It would make sense that those who pose a threat to society should probably not be calling the shots. Of course I am referring to a large number of politicians, but let’s talk about those who are incarcerated under such pretenses.

The current law is that those (in some states) who committed a felony cannot vote, the assumption being that those with heinous crimes (which apparently include stealing cable for an extra TV) are just plain bad people and cannot be trusted to exercise their political rights, at least until they are rehabilitated. Although we’re still not sure what that last word means.

So it only makes sense that those who commit crimes such that they require incarceration should not vote. Except that this is living in Fantasy Land. It implies we have a comprehensively fair justice system. Now before anyone says it isn’t perfect but “the best in the world”, remember that Orwellian countries like China have a lower incarceration rate than we do. Is it really so conceivable that we just have so many more criminals per capita than any other nation in the world?

Of course that is conceivable, given the bookshelves of laws regulating every breath we take. You can’t step out of bed without having broken some code or ordinance at some level of government. We can’t possibly know all these laws — ignorance is one hell of an ethical excuse contrary to legal precedence — and the best one can hope for is that law enforcement doesn’t know of the law either. And they usually don’t, which is a double-edged sword, meaning a sword is illegal only if the cop wants to give it to his son for Christmas.

A corrections officer (in the process of defending the shooting of a dark-skinned kid in the back because they shouldn’t have been running away) once asked me if I thought all inmates were innocent. My answer was, and is, NO … only about 95% are there for crimes other than any they may actually have (or have not) committed. The national average of those who plea bargained is between 94-97%, and there are virtually endless cases of people who say they took the plea only to avoid a harsher sentence under fear of a longer sentence with a high conviction rate, especially for minorities. The number of full exonerations — even for the most serious crimes — is as extensive as the efforts of rogue lawyers will allow. I know some of these lawyers, and they are the true heroes, while the real criminals find little or no consequence hiding behind the blue wall.

And then there are all those cities and counties with a 100% solved murder stat who basically round up the first person from an undesirable neighborhood they see and push them through the system {cough, Baltimore, cough}. There are also officers who get awards for disproportionate amounts of arrests, only to be found planting evidence or using questionable just cause to arrest “drugged” drives with clean breath and blood tests.

And then there is the prison-industrial complex. Just like Wild West judges used to get paid per hanging, inmates are profit, and judges are investors — or let’s just say campaign contributions talk, even if we’re talking about railroading children for the slightest altercation on a school bus. At least one of these robed criminals got a taste of their own poison recently, but I would suggest this is not a unique case.

Lastly, even if we assume reasonable possibility of guilt across the board — in spite of all the above evidence — does it matter that the vast majority of those in prisons are doing time for non-violent crimes and about a quarter AREN’T EVEN CONVICTED?

So who are we looking to disenfranchise? The world where bad people go to jail and good people don’t clearly ain’t this one.