Megyn Kelly recently interviewed Russian President, Vladimir Putin. In that interview, she questioned him on Russia’s oppressive policies towards dissidents. After giving the standard answer we would expect from a dictator, Putin then asked Ms. Kelly this -
“Why do you believe [America is] entitled to put such questions to us and, mind you, do it all the time, to moralize and to teach us how we should live?”
That is a very valid question. When our country has the largest percentage of a citizenry in jail, then why do we believe that we are entitled to preach and to “moralize” to other countries about the way that they treat their citizens?
Here in America, we are told that our judicial system is the best in the world because, upon being arrested, a citizen is innocent until proven guilty.
This is just a large of a lie as anything Putin said in his interview.
After a person is arrested, he is put into a holding cell. Shortly afterwards, he is given a bond that is usually so absurdly high (A $50,000 bond for a minor offense is not unusual) that he has no hope of paying it. But don’t worry! If he can’t pay the bond, the he can just go to a bondsman. He will then pay the bondsman around 15% of that amount – money that he will never see again. This essentially means that he has now been fined for a crime for which he has not been found guilty.
If he is like many people sitting in our jails, however, he is unable to even pay that reduced amount. So now, he has another choice. He can spend months waiting for his misdemeanor trial OR he can take the plea offered by the government. When that plea is Probation, a fine, and community service (standard for many misdemeanors), then it begins to look more and more tempting with each day that he spends in a small holding cell.
Once he has been successfully pressured into taking the plea, he begins his new life as a “free” citizen who can’t leave the state without telling his probation officer where he is going. And then, six months later, that probation officer launches a surprise visit on the citizen’s house. The man is found sitting on his couch, drinking a beer while watching television. This is, of course, against his probation conditions – and enough reason to have him locked up again. But things get even worse when he is forced to pee into a cup (right in front of the watchful eyes of his probation officer) and that urine is found to be positive for marijuana. His probation is now revoked and he ends up right back in jail.
When I watch one of our politicians discuss the criminal justice system in America, I look at him in the same manner with which I would look at Putin – as a lying weasel defending an oppressive system whose sole purpose is to put people in jail.
I can’t believe I’m actually writing this - - but Vladimir Putin is right.