We need more of this. With allmthe recent stories of abuses and cover ups, by local jails and state penitentiaries, it is a relief to see that some jails are working towards reforms and reclaiming lost trust.

This program accomplishes many goals. First and foremost, it rewards inmates for good deeds and focuses on reform. It shows the yellow brick road of good work and the payment at the end of a life lived lawfully. Good things come when you do good. Too much of the reform philosophy has given way to sheer punishment. Punishment can often be viewed as justice, but rarely does that hinder recidivism. A punishment only outlook keeps the revolving door of jails moving very swiftly. Inmates do not learn the benefits of a positive life, they solely learn the consequences of a negative one. Both should be in play.

Second, it works to reestablish some level of trust. It seems there is are endless tales of abuses and corruption in the jails. Former long standing Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca is under indictment for corruption and abuses in his jails. His undersheriff, Tanaka, was just sentenced to 5 years for his role in the shocking scandals along with many other deputies. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is embroiled in a scandal where it is alleged evidence pertaining to major crimes was hidden forcing deputies to refuse to testify for fear of incriminating themselves. If you had up the space of these two counties it is bigger than many states. Trust has been lost.

Events like the BBQ in this story help to heal wounds. It helps to melt away the viewpoint between inmates, and many in the public, that the correctional officers are the enemy and vice versa. This can only help make for a more peaceful and safer jail. When inmates see a light at the tunnel and guards as a shepherd to that light society receives the ultimate benefit.


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