I normally do not post entire books on this site, but this one is an exception. Plus, it's not very long. It is however, very powerful. It is entitled, 'The Kennel' written by Dr. Kent Hovind, the well known Creationist, debater and educator. It was written under the pen name of Elijah Green. Since this book is not copyrighted, and Dr. Hovind has mentioned many times that the American people need to know about the religion of evolution, creationism, and how our government works against us, his book, 'The Kennel' illustrates a prison system that has gone rouge. It is in fact an extension of what's wrong with America today. I thought I'd share his book here so many can see what our detainment system has really become. It really can no longer be referred to as a rehabilitation tool as a whole, but rather a business for profit model. We've heard of the Military Industrial Complex that is implemented world-wide to garner mega-profits? Well,... there is also the Prison Industrial Complex geared to meet the same goal.
For over fifteen years, I have been interested in what Dr. Hovind has to say regarding the subjects of Creationism, Evolution and Dinosaurs. From the policies of the Bureau of Prisons (B.O.P.) down to the local jail in Mayberry USA, this piece is by far a little deeper down the rabbit hole than normal. But, it does expose what happens in and outside the business end of our nation's prison system. Dr. Hovind takes the reader on a clever tour from inside a massive state run dog kennel and exposes the philosophy that supports and accepts such an inhumane enterprise. Of course, the dog kennel is just a metaphor to describe the actual business of the B.O.P. and really grabs our attention from the start.
For those who are not familiar of Dr. Hovind's story, I'll give the reader a small sketch as to what led him to write his book. As of today (8 July 2015), Dr Hovind has just been released from over eight and a half years of unjust punishment, torture and unnecessary expense to the American public. The charge was due to misapplied charges of 'Structuring'; a law meant to catch drug dealers from laundering money. The misapplication of this law has been apologized for by the IRS to over 43,000 innocent people targeted by them. They said, "We're sorry, but what's done is done. We can't do anything about what happened to you. There's a statute of limitations in play here. We're sorry we interrupted your lives, destroyed your family structure, took your assets, sold them for profit, spent it on ourselves and thrown you into prison for no good reason. But, since Congress is breathing down our necks, the best we can do now is say we're sorry." Even after the I.R.S. stole their savings, their normalcy of life, and put them into the 'Kennel,' the US Government refuses to pay full restitution. Yes folks; this is America! Land of the FEE and home of the SLAVE!
The statute that governs 'Structuring' goes much deeper than this. Structuring is a term used for someone who takes their own money out of his or her own bank account to pay their own bills. Many may wonder if there is a limit of how much money that can be withdrawn before the government is alerted to someone who may be guilty of structuring. The answer is, yes. It used to be a withdraw of anything over $10,000.00. This law was purposely changed by a Federal judge during Dr. Hovind's trial after he successfully proved that he was not guilty of structuring. The law was changed from over $10k to under $5,000.00. That means that a judge took it upon herself to change a law, behind closed doors, to benefit her own bottom line and the bottom line of the court. Basically, she changed the law that would entrap anyone of Structuring by simply withdrawing as little a one dollar of their own money from their own bank account. We're talking about money to be spent from paying bills to buying a pizza. What is the penalty for such a "crime?" Years of imprisonment! I wonder how many readers do not realize that they are guilty of structuring every week of their adult lives according to this ridiculous law. The sad thing is, this 'Structuring' law has yet to be repealed or at least reformed.
After Dr. Hovind proved his innocence, and after a recess, amazingly, the judge emerged from her chambers, and all by her lonesome, changed the law for the sole purpose of convicting Dr. Kent Hovind. She didn't care for the law as it was written, so she changed it on her own to meet her own agenda! If the law would not support a conviction, go inside the chambers and come out with a change in the law that would.
Some might be asking themselves, "Why would she do such an underhanded thing?" Let's take a look at her track record: Not only is this judge infamous for issuing overly severe sentences to Christians, she has gone out of her way to persecute them. In one instance, she was about to throw two ladies in jail because they were silently praying over their lunch one day. After being alerted to what was happening, members of Congress came to the two praying ladies' rescue saying that the judge had stepped over the line and was abusing her power. Eventually, the matter was settled out of court, but the blemish of her disdain towards followers of Christ remains. If this public humiliation wasn't enough, it sure fueled her fire even more.
During Dr. Hovind's trial, she once said (on the record and DIRECTLY TO DR. HOVIND) that, "...your crime is WORSE than a RAPIST!" All who were in the courtroom heard it and I believe at least seven or eight people immediately signed and filed affidavits stating that they witnessed and heard the judge say this. She had passed judgement before the defense had a chance to plead their case! After the "official" transcript was ordered and received, that comment had been totally erased. This is a practice done all the time in courthouses across America to save magistrates any embarrassment or retribution. I know! I was a Power of Attorney for a friend who was wrongly put in prison and after receiving the transcript, certain things were removed that appeared on the recording from the court sound system.
For the most part, these people may appear honest and just, with no tarnish on their integrity, but I assure you, many do not live up to their image. As a matter of fact, the head prosecuting attorney in the first trial was arrested for being a pedophile and killed himself by hanging in his jail cell. He was caught in a sting coming off a plane in Miami and had a doll and a jar of Vaseline with him. Those who set up the sting made him believe that he was going to 'meet up' with a five year old girl. And the connection doesn't end there. The female assistant prosecuting attorney who took his place has a husband who was on the same pedophile list held by the F.B.I. I'm not making this stuff up! This is the character of the people trying to put Dr. Hovind away for life for simply being an effective mouth piece for God. Even other Christians were deceived by this evil group from the beginning and turned their backs on Dr. Hovind without knowing the facts. To them I say, SHAME ON YOU! There are other facts about this case that makes it even more interesting, but I have to get on with Dr. Hovind's sketch.
For this anti-Christian judge, Dr. Kent Hovind had become a big target for her, with a lot of help from a certain IRS agent. You see, Dr. Hovind, a.k.a. "Dr. Dino" travels the globe speaking and debating those who are paid to teach the evolution agenda. He's become such a potent mouth piece for the LORD, this judge couldn't stand it, and neither could the IRS. Plus, Dr. Hovind lives in her very own backyard. Both reside in the Pensacola, FL area. So why did she change the law during Dr. Hovind's trial? It was to aide in steering the jury to cast their votes in favor of the court. The court's goal was to sell the property they took from him for an estimated $430,000.00 profit. Because of the change in the Structuring law, accomplished behind closed doors, her instructing the jury that she was the only one who could interpret the law, and the jury not knowing what their rights as jurors were (as most do not), Dr. Hovind was found guilty of structuring. It was a gross miscarriage of justice. The property known as Dinosaur Adventure Land was seized, but never sold so the court could 'cash in.' Why? Because it's true owner wisely filed a lien against it to warn any interested parties that the property's ownership was still in dispute. It is a sound Christian principle and a courtesy to warn our fellow man about a potential financial hazard. Because it was on record that the property ownership is still in dispute, no prospective buyer would touch it. This of course, did not please the court.
Now I'll skip ahead. After eight years of unjust prison time, and after he was set to be released from prison in February 2015, new charges of mail fraud were levied against him. A month later (March 2015) in the expectation that one of the six bogus counts would 'stick' Dr. Hovind remained a guest of the B.O.P. Each charge carried with it a twenty year sentence. All the judge wanted was for one count to be rendered 'guilty' by the jury. Most times a jury will throw the court a bone on a multiple count charge just to be fair, but this time, the jury had become a little wiser. Why? All Dr. Hovind called for Christians to do is what Gideon did in the O.T. That was to "Shine a light and make a Noise." Believer's around the country shone a BRIGHT light on this case, made a BIG noise in social media and public awareness regarding this was ignited. The judge didn't appreciate the attention this was drawing. These people like to do things behind closed doors and in the dark so that the public cannot see what they're up to; just like the pedophile head prosecutor. (Who's crime was worse than a rapist NOW, judge?) But, the corruption doesn't end there.
In fact, the same IRS agent who helped convict Dr. Hovind in the first trial, was supposed to be a witness in the mail fraud trial. Here is where it get's really sinister. This agent sat at the prosecutor's table during the entire trial! Witnesses are supposed to be sequestered (separated in another room) during a trial until called upon. And even after that, they're not supposed to sit with and aide the prosecution every step of the way. Also, the same judge who tried him eight years earlier was "selected" and presided over this case as well. Here they were, back together again. The same judge and the same IRS agent working together to silence one Christian preacher. Can we say, "Conflict of interest?" They were still trying to send him away for good, but not because of tax fraud. Not because he was guilty of Structuring; but for mailing a letter! And because he mailed a letter from prison, which millions of prisoners do each and every day of the year, they tried to keep him in prison for twenty more years calling mailing a letter, "Mail Fraud." Can the reader grasp just how twisted this all is? To understand more on Who's Who in Court, how they all work together against the public and what we can do about it, please read an article in this blog found to the left of this article under POST TITLES entitled, 'de Jure Versus de Facto.'
