

New Zealand legislated in 1989 restorative justice for juvenile crime. Then, there were 64 violations per 1,000 in the population. Today, this figure has dropped to 16.

The concept is hardly new, as the Pentateuch, sometimes called the Torah, the so-called books of Moses, advocated compensation for property crimes, as did the Code of Hammurabi (1700 BC).  Here are Menes (wrote the first laws in 3000 BC), Moses and Hammurabi, by Boardman Robinson:

The Code of Ur-Nammu (2000 BC) required amends for violence. Ur-Nammu (to the right) by Yuri Yudaev-Racei.

Spend the bigger bucks on shoring up the early life (as underscored in Part 1), but be generous, too, on reclai.ming this individual after a tolerable first offense. The primary objective will be to prevent those potential second and third crimes. Half of all inmates are back in jail only two years later. A simple way to reduce this rate is to strike fear into the offender so that he abandons all thought of committing another crime. Thus, the penalty for entering stage two should be terrible, if not horrendous.

Crime #2 is committed and the defendant is judged guilty. Standard prison? Nope. Save your tax monies to build better school systems. Find some hellacious environment where the prisoner will need to support himself, and where the cost to society will be minimal. A mild form -- I was thinking more in terms of dungeons or caves -- of this concept is represented by Joe Arpaio (shows the color of the underwear he prefers for his inmates), sheriff of Maricopa Arizona County:

1. jail meals, such as a bologna sandwich, costs 40 cents/serving, and he charges inmates for them;

2. no smoking, no coffee and no porno magazines;

3. chain gangs to do free work on county projects; and

4. took away cable TV, but was forced to put them back because a federal court required that for jails, so he played only the Disney and weather channels, and added Newt Gingrich lectures.

When inmates complained, he told them don't come back. Two thousand prisoners in tents with no air conditioning, even when the temperature is more than 116 degrees F. Sheriff Joe says that our soldiers in Iraq are in tents where the temperature exceeds 120, in full battle gear.

The question is, will those who survive be more apt not to return? The answer is, heck, yes, but mostly because of the consequences of a third conviction! Anyway, why waste good money on the hopeless, which is defined as anyone who is stupid enough to commit a second crime knowing that the punishment will be hell. The prison of Sheriff Joe is a reasonable simple solution for strike two. There are harsher, and probably more effective (but illegal and immoral) options, but for now, let us leave them for future consideration.

(Click to read the full article, for there is a Part 3:  THREE STRIKES AND YOU'RE DEAD.)

There is a storm blip in the North Atlantic, but the really big ocean storm is in the West Pacific.  Tropical Storm Songda, has not quite followed expectation, and is not yet a typhoon, plus the max winds now are predicted to "only" read Category 3 in three days:


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