What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: smalldogs
A record 7 million people or one in every 32 American adults were behind bars, on probation or on parole by the end of last year, according to the Justice Department. Of those, 2.2 million were in prison or jail, an increase of 2.7 percent over the previous year, according to a report released Wednesday.
More than 4.1 million people were on probation and 784,208 were on parole at the end of 2005. Prison releases are increasing, but admissions are increasing more.
1 out of every 32 people in this country is in prison. What type of society do we live in that so many people have committed criminal offenses and necessitate being put behind bars to prevent further crime?
How much money are the other 31 people forced to pay in order to sustain the life of a person who has committed a crime?
Prisons are often referred to as “correctional facilities”. Indeed, the stated intent of such institutions is to force repentance on the criminal, exact justice, and (often) later release him/her back into society, hopefully as one who has learned from his/her mistakes and suffered the consequences.
Teaching about the Lord’s correctional institution, President Ezra Taft Benson has said:
The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature. (“Born of God,” Ensign, Jul 1989, 2)
Alma also knew something about this method:
Now Alma did not grant unto him the office of being high priest over the church, but he retained the office of high priest unto himself; but he delivered the judgment-seat unto Nephihah.
And this he did that he himself might go forth among his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty, and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony against them. (Alma 4:18-19)
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only truly functional and fully thorough correctional institution available to men. To know that the Church Educational System conducts institute classes in several state prisons further attests to that fact and shows that Alma’s line of thinking is still being implemented in this dispensation.