After two hung juries, the last one all agreed that Dr. Hovind was found 'not guilty' on all counts of mail fraud. Still, Dr. Hovind, who was approved to be released in February of 2015, had to remain in custody after the trial was over! The claim is that the court (meaning the judge) still held him in contempt. This is a fancy and legal term used for saying that she didn't like him very much Then in May, in a surprise event, the same judge who tried to lock him up and throw away the key, issued an Order of Acquittal (without prejudice, of course). Finally, he was cleared of all charges! Was he set free? Are you kidding? No! He was about twenty five miles from his home, and they kept him in the B.O.P. They bussed him around the country from one prison in Pensacola, FL, to Jacksonville, FL, to Oklahoma and finally to Yazoo City, MS. This took about a month. He was then thrown into solitary confinement for the last thirty days until 8 July 2015 for no apparent reason. When you read 'The Kennel' this will all make sense as to the inhuman and evil philosophy behind this treatment.
The US government put so much effort, expense and guile in an attempt to keep Dr. Hovind locked up for the rest of his life. They've done the same thing to millions of others. I urge the reader to visit www.2peter3.com for a complete breakdown of Dr. Hovind's amazing journey through the legal jungle of our judicial system and B.O.P. That aside, there are several other reasons why the court found him in contempt; one being that the Federal Government fears being exposed. Dr. Hovind has made it publically known that he intends on not only having his good name exonerated, but that his first conviction be overturned and restitution be made for damages and suffering.
One last interesting item of note before you move on to reading 'The Kennel.' It is becoming known that individuals and private concerns can own various aspects of prisons for profit. That's right! I've been alerting people about this for several years now, but most who hear it recoil in disbelief. The fact is, an individual can actually own a jail, prison, halfway house or the land and property it sits on and operates from. And, to keep their businesses profitable, the prisons they own need to remain full at all times, even beyond capacity.
Why would the US Government go through so much trouble to incarcerate Dr. Hovind for the rest of his life? There are many answers. One being that most people in our judicial and political system own the properties, prisons and jails. Part of their livelihoods is to help keep them filled. Remove the non-violent inmates and the prison owner's profits are reduced by eighty percent. Talk about a conflict of interest to the American people! The very ones we elect to protect and serve the public's interests are only serving themselves. It cannot be denied that since the B.O.P. is in it's current state of operation, the one's who own them are capitalizing on our suffering. The only one's who seem to be exempt are those who work in the system and those of their own families.
Please don't misunderstand me. There are many within this corrupt system who are good honest and fair people. Many are just there because it's the best job they can obtain in their area. But, sooner or later, either their conscience gets the better of them and they leave, or they stay and become jaded internally and may develop thoughts of abusing inmates. The good cop see's the abuse but almost always does nothing to stop it for fear of creating tension in the workplace. Plus, let us not forget that "absolute power corrupts absolutely." When some of these police officers, border control agents and guards attain a badge, sometimes it's symbol goes to their heads. The environment of power over others is created, and is so toxic that many a badge carrier act the part of a tyrant. Very few are able to fend off the urge to abuse another human being. I'm talking about non violent inmates who never hurt anyone; not those who are violent offenders to society such as hard drug dealers, pushers, rapists, pedophiles, arson's, thieves, robbers, muggers, murderers. destroyers of property, and let's not forget, animal abusers. If our prison system's population were trimmed to house only these offenders, our B.O.P. wouldn't be the vast complex that it is.
Actually, there would be no overcrowding whatsoever. Remember, about eighty percent of all those incarcerated are non-violent. Most of them shouldn't even be in there. I'm talking about ladies who pray silently over their lunch to give thanks and are arrested and thrown in jail because a judge passed by and didn't like what she saw. I'm talking about the Christian who stands up for his Right to speak. I'm talking about the man or woman who defends themselves while being attacked, protects their home with a gun while being broken into, or is traveling nowhere near our nations border but who is stopped and accosted by agents just because the agent feels that 'he can.'
Dr. Hovind is such a threat to our money thirsty government because they don't like the eloquent way he makes evolution look stupid. They also don't care for the way he ultimately exposes their plan. It's simple, really. If the religion of evolution collapses, the liberal agenda collapses. They'd rather do whatever they can to keep him quiet about how the religion of evolution has corrupted our children, schools, etc. If evolution wasn't pushed on the public as much as it has been, most would think it's stupid and walk away from it as nonsense. But partly because of the indoctrination we've received, even our nation's Prison's Industrial Complex and society in general has been infected. In the minds of your garden variety liberal educators, if evolution is true, then God Almighty is a fable. That means that man is in charge and God doesn't exist. "Who (man) changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator (Jesus Christ: Col 1), who is blessed forever, Amen." ~Romans 1:25. The Day is coming when they will meet the Creator for themselves, and it won't be pretty.
The B.O.P. used to be a tool for rehabilitation. Now it's a tool geared towards punishment. It has become little more than a vehicle for profit. It's just another extension of the philosophy behind the evolution religion. As far as they're concerned, Dr. Kent Hovind is as much a threat to our liberal government as the John Birch Society was to the liberal agenda back in the 50's and 60's. So, why is this book relevant to the theme of this blog? Because our B.O.P. parallels our country's many institutions, including the business entity of the Institutional 'Church.' There are many similarities between the two whether Dr. Hovind realized this when writing his piece or not. Most of these similarities can be found within this blog in many of its articles. I hope you take the time to investigate the similarities for yourself.
I hope you enjoy 'The Kennel' as much as I have and will be moved to tell others about it. If one would like to own a copy of 'The Kennel' for yourself, it may be purchased for $5.99 in pdf format on LuLu.com. No proceeds from the sale of 'The Kennel' go to ChurchPros or any agent thereof. To keep the integrity of his piece in tact, I have simply copied and pasted it in its entirety without change. So, enjoy!
God blessings on you all, and may God help us to see.
Who on earth is Elijah Green?
Actually I hope, and pray, and think it is safe now, seven years after the fact, to reveal that “Elijah Green” is a pseudonym for me, Kent Hovind. Let me explain.
The prophet Elijah was a famous man of God in the Bible. The king hated him and sought to kill him because he preached the truth boldly, and exposed the corruption in the kingdom and the sins of the king and queen (See I Kings 17 through II Kings 2). Evil men and women have always hated honest, bold, out- spoken men of God who simply do their job. They can't handle the truth! John 3:19-20 tells us that evil men fear the light. Scores of Bible examples from Abel in Genesis, to Jesus, to John in Revelation show that evil men persecute good men.
I've been a child of God since February 9th, 1969; an ordained Baptist preacher since May 25th, 1974; a high school science and math teacher for 15 years; a creation science evangelist since 1989; and an innocent man in the huge federal prison system since November 2nd, 2006 (see details on www.2peter3.com and www.freekenthovind.com ).
Since I strive to understand and boldly and openly preach the truth of God's Word and I often expose the evil, corruption, lies (or just stupidity), of things that happen in our schools and government, I have made some power- ful enemies too. Hence, the pseudonym: “Elijah.”
By Elijah Green
At the federal prison camp in Edgefield, South Carolina, where I was in 2008 when I wrote The Kennel, we wore green. Hence; the name: “Elijah Green.”
I am completely embarrassed by the fact that even though I have been a serious student of the Bible for 46 years now, I completely missed the obvious fact that God's perfect Word (see Psalm 12:6-7 and Psalm 19:7) never author- izes prisons at all! I had to come to one to see this simple truth. Under God's law, criminals were given either a fine (Exodus 22), or a beating (Deuteronomy 25), or executed (Exodus 21), depending on the crime. Only the heathen na- tions around Israel had prisons, and God's people often suffered in them like Joseph, Jeremiah, Daniel, Peter, Paul, and many others. For nearly 40 years of my Christian life I was guilty of crying “tough on crime!” and advocated the unscriptural and cruel American prison system. I was guilty of call- ing for long prison terms for criminals. I now see how insane and wrong this is. We are punishing the wrong people! Long prison terms are tough on families and all Americans who are forced to pay for this bloated, cruel, senseless, and in- effective system.
Truly, our judges and prosecutors give out “burdens grievous to be borne”, just as Jesus said in Matthew 23:4. I'm sorry, God. I've seen the light and will now help shine the light. Like Gideon's 300 did in Judges 7, please join me. For this study, “Elijah Green” is an average, middle-aged man out for a drive in the country, when he accidentally finds something that changes his course and philosophy of life. Forever. I pray it will change yours too. Just as Harriet Beecher Stowe's classic book Uncle Tom's Cabin opened people's eyes to the insanity of American slavery in the 1800's, and as George Orwell's 1946 story Animal Farm showed the evils of Communism, I pray that The Ken- nel will sound an alarm and expose the evil (all for money of course, it always is, see I Timothy 6:10) of our American prison industrial complex. Please share this story with others before it's too late.
By Elijah Green
If I had not seen it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears, I would not have believed it. It was almost like a bad dream, only it was real. I never imagined such a place could exist in a free country. This story is so
bizarre that if you were telling me, I would not believe you. Nevertheless, I was there. All I can do is relate what I saw and heard, and let you decide.
I never would have noticed the place if I hadn't slowed down for the cow crossing the road. Actually, I had to stop and wait, while she stood right in the mid- dle of that little traveled country road and looked at me with that blank, non- thinking stare that only cows can give. While I waited for her to slowly chew her cud and contemplate her options about what to do next, I happened to notice a re- flection from a glimmering object among the trees way off, maybe two hundred yards, to my left.
As I turned and focused, I realized it was a large area, enclosed with a real tall chain link fence topped with shiny razor wire, obviously where the reflection had come from.
What? Why? Who? It made no sense. Well, Bessie finally discovered there was no grass in the middle of the road and slowly moseyed off into the field, but I just sat there trying to get my eyes and brain to agree on what I was seeing over in the woods.
Why would anyone build such a huge fenced-in place crowned with razor wire? And why way out here in the middle of nowhere? What, or who are they (whoever "they" are) keeping in (or is it out of) there? Nothing about it made sense. So, being curious and mostly uninhibited by nature, I turned and slowly drove down the long, narrow drive and stopped in front of the very large gate, which was also capped with shiny razor wire.
There over the top of the gate in giant letters was a sign that should have sat- isfied, but actually only intensified my curiosity. It read, "State Kennel of Middletown".
I unconsciously turned off the radio and rolled down the window, as if that would help me read it better, and that's when I heard it - hundreds, and I mean hun- dreds, of dogs. They were barking, yelping, and howling in the most pitiful, heart rip-
By Elijah Green
ping sound I had ever heard. Immediately, it brought tears to my eyes. Why would anyone lock up all these dogs? Didn't they have a home to protect somewhere? Weren't some children out there who would love them, pet them, and run around in the grass with them?
Grass? It hit me. I saw lots of concrete, steel, and razor wire, but hardly any grass. It made no sense to me at all. Why were so many dogs locked up in there?
Now don't get me wrong. I know that some dogs are vicious and dangerous and need a place like this, but this place was huge! Could all these dogs be vi- cious and dangerous? What could it all mean?
I was still trying to process all the sights, sounds, thoughts, and now smells, when a nicely dressed man opened the gate and walked up to my car.
"Hi," he said. "I'm John Cox, the kennel keeper. May I help you?" On his suit coat, top pocket was a professional-looking nametag that read, "John Cox - Ken- nel Keeper," so I knew he was serious about who he was.
Still slightly confused, I smiled weakly and said, "Hi, my name is Elijah Green. I was just passing by and saw the fence. I have never noticed this place before. What is it? What do you do here?"
Mr. Cox seemed pleased with my interest - almost as if he were eager to show off his kingdom - and said, "This is the newest, most advanced, state-of-the-art ken- nel for convicted dogs in the state. What type of work do you do, Mr. Green?"
"I've worked at Springfield Hardware for the past eight years."
"My, you are a ways from home! Would you like a tour of the kennel?" Mr. Cox asked.
Well, being really curious now, and totally unable to comprehend who, what, or why, quickly said, "Sure! That would be wonderful!" Mr. Cox looked pleased. "We don't get many visitors way out here. Park your car over there by my black Porsche and I'll show you around."
Thus begins the story that no one will ever believe, but it's true. I was there.
By Elijah Green
Mr. Cox and I walked through the massive gate. It slowly closed on its own and made a heavy, almost sickening, mechanical "thud" as it au- tomatically locked behind us. I cannot explain the feeling of panic,
dread, or hopelessness that suddenly came over me as I heard that sound and actu- ally felt the ground shake a little. You would have had to have been there to under- stand. It was eerie. I was nearly overcome with claustrophobia and I was just in- side the fence! I shuddered.
Anyway, Mr. Cox seemed eager to tell me everything, sort of like a kid with a new toy. "This is the newest and largest kennel for convicted dogs in the state," he bragged. "There are just over 1600 dogs in here and we run it with a staff of only 25."
"Sixteen hundred!" I exclaimed. "Why so many?"
"Oh, no," he corrected me. "The question is why so few? There are over two million dogs in our state and only fourteen kennels like this. This is only one of ten kennels operated by the state. The other four are privately owned by ICC, Incar- cerated Canines Corporation, operating under state contract. At present, there are six large companies, and several smaller ones, which have gone into the private ken- nel business."
Interrupting him I asked, "Who owns ICC and those other private kennel com- panies?" "They are mostly owned by rich folks and senators. The founder of ICC was the former chairman of the Republican party in Tennessee and friend of the governor. In fact, the governor's wife was a substantial investor in ICC, as was the speaker
of the Tennessee House. Even some judges are shareholders. One of their larger stockholders was recently appointed by the President to be a trial judge in Tennes- see.2 They say he has been in the courtroom as a lawyer on only two cases. Some of the families representing their dogs have had more courtroom experience than him. The other kennel companies do not operate in this state, so I do not know as much about them. However, we get a monthly magazine, The Kennel Monthly. Maybe you'd like a back issue. It has ads for the latest security devices available, as well as articles about some of the privately owned kennels. I do know that most of the private kennels are subsidized with tax dollars.3 In spite of our rapid growth, we can currently only hold one percent of the state's dogs. There are several thousand more dogs that have already been convicted and are on a waiting list to come in when we get space. The waiting list is so long in California their Kennel
By Elijah Green
Officers Association has proposed building a few mega-kennels that can hold up to 2 0 , 0 0 0 dogs each. Our country has the largest kennel system in the world, by far," he announced proudly as we walked past rows of cages.
I struggled to imagine what it must be like to be one of these dogs locked in a really small cage! "Mr. Cox, if there are fourteen kennels in this state, how many kennels like this are there in the country?"
"There are well over 900 kennels nationwide6," he boasted. This country has on- ly 5% of the world's dog population," he continued, "yet 25% of the world's incarcerated dogs are in our kennels,7 proof that our country is the safest place to live. There are now over two million dogs in kennels like this across the country.8 Just seventy years ago, there was only one kennel in the state and it only had 300 dogs. But Congress passed new laws making more things a crime, and judges have been giving longer sentences. The kennel population has increased by over 700% in just the last forty years. For female dogs, the incarceration rate has risen 1200% since 1970.9 State law requires us to have forty square feet of space for each dog so we are licensed to house 1200 dogs in here."
"But I thought you said there were sixteen hundred dogs here now," I said in a questioning manner.
Mr. Cox looked a little puzzled and said, "There are."
"Well, I don't understand. Doesn't that break the law and overcrowd the dogs?" I asked. He thought for a brief moment and said, "It does overcrowd them some but hey, they are just dogs. As for breaking the law, it actually doesn't. In a money sav- ing effort, Congress has authorized us to be overcrowded by 37%. The kennels in California operate at 200% capacity. You see, we are allowed to put in an extra 250 dogs if it is on a temporary basis. That is if their dog blanket is not attached by Velcro to the floor. The law allows for that."
"How long is temporary?" I inquired.
"The law does not specify a time limit," he replied as we slowly walked past hundreds of cages of sad looking dogs begging for attention! "All kennels take ad- vantage of this loophole in the law and are overcrowded, but hey, they are just dogs."
"Oh, I see," I stated almost mechanically, "What about the other 150?"
"Let's walk over to the SHED." He smiled as we veered off to the right and walked to the corner of the compound. "This will explain the other 150."
By Elijah Green
“Wow! These cages are even tinier," I said as we approached, "and there sure are a lot of them. What is this area?"
"This is the SHED," he replied as he pointed to the sign and read, "Special Housing to Educate Dogs. The dogs in here are being educated."
I stared at the sign and then at the dogs, and said, "I don't understand. It looks like they are being deprived of everything. They don't have room to run around. They are isolated and cannot interact with other dogs. I don't see any toys for them to play with. They can't even see the sun or the sky from their cages. How does this educate them?"
He waved his hand slowly toward the cages and answered, "These dogs ei- ther broke kennel rules or are under investigation to see if they broke a rule. Depriv-
ing them helps educate them to obey the rules of the kennel."11
My stomach knotted up as I thought of the poor dogs locked up in there. "How long do you keep them in there?" I asked.
"By law we can only keep them in here for 90 days. However, if we don't have space in the regular kennel, we take them out for 10 minutes and then we can legally put them back in for another 90 days."
"I can't imagine what 6 months locked up in that tiny cage would do to a dog. Do they ever get out for exercise?" I asked.
"Oh, yes," he said. "By law we have to let them out into that bigger 20' x 20' cage for one hour each day, five days a week. It's a real nuisance to our staff though, so we try to schedule the exercise time early in the morning when it is cold and fewer dogs want to go. Plus, we can always cancel if it's raining or we are short on staff that day."
"Hello, Esau," Mr. Cox said with a slightly sarcastic tone to the dog on our left.
"Esau?" I inquired. "That's an unusual name for a dog."
"Mr. Green, Esau is not the dog's name. It's an acronym which describes this dog. It stands for extra stupid and ugly. Regardless of how many times we beat and discipline this dog, he will not learn. He'll be back in the SHED not long after he gets out."
It seemed awfully cruel to me to hear him make fun of the dog that was totally at his mercy at the moment. My mind quickly recalled scores of examples from his- tory where prisoners were treated cruelly by captors "just because they could." I de-
By Elijah Green
cided not to say anything about it and asked instead, "Do the dogs get good food in here?"
"Oh yes!" Mr. Cox beamed. "All dogs in the kennel get a well balanced diet, regular annual checkups by the staff vet, and dog biscuits every Christmas and East- er. They get a bath once a month and a new flea collar every 90 days. Even the dogs in the SHED get that. Although we try to keep the kennel clean, possibly 70% of the dogs will be carrying an infectious disease when they are released. Dogs that are really sick are often released early to save money, so it's rare for a dog to die in here. However, some dogs just do not respond well to some of the drug therapy provided."
"Speaking of money," I replied, "who pays for the medical when you release the sick dog and who pays for all this? It must cost a fortune to run this kennel."
"Oh it costs a bundle all right. That's the beauty of it. The dog's owner is re- sponsible for the sick dog's vet bills once he's out. The taxpayers and the dog's family in the state foot the bill for the operational expenses of the kennel. It's all part of the state budget. We charge $20 per day for each dog. If we spend it all we can justify asking for more next year," Mr. Cox answered.
"Twenty dollars a day!" I exclaimed. "That's $600/month, over $7000/year times 1600 dogs...." My mind raced..... "That's over 11 million dollars a year! The state could pay to send a person to college for less than what it costs to keep one dog
"Actually it's more because we charge $25/day for each dog in the SHED. So our budget last year was close to 12 million dollars," Mr. Cox said smiling. "And you're right about the college. My son just graduated from Middletown Community College. His tuition and books for the year was about $5000. Over the past twenty years, funding for incarcerating dogs has increased by 127%, while funding on high- er education has increased by only 21%.1 We also get a pretty healthy sum of money from the National Veterinarians' Association each year," he said proudly.
By Elijah Green
“What's this about the National Veterinarians' Association?" I asked slowly and almost mechanically as I was lost in thought. I could not see any good reason why they would give money to a kennel. I
was thinking through all the who's, what's, and why's my mind could come up with, and finally, the words almost fell out of my mouth before I could even think to stop them: "Why would the NVA give money to a kennel?"
"Oh, they do lots of medical experiments with our dogs," he boasted. "Since we have so many in one location, they can test new drugs in the food and experi- ment with new procedures right here. It saves lots of money and red tape for the NVA. Currently, an estimated 45,000 researchers are conducting experiments in more than 10,000 programs. I don't know the statistics of how many dogs are in- volved. The United States is the only country in the world to officially sanction the use of incarcerated animals in experimental clinical trials. Even the CIA is involved in various mind control experiments. The Nuremberg Code of 1947 was drafted in direct response to the barbarity of the Nazi-era medical experiments on Jews, but Mr. Green, these are just dogs, so it's okay. It's exciting to know that the dogs they experiment with here may save some human lives in the future. At another kennel, several years ago they did experiments irradiating the dogs' reproductive organs and were able to reduce fertility rates to near zero. That will save thousands of unwanted puppies from being born."
"Do the dogs or their owners know these experiments are going on?" I asked.
"I don't know," he said with a slight cock of his head and a quizzical look. "I'm sure the NVA does everything the law requires. I don't think it's anything to be con- cerned about. After all, they're just dogs."
Maybe to you they are just dogs, I thought to myself, but I bet they are more than that to their families.
"This tour can be an educational experience for you, Mr. Green. Something you should pass on to your children is the importance of keeping their dogs under control."
I had a gut feeling that this tour was going to give me more of an education than I ever dreamed.
"Mr. Cox," I said, "you told me that you had 25 staff here. Do they get paid well?"
"Oh yes! State jobs offer great benefits," he said. "They get full medical, den- tal, life insurance and lots of state holidays off with pay, plus three weeks paid va- cation. The lowest paying jobs are the kennel cleaners. They start at about $30,000
By Elijah Green
per year. Everyone working here at least 20 years gets full retirement benefits at age 57. The privately owned kennels do not pay nearly as well17 unless you are a cage broker."
"That's a sizeable pay for an entry level job!" I replied. "What do the top people make?" "Oh, I think the top executives in the Bureau of Kennels start at about $150,000 per year,"1 he said. “It sounds like these jobs pay better than what I make. Mr. Cox, how do I get the job here?”
"Sorry, but you can't, Mr. Green. You're too old."
"What?" I demanded! "I am only forty-one and I am obviously younger than you are, Mr. Cox. Besides, there are laws that protect against age discrimination."
"Yeah, but Congress makes exceptions to the laws for us because we deal with vicious animals. Even the Attorney General approved these exceptions. I've been working for the B.O.K. for a long time and will retire in two years. So, Mr. Green, unless you are a veterinarian, you can't be hired for these jobs,19 not even as a secretary. They don't want an older workforce here. In fact, we have a mandatory retirement at age 57. So if I don't like retirement, maybe I can come work for you, Mr. Green."
"The Attorney General does not have the right to approve exceptions to the law," I stated emphatically.
"All I know is he did, Mr. Green, and that he decides which laws they will pros- ecute. Iamnotinapositiontoquestionsuchmatters.”
By Elijah Green
“Mr. Cox, you mentioned a cage broker a moment ago. If I may ask, what does he do?"
"He is responsible for seeing that the private kennels are full. His commission can be as much as $5.50 per dog per day. States with overcrowded ken- nels can send dogs across country to be incarcerated in a private kennel. The county commissioners where the private kennel is located love it because the county also re- ceives about $1.50 per dog per day. After a judge recently ordered relief from the overcrowding, one private kennel received 1200 new dogs in just one month. But back to our budget: in addition to salaries and benefits we have to pay for all the dog food, utilities, maintenance of the kennel and lease payment for the property."
I was starting to feel that something fishy was going on so I asked, "Commis- sions? Lease payment? Who owns the property?"
Without flinching and even a little cocky it seemed to me, Mr. Cox said, "This land belongs to a state senator. We have a hundred-year lease. Our lease payment is $10,000/month. Other senators lease property to other kennels or own companies that supply food, blankets, dog collars, or utilities.
"What's to stop the cage broker from bribing the judge to order relief of the overcrowding? I mean, if the commissions can be up to $37 per dog per week, the cage broker could be making over $40,000 per week just on that one event of the kennel receiving 1200 dogs."
"Mr. Green, judges are selected because of their character being above re- proach. I'm certain that when the judge ordered relief from overcrowding, he did so for the benefit of the dogs.
"Now, if you'll follow me around to the back of the property, you can see some of our dogs at work. The work they do has become vital to our country. Some senators, and even some judges, profit from the work being performed by some of the dogs.
Dogs doing work are attached by a leash and required to rotate the treadwheel, 22 simi- lar to big mill grinders used by local farmers which turn theirs with a mule. It just re- quires more dogs than it would mules. Or the dog can be forced to do other types of labor, such as pulling a plow for crops or any type work the expensive mules do. Often, the dogs have to be teamed together, with multiple teams of dogs to pull skids, wagons,
By Elijah Green
plows, etc. Anything the expensive mules do, we can do here with enough dogs. Many of the grains which the military uses are ground up in kennels like this one.
"The kennel company NICOR, which stands for Nationally Institutionalized Ca- nine Operational Resources, did not have to compete for government contracts until re- cently. In reality, the only way a company could compete with NICOR would be to use foreign imports, which we both know is bad for the economy.
"Even worse, Congress is now allowing the military to do sole source purchasing of supplies from Iraq and Afghanistan. This will exclude other companies, including NICOR, from being the suppliers of these products, which the military was purchasing from NICOR. This is just another example of our government sending jobs out of the country. Mr. Green, the cost of operating the Kennel goes on regardless, and NICOR shares a small percentage of their profits with the Kennel. These dogs should have to work to help pay for their upkeep. The largest complaint against NICOR comes from businesses which use the expensive mules and cannot compete with the dogs. The government taxes the work done by the mules, but dogs working within the kennel in- dustries are not taxed. In addition, the ASHA rules the government established for ani- mal safety and health do not apply to incarcerated dogs and the kennel industries."
"Do all the dogs work?" I asked.
"In the old days, most of them had to, but now NICOR cannot expand quick enough to work all the dogs. After all, it is quite a pool of free labor we have here. The private kennels are diversifying, finding other ways to work their dogs."
"Wow! That's quite a setup," I said. "I would guess that the senators really want to see this place stay full. Don't they?"
"It works out well for almost everyone," Mr. Cox said as he smiled. "The senate passes the laws, the Department of Dog Catchers (DoDC) enforces the laws by arrest- ing dogs that break the laws, and the Animal Court determines how long the dogs will be sentenced to stay in the kennel. They are allowed a jury trial, but because most fam- ilies do not know their country's history, and few jurors know about jury nullification, they often just plead guilty. The sentences are worse if they try to fight it and lose. If we have too many empty spaces, the judges give out longer sentences or the senate can pass new laws to be sure we stay at full capacity. The news media cooperates with us as well. Every time a violent dog is arrested they put the story on TV and in the paper, telling how we are making the state a safer place by taking vicious and dangerous dogs off the street. This keeps the taxpayers feeling good about spending all this money."
By Elijah Green
“Mr. Cox, I have to admit I haven't heard about jury nullification either. Can you tell me about it?"
"There is a lot about it on the internet. The jury has the right to vote 'Not Guilty' to nullify bad laws. Most jurors have no clue about their real power. It's no surprise that you do not know, Mr. Green. The Department of Education has worked hard to remove this bit of history from school texts, just as they have to remove from history books how Christianity influenced the founding fathers of this country.
"Mr. Green, jurors have the power to nullify a law that they believe to be immoral, un-constitutional, or wrongly applied to the accused simply by returning a verdict of Not Guilty, regardless of their belief of guilt of the charged violation.26 Even a chief justice has affirmed this right of jurors.27 It has been an important part of American history, from refusing to return guilty verdicts against dogs that violated English law, practicing nullification in cases against individuals accused of harboring runaway dogs, and also those accused of violating laws during Prohibition. History tells of hundreds of bad or stupid laws that needed to be repealed."
My tour today was waking me up. I couldn't help thinking that a few people were profit- ing from all this while the taxpayers paid the bill and thousands of dogs suffered and kids at home cried themselves to sleep.
"Does your $12 million budget include the cost of operating the DoDC and the Animal Court?" I asked.
"Oh, no," he said. "They have their own budget, but I don't know the numbers. The taxpayers foot the bill for them as well. The only financial connection with us would be the bonus we pay."
"Bonus?" I asked. "For what?"
Mr. Cox scratched his chin and said, "I don't know if it is called a bonus or a fee. It's re- ally sort of an incentive. We pay $250 to the DoDC for each dog they bring in. That helps to motivate them to enforce the laws, and helps us meet our budget."
"Motivate? Incentive? Bonus?" I exclaimed, "It sounds more like a bounty to me! What would keep them from becoming too 'motivated' or even planting evidence and arresting innocent dogs just to collect the 'incentive'?"
By Elijah Green
Mr. Cox stared off into space as he thought. Finally, he said, "Since they are all employees of the state and have taken an oath to defend and support the Constitution, everyone just trusts them to be honest and not be overzealous. We feel sure they stay within the law."
The whole picture was slowly forming in my gradually clearing mind. Determined to un- derstand and get to the real root of why this place existed, I was beginning to see that it was a giant business and had little to do with locking up vicious or dangerous dogs.
"Oh! Back to the news media," Mr. Cox said as if he just remembered it. "If a dog is vicious and bites or kills a human or another dog, they play the story over and over on the news and sometimes even make Hollywood movies about it. It's a shame that only 3% of the arrests are of vicious dogs. The public loves those stories of dogs killing innocent people! Ratings go way up when they are aired. There is even a top rated show about dogs that need to be caught. It's called: 'The States' Most Wanted Dogs.' The DoDC gets hundreds of anonymous tips after that show plays."
"Mr. Cox, has the media ever done a story about this place?" I asked.
"Oh yes, when we get a dangerous dog, we release that info to the media. They'll do a story about it."
"No, I meant has the media done a story about the operation of the kennel?"
"Mr. Green, while the BOK has a policy which seems media friendly, the Senate passed laws restricting their access.29 I would not have offered to give you a tour had you stated you work with the media. The Senate is afraid that if someone sees the dog that bit them on TV, it might traumatize them. They are also concerned that if the ani- mal rights' groups see videos of the kennels that they would cause problems."
"Mr. Cox," I began, "you said there was an Animal Court. How does that work?"
Mr. Cox said, "Let's walk over to my office where we can be more comfortable and an- swer your questions." As we walked he spoke, "The Animal Court, well .... When a dog is caught by the Department of Dog Catchers, they go before the Animal Court to determine if they are guilty. Once they are found guilty, the judge issues a sen- tence based on the guidelines for the offense."
"What are typical offenses that dogs get sent here for?" I asked.
By Elijah Green
Mr. Cox opened the door to his plush office, buzzed the secretary to bring in two Cokes, and said, "I have a copy of the guidelines right here in my desk. Let me find it for you."
While he was looking through his files, I gazed around the office. On the wall behind the huge mahogany desk were several diplomas and certificates. One said: "Associate Degree in Kennel Management". Another said: "Bachelor’s of Science in Dog Psychology". The room must have been well insulated because I could no longer hear the sad sounds of the lonely dogs calling for their families. I didn't know if my mind and heart could absorb much more, but the 'guidelines' provided another jolt to my system.
"Ah, here they are in this book on page 316," he said as he handed me the book. "As you can see there are eight major categories that send dogs here plus a few dozen minor ones that are very rarely enforced."
I slowly read the list aloud:
#1 Biting another dog or a human #2 Killing a human
#3 Killing another dog
#4 Running without a leash
1 - 3 months 2 - 4 months
3 - 6 months 4 - 10 months 5 - 12 months
#5 Barking after midnight
#6 Possession of a leather chew toy 10 - 18 months
#7 Possession of more than two leather chew toys w/ intent to distribute 36 months -life
#8 Conspiracy 16 - 24 months
By Elijah Green
"Wow! That's quite a list," I remarked. "Since one human year equals about sev- en dog years, these sentences seem awfully long! Do they get any break at all if it is their first offense?"
Mr. Cox sipped his Coke.
"In the old days the judge had leeway to go below the minimum or even give a warning for first timers and send them home. Possession of a leather chew toy was a habit the government originally sought to help the dog overcome. There was no mini- mum sentence. When the laws were passed which established mandatory minimum sentences, an overcrowding of the kennels resulted quickly. To relieve the overcrowd- ing conditions, laws were passed which let the dogs be released early on goodtime be- havior. This angered the Judges and the DoDC to see the dog released early, so the judges started giving longer sentences."
"In most states," he continued, "a dog can still earn an early release if he obeys the kennel rules and works hard. However, there are states like Georgia, which do not allow sentences to be reduced for good behavior. Many states like Florida abolished parole under the term 'Truth in Sentencing' but still rewards for good behavior up to a maximum of 15% of the sentence. Alabama offers the most good-time credit among the Southern Legislative Conference states awarding up to 75 days credit per 30 days served."
"Can the dog lose the good-time reward?" I asked.
"Sure he can," he replied. "If a dog fails to work, violates a kennel rule, or gets in trouble with another dog, he can forfeit all or part of the gained time."
By Elijah Green
“It seems to me," I said, "that dogs that violate #1 - 3 should be killed. After all, if they are truly vicious and dangerous animals, why should everyone be required to pay to lock them up, especially since you are not making any
effort to reform or train them in any way? It would be better for everyone if they were 'put down'. The family could get another dog and move on with their life. The victims of the attack would get closure, and the citizens in the state wouldn't have to pay $7,000 per dog each year to feed and house them. #4 and #5 could be handled with a fine or a special collar, and #6, #7, and #8 could be stopped by rescinding the law. That would save billions of dollars. By the way, why do they give the sentences in months? Why not days or hours?"
Mr. Cox reflected a moment and said, "In the old days the judge often did that. Giving a 30 day or 60 day sentence sounds like a lot, but to say 1 or 2 months doesn't sound as bad. I think it makes it easier for the judge to give out more time without look- ing so bad."
"A thirty day sentence would still be a really terrible punishment for the dogs and even worse for the kids," I said. "I bet none of the judges or senators or DoDC have ever experienced being locked up for 30 hours or even 30 minutes. It's amazing how people get fooled by simple terms. If the guideline said: Barking After Midnight - 200,000 --- 500,000 minutes locked in a cage it would look so much worse. That's what it really is to the dog, you know, and to the poor family that misses their dog. It seems to me that this method of punishment does even more damage to innocent fami- lies and children than it does to the dog."
"That's probably true," he said. "But as for mercy and shorter sentences, not an- ymore , not since the great 6-11 invasion."
"What was the 6-11 invasion?" I asked.
"Oh, it was awful!" he exclaimed. "A pack of 25 wild dogs burst across the border into El Paso. It happened on June 11th. All of them were wild and vicious and carried several leather chew toys. They quickly spread out and blended in with the local dog population. Only seven were caught and only three pounds of chew toys recovered.
The search lasted for months! It was all over the news. Since so many were still at large and posed such a threat, most people were more than willing to allow the Senate to pass emergency legislation that took away a few constitutional rights in exchange for
By Elijah Green
peace and security. Because of the Wild Dog Act of 6-11, judges must get tougher on crime. They sentence all dogs based on the new guidelines. The days of parole, se- cond chance and alternative punishment are gone. But, as for killing a dog, we can't do that, Mr. Green. That would be cruelty to animals, and besides, it takes a while to train our dogs to work at NICOR. There are some who feel we should just exterminate the bad dogs and rid society of this tax burden, but there's no reason to let that training and free labor go to waste."
"Are there statistics showing the ratio of male dogs to female dogs incarcerated? Or black and white dogs? Or how many of the Mexican Chihuahuas are in the kennel and how many dogs are in here for each offense?" I asked.
"About 93% of the dogs we keep are males. The female dogs are usually housed in a separate kennel. Most kennels have a lot more black dogs than white.35 At present, more than 10% of all young adult black male dogs are in kennels like this.36 It is estimated that in about fifteen years, at the current rate of growth, more than 50% of all adult black dogs in the country will be in kennels like this. I'm not sure why. I know there are some who believe that the black dogs are not as smart as other dogs. They feel good that the black dogs cannot breed, at least not while they are in here. But it could be that the DoDC has it out for them. You would have to ask them. I just lock up the ones they bring me.
"As for why they are here..... I'll show you." Mr. Cox pulled a list out of his draw- er and said, "Well, we have twelve dogs here for #1 - biting; six for #2 - killing a human; four for #3 - killing a dog; and the rest for the last five offenses. The majority are here for #6 - #8, a little over 400 dogs for each."
I was nearly speechless as I looked at the list and heard the numbers he was reading. "There are 400 dogs in here for possession of a leather chew toy?"
"412" he stated, "to be exact. Plus another 420 for #7, so 832 total."
"I don't understand," I said. "Over half of these dogs are here for this. Isn't it natural for dogs to want to chew? What is wrong with possessing a leather chew toy? Plus, why should it cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars when a dog breaks the law? Doesn't locking them up punish the wrong people?”
By Elijah Green
Mr. Cox seemed a little surprised at my questions and replied, "I don't make the laws or enforce them. I just keep the dogs they bring me. I just follow orders."
"How did such a law ever get passed?" I asked.
"Mr. Green, in 1973, the governor of New York was very influential in promoting the long incarceration terms for dogs caught with the leather chew toys.37 He had high political aspirations and wanted to appear 'tough on crime'. He even became Vice- President the following year. Prior to the Governor making his inaugural speech, the incarceration rate was 110 per 100,000 dogs. During the 80's, the President declared a war on leather chew toys. Other politicians joined the bandwagon of being 'tough on crime' and it spread like wildfire across the nation. The right wing conservatives really pushed to elect candidates and judges who promised long prison terms. Some judges even brag they will give out a million years while on the bench if they are elected.
That's how they measure 'tough on crime' in their mind. Today, the incarceration rate is over 760 per 100,000. When you only count adult dogs, the rate is 1 per 100. 38 There was a study done that showed some dogs get addicted to the flavor of leather chew toys and tend to want them for the rest of their lives. Some even think they might cause aggressive behavior, but no link was ever proven. Plastic chew toys are still fine. All I know is without that law, and the conspiracy law this place would be nearly empty and I'd have to lay off most of my staff. That would have a very negative financial im- pact on Middletown. It would be a ghost town. Why, my property value would plum- met!"
"What is this #8 - conspiracy law about?" I asked.
"If I remember correctly," he said as he tapped his fingers on the desk, "the dog catchers' union lobbied for that one. They were having a really hard time catching enough dogs to keep up their BMW car payments. The dogs would hide their chew toys or run back in their yard when other dogs alerted them that the DoDC was coming. Under the new conspiracy laws, if any dog barks to alert another dog, helps hide chew toys, or even knows about another dog possessing a leather chew toy or breaking any other law, and doesn't cooperate with the DoDC, they can be arrested and charged with conspiracy. It makes it so easy for the DoDC to get convictions now."
"Do you mean they can arrest, convict, and lock up dogs on hearsay evidence without hard evidence or actually seeing the dog commit any violation?" I questioned.
By Elijah Green
I immediately recalled what the Pope had said and realized the truth of it: "In a world without truth, freedom loses its foundation."39
"In the old days there had to be hard evidence," he said as he sipped his Coke. "But convictions were truly hard to get and our kennel system was really small. Now, all the DoDC needs is any two dogs to testify against another dog to get a conviction. If the two dogs that testify happen to be locked up or headed to the kennel at the time, they will get time off their sentence."
"How do dogs testify?" I asked.
"By barking more than three times when they see the accused dog," he replied matter- of-factly. I thought for a moment. "What's to prevent them from lying just to get their sentence reduced?"
Mr. Cox leaned back in his chair and got a slightly glazed look on his eyes as he stared at the back wall.
"They take an oath to tell the truth and the judges in the Animal Court can tell when they are lying. That's why they are called 'judges', you know. We know the sys- tem works because the DoDC has a 98% conviction rate."
"Mr. Cox, I can't help but feel that this conspiracy law is against everything this great country of ours was founded on. Why, those two dogs might never have met or even seen the accused dog in their lives. They could make up the whole story. It would amount to guilty till proven innocent. It makes it extremely easy for any dog to be ar- rested for conspiracy. Then the family would face huge legal bills just to defend their dog. The courts and lawyers would love that law because of the income it generates for them, but it seems so unfair for the poor families and dogs! I also can't see any differ- ence between offering time off sentences to dogs that testify against other dogs and bribing a witness. That is so wrong! You have over 400 dogs in here on 'conspiracy' charges. Doesn't that seem wrong to you?"
He appeared to actually be thinking for a moment and then said, "There are 437 dogs, to be exact, in here for conspiracy. If we sent them all home we could never meet the budget. Plus, I don't make the laws. I just follow orders."
By Elijah Green
Iwas stunned at this information. I heard a small voice in me saying that there was a real big fundamental problem here. I felt like I was starting out on "the Yellow Brick Road" - a money trail that would lead me to a strange place.
Could the 98% conviction rate be because it costs a fortune to defend yourself against the government and most people cannot afford it? I wondered to myself, could it be be- cause all lawyers, even defense attorneys, swear to make their first loyalty to the court and not their client? Could it be because the DoDC attorneys, dog catchers, and wit- nesses are allowed to lie on the witness stand, plant evidence, entrap people and their dogs and even infiltrate or influence juries, and the judges not only allow it but seem to encourage it? 40 Could it be because the average juror automatically believes "their government" would never lie and the "accused must be guilty" since, "after all, they were arrested"? Could the 98% conviction rate be because the DoDC has learned that by charging 20 or 30 or even 100 counts, the jurors will be influenced to believe "there must be guilt somewhere" and convict on at least a few counts? After all, if you throw enough mud, some of it is bound to stick somewhere, even if only in the minds of the jurors!
Could it be because the jurors went to a school that no longer teaches the truth about jurors' rights to vote on both the facts and the law? Could it be because the judge lies to the jurors by telling them they cannot decide or even consider whether the law itself is fair or just? Could it be because the jury never sees the actual law, but only the judges "instructions" about the law? Why doesn't the judge tell them the truth about jury nullifi- cation? Does anyone remember that Hitler's and Stalin's courts had a 100% conviction rate but were still evil and wrong, and tens of millions of innocent people suffered and died?
My mind was racing again. I slowly focused on Mr. Cox's sincere, serene smile and asked, "Do the judges also get a bounty or bonus?"
Mr. Cox seemed a little shocked by that question.
"Oh, no. That would prejudice the Court. Most of the power is in the hands of the DoDC. In fact, many of the judges used to work in the DoDC. There is no money exchanged that I know of, but the judges normally rule for the DoDC because they are afraid their own dog will be arrested. These judges have kids that love their dogs, too, you know. They wouldn't want to hear their kids cry at night."
By Elijah Green
"I see," I mumbled softly as I thought of the thousands of kids home crying for their dog right that very moment. "Do any families ever challenge the Court's decision to try to keep their dog out of the kennel?
Mr. Cox pulled out another piece of paper, looked at it, and said, "Yes. Last year there were 2,707 convictions in Animal Court. Seven hundred of them were appealed, and only nine convictions were overturned on appeal. The appeal typically costs $30,000 and lasts about 16 months. During that time the dog stays in here."
"Boy! The sentence would be over by then for most offenses," I said.
"Yes," Mr. Cox acknowledged sadly. "Justice moves slowly sometimes. If a family takes the case to Court and loses, their dog will probably get the maximum sentence in the guidelines, while those who take a plea bargain get much less."
"Sir," I began slowly, "I cannot see what good is accomplished for the dog, the family, or society by locking these non-violent dogs up for long periods of time. The Romans said 2,000 years ago that prolonged incarceration was 'cruel and unusual punishment'. Do you have children, Mr. Cox?"
"Yes, I do," he said. "My son is 28, and my daughter is 26."
"Did you always use the same punishment with them as they grew up?" "What do you mean?" he asked.
"Well, when they were toddlers, I would suspect you used a simple thump on the hand when they disobeyed, and as preschoolers a seat in the corner or 'time out', and only used a paddle for serious or deliberate repeat offenses. Didn't you?" I asked.
"Yes, that is correct," he replied with a slight smile, as he remembered their childhood.
"It seems to me that over use of the paddle would create bitterness. Imagine that you caught your son smoking a cigarette at age 12 and told him he was going to get 5 swats with the paddle every day for 16 months as punishment. What would his reaction have been?" I asked.
Mr. Cox looked surprised. "Why he would have hated me and said, "Dad! Give it to me all at once. Get it over with. Please!"
By Elijah Green
"Exactly!" I said. "That's my point. Locking up dogs or people for long time peri- ods is just a long protracted beating. It doesn't do any good and does great harm to all
involved, especially to the children affected by it. It has to break up relationships be- tween dogs and families in many cases. I think we should rethink this whole process. First, should the laws exist, especially for categories #6 - #8? For Pete's sake, just legalize the chew toys! Second, should the DoDC get rewarded for how many dogs they arrest and convict? How can a system like that not go corrupt? Third, is locking them up the only punishment available? Can't Congress think of other options? Other countries don't do this. Fourth, why would anyone want a mandatory minimum term for dogs, especially on their first offense? Do they not realize that the Law of the Lord is perfect,41 and in God's laws there are no provisions for incarceration? God's Word calls for beatings for some crimes (Deut. 25:3; Luke 12:47), restitution plus penalties for others (Exodus 22:1, 4; Leviticus 6:5), and execution for others (Exodus 19:13; Num- bers 15:36). How can the Senators and judges, who own stock in the kennels or one of the kennel industries, really remain objective, honest, and just, the way this is set up? How can this not be a clear case of conflict of interest?"
Mr. Cox looked at me with a far away stare that reminded me a little of the cow in the road. It appeared like he was trying to wrap his mind around a whole new thought, but it wouldn't stretch far enough. After a moment of awkward silence he slowly said, "I have never thought of those things, Mr. Green. Those are very thought-provoking ques- tions, but I don't make the laws, I just follow orders."
By Elijah Green
Iwas trying to absorb the enormity of the problem and the pain this system in- flicted, all for the love of money, when I heard a faint yelp down the hall.
"I'd like to learn more about the DoDC," I said.
Mr. Cox had heard the yelp as well and turned to look down the hall.
"Well, that's perfect timing. Here comes a DoDC staff member now. I'll introduce you and see if he has time to answer your questions."
I turned to look down the hall with Mr. Cox. There I saw a short pudgy man pull- ing a reluctant and obviously scared little puppy. The choke collar was attached to a leash that led through an eight-foot length of pipe so the puppy couldn't reach the dog catcher to bite him. I could detect a faint, cocky smirk on the little man's face, as well as a stun gun, extra leash, mace, and a 45 caliber pistol, all strapped to a belt around and slightly under a roll where his waist should have been or used to be. His neatly pressed uniform was straining at the lower buttons and had several large shiny badges pinned on it. The largest badge said, "Department of Dog Catchers".
As I looked at his face I couldn't help but wonder if this wasn't the same guy I had seen two months ago working at the burger place on Main Street. I was trying to gather my thoughts and control my emotions as I looked down at the terrified little puppy tug- ging at the chain when Mr. Cox said, "Mr. Green, this is Hans Krause, the assistant dog catcher. I think he would be glad to answer a few questions."
I reached out and shook hands with Hans. His hand seemed sweaty as if pulling that puppy down the hall was more exertion than he was used to doing.
"Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Krause," I said. "Mr. Cox tells me you know a lot about the DoDC."
Hans straightened up, tried to suck in his stomach a little, smiled, and wiped a sleeve over his badges as he said, "I'd be glad to help you, Mr. Green. What would you like to know?"
Mr. Cox offered a Coke to Mr. Krause, which he quickly accepted. I sipped on mine and began by asking, "How many people work in the DoDC?"
By Elijah Green
Hans took a gulp of Coke as he pushed the pipe to the floor to force the puppy to lie down or choke, and then replied, "There are 12 in this district and 8 districts in the state, so about 100," he boasted.
"And what is required to get a job in the DoDC?" I asked.
From the quickness of his response I guessed that he knew because it had just recently happened to him. "Just a willingness to risk your life to make the state a safer place. They train you, but the training is not hard. We had to use five officers, a heli- copter, tear gas, and break the fence down to apprehend this criminal. He had a chew toy and got twelve months," he said with a proud grin. "We learned about using exces- sive force in training. It helps instill fear in the entire neighborhood, plus it is a real boost to our own ego."
"Hitler and Stalin would be pleased with how we have copied their methods," I whispered. But I didn't say it loud enough for them to hear. Mr. Cox handed Hans an envelope which I assume contained his $250 "incentive" for bringing in this "dangerous animal". As Hans slipped it in his pocket, I saw a slight smile grace his face.
Well.... let's see.... the taxpayers get a bill for $7,000 to house this puppy for a year, more kids cry at home, Mr. Cox, and twenty four others are assured jobs, and Hans gets $250, I thought. So this is how a police state works. Even the family that lost their puppy shares in the tax bill to lock him up.
I glanced down at the poor puppy still struggling at the choke collar, and before I knew it, my thoughts came out as words. "Hans, do you ever feel guilty for taking dogs away from their families?" I asked.
The smile faded from his face and I wished I had not said anything, but it was too late now. The question was out. "I felt rotten the first few weeks," he said sadly, "but they say you get used to it. It was really hard watching kids cry as I locked up their puppy, but hey, I don't make the laws. I just do my job. I just follow orders. I had night- mares for the first few weeks, and I still struggle some. I've got kids too, and a dog......... I just focus on doing my job to feed my family and pay my bills. I admit I do look forward to retiring though. I've only got 19 years and 11 months to go."
Ah, it is the burger guy, I thought, but this time I didn't say it out loud. "Hans, do any of the dogs you arrest have puppies of their own at home?" I
By Elijah Green
Hans lowered his head and bit his lip for a moment before he replied, "Yes...... quite often they do. It takes nerves of steel for us to drag them away from their little ones." He paused a moment and continued, "My nerves aren't steel yet but they say it comes with experience. I hope it comes soon for me," he sighed.
No one said anything for a moment. I pondered quietly that I was getting a glimpse of the real child abusers in America. Hans just looked down at the puppy and I saw his shoulders relax and sag a little, as if they carried a heavy load.
By Elijah Green
Just then the intercom on Mr. Cox's desk interrupted the awkward silence. "Mr. Cox, Senator Jones is here. He needs to see you right away. He says it's urgent and will only take a moment."
"Send him in," Mr. Cox said in a voice that reflected a little pride or self im- portance I thought.
The senator entered wearing an expensive suit and politicians' smile. He reached across the desk to shake hands with Mr. Cox. Senator Jones smiled at Mr. Krause and I, and said to the kennel keeper, "I'm sorry to interrupt you gentlemen. This will only take a moment and I'm in a big hurry. There has been a simple mistake. My grandson's dog was accidentally picked up last night by the DC for possession of a leather chew toy." He reached into his inside suit coat pocket and pulled out an enve- lope and said, "This letter will explain everything."
Mr. Cox accepted it with a slight nod, hefted it once for just an instant before slip- ping it into his own coat pocket and said, "I'm sorry for the mix-up, Senator. I'll have one of my men bring your grandson's dog up right away."
"Actually," Senator Jones began, "I'm really pressed for time. I'll just go get him, if you don't mind."
My curious and uninhibited nature took hold again. Before I knew it I said, "Mr. Cox, I'd love to see the rest of the kennel and ask the Senator a few questions. May I go with him as he gets his dog?"
Mr. Cox thought for a brief second and answered, "We need to drop off this new arrival in the same area so let's just all walk together. You can finish the tour and get your questions answered all at the same time."
As we walked past hundreds of cages with dogs of all sizes and ages, most whining and begging to be petted and many were mere puppies, I introduced myself to Senator Jones and said, "Sir, I'm pretty confused about what I'm seeing today. Why did the Senate vote to outlaw leather chew toys? It seems to me like that's a natural thing for dogs to do and your law has created a crime over this. What does it hurt if they have leather chew toys?"
Senator Jones paused for a moment, as if he were about to give a political speech, and said, "For many years they were legal, and in many countries today they
By Elijah Green
still are but there was a lot of political pressure put on us about 35 years ago to outlaw them. The animal rights activists were against them. They donated a lot of money to my campaign so, of course, I had to vote for their bill."
Once again my unrestrained personality dominated before I could stop it and I blurted, "Of course you did. The Bible explains all that in 1st Timothy 6:10."
The senator looked both pleased and puzzled - pleased that he could justify his actions with the Bible and that I had appeared to agree with him, and puzzled as if he were trying to remember what that verse said. He covered his ignorance, like a veteran politician, as he said, "Oh yes. The Bible. That's a great book. I always look to it to guide me in policies and decisions."
I couldn't resist the opening, "So, do you read the Bible often?"
"Oh yes, every day," he lied.
"Have you ever read the book of Hezekiah to see what he says about being kind to animals?" I asked, trying very hard not to smile or laugh, since there is no book of Hezekiah.
Without hesitation and with great political poise he said, "Many times. I was just reading it with my family yesterday. Great book! Oh, here's my grandson's dog. Come here, boy! Let's get you out of here and away from all these bad dogs. I hate to run gen- tlemen, but I have a committee meeting in two hours. We are considering changing the 'No Barking After Midnight' law."
Seeing a flicker of hope to change a silly law that has harmed hundreds of fami- lies and caused untold suffering unnecessarily I asked, "What are the proposed chang- es to the law?"
"We are considering moving the time to 11 p.m.," he said proudly. "Are you for the change?" I asked.
He straightened his shoulders and got a faraway look on his face as if he were thinking on a subject of great national security and said, "I've given it a great deal of consideration and I've had an enormous amount of input from my constituents on both sides of the issue. Seven said I should vote against the change and eleven have en- couraged me to vote for it. I have to listen to the will of the people so I'll probably vote for it. Well gentlemen, I've got my grandson's dog and I must hurry."
By Elijah Green
"Senator," I interjected, "may I ask just one more quick question?"
He lovingly patted the dog's head and said, "Just a quick one."
"Has the Senate ever considered just dropping the no barking law, conspiracy law, chew toy laws, and leash law altogether? A simple no-bark collar could solve the barking problem, and there are constitutional issues about the other laws. That would send nearly all these lonely dogs home to their loving families and help a lot of hurting kids, plus save the taxpayers billions of dollars," I said.
The senator looked stunned by my audacity to even suggest such a thing! He reacted, "What! If we did that, we would only have a few dozen dogs here that were violent. We could never meet the budget for the kennel. I would be forced to oppose any bill that would even attempt to do that."
"Why?" I asked.
"Why? Because I own the land this kennel is built on. They could never afford the lease payment. Plus, that would cause great harm to many other segments of this massive business."
"Thanks for your time and answers, Senator Jones," Mr. Cox interrupted. "I'm sorry about the mistake with your grandson's dog." Turning to me he said, "OK, Mr. Green, let's go across the aisle to put our new arrival in his cage."
By Elijah Green
As Hans dragged the still struggling puppy toward his new home, I first heard and then saw a very muscular pit bull growling at the puppy. The hair on the back of the pit bull was standing up and the puppy gave out a
pitiful whine as he wet the floor.
Mr. Cox reached for the latch on the pit-bull's cage and said, "This is one of those four dogs we've got in here for killing another dog. He gets out in four months."
As Hans pushed the frantic puppy inside and released his collar I implored, "won't the pit bull hurt this puppy?"
Mr. Cox glanced at the pit bull for a moment as the puppy quivered in the corner of the cage and said, "Oh I doubt it. If he does he will go to the SHED and it will add more time to his sentence. I feel bad, but this is the only cage we have room in right now. I wish the taxpayers would vote for that bill to construct more kennels. We sure need the space! Plus, my cousin needs a job."
As we turned away to continue the tour, the puppy gave the most heart-rending whine I had ever heard! Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized that this system was so well- entrenched there was nothing I could do for the puppy but pray for God to pro- tect it. I hoped that four months of being locked up with that pit bull wouldn't take away his sweet innocence and make it grow up to be a vicious dog. But inside I knew the chances of this were slim and the kennel would probably have another "guest", or should I say "customer" a few months after this puppy is released, if he survives.
"Hans," I asked, "what 'crimes' does the DoDC spend most of their time on?"
Hans thought for a moment and answered, "chew toys and conspiracy. I'd say that about 80% of our arrests are for those crimes. We wouldn't have much to do with- out those laws to enforce. I probably wouldn't have this job. Why, last year, the DoDC was able to arrest a pack of 15 dogs in one day! They had a huge smuggling ring going on, bringing in illegal chew toys from a neighboring state. These packs of dogs are get- ting better organized every year. They were real slick about it, but we caught them! Well, I mean, they caught them. I wasn't working for the DoDC at that time, although I sure wish I had been! That would have been awesome to be part of that sting opera- tion. It was featured on the States' Most Wanted Dogs. The senior DoDC staff still talk about it all the time. One was even bitten by one of the dogs when he tried to arrest him. He got a medical retirement with full benefits for life. Now, he plays golf almost every day."
By Elijah Green
Hans seemed to be reliving, and maybe embellishing, the story in his mind over and over as he stared off into space and smiled. He continued, "Boy, you should have heard the guys talking around the water cooler that day! They tell me that one guy was bragging that he got nearly two hundred points from just that one raid!"
I had not heard of points before, so I asked, "What's a point, and what are they for?"
"Oh, it's sort of an off-the-record competition all the DoDC staff has," said Hans. "Every time we make an arrest that results in a dog being incarcerated in a kennel, we get one point for each month of the sentence. We all know that promotions are based on these points. One guy in our office has earned over eight hundred thousand points over the last nineteen years. He's trying to get over a million before he retires in four years. He could retire next year, but I think he wants to set the record before they make him retire. I sure hope he makes it. That would be so cool to have the Captain talk about him at the retirement party!"
I choked back the lump forming in my throat and tried to stop the tears forming in my eyes as I thought about hundreds of thousands of lonely months this system was inflicting on both dogs and kids just so these guys could boast around a water cooler. I blinked back the tears as I looked at Hans. He was obviously dreaming of getting his own "points" for this poor puppy today.
Slowly he came back to the present, shook his head slightly - as if to clear his mind - and said, "Well gentlemen, I hate to rush off but I have an important job to do. There are still vicious dogs out there to apprehend, and duty demands that I go protect the innocent people from dangerous animals. After all, I took an oath to uphold the law. Good day, gentlemen."
As Hans walked off twirling his leash and whistling, Mr. Cox looked after him and sighed, "Where would our state be without brave men and women like him?"
Yes indeed, I thought, where would we be?
By Elijah Green
As we strolled past another row of cages, I noticed several water hoses had been left running full blast, apparently by the kennel cleaners. The hoses were lying on the concrete and the streams of water were each snaking
their way toward a storm drain. I could see no kennel workers in the area and no rea- son for the waste. As we approached one stream, Mr. Cox, who seemed totally uncon- cerned and maybe even oblivious to any problem, simply stepped over it to keep his shoes from getting wet and continued walking as if it was perfectly normal.
Having been responsible for paying my own utility bills for many years had caused me to notice things like this, even at other people’s houses. I can't tell you how many times I had to remind my own children to shut the door or turn off the water or shut off the lights. I'm sure you understand if you have bills to pay. As I prepared to step over the stream myself, my curiosity got the best of me.
"Mr. Cox," I began, "shouldn't someone shut off that water? It seems like a waste of resources to let it run if they are done. Isn't it?"
He paused a moment, looked back at the water hoses producing the streams and then proceeded walking away and said, "Oh, the kennel cleaners will shut them off eventually. Don't worry about it. The more water we use here the better it is for the small local utility company. Our utility bills are pretty high here. It helps support the lo- cal economy. Plus, the more we spend, the more we can ask for next year in the annu- al budget increase. It works out great for everyone. Conservation of resources is not a big concern for us here. We are too busy keeping the state safe from dangerous ani- mals."
I glanced back at the water pouring into the drain and had to stifle my conserva- tive urge to run over and shut off the hoses myself. I looked at Mr. Cox, who was now two steps ahead of me, continuing the tour as if nothing had happened.
I couldn't bring myself to believe this is really happening. This whole kennel sys- tem is a deliberate waste of tax dollars. How could a place exist where waste is re- warded? Do other government agencies and employees develop the same warped thinking over time? I wondered. Was I still in my home country or had I somehow been transported to another planet in a dream and would soon wake up? The pitiful howl of a lonely puppy to my left snapped me back to reality. I wasn't dreaming.
"Mr. Cox," I said. "Do the children ever get to come and visit with their dogs?"
By Elijah Green
"Oh yes, after the dog has been here 30 days," he replied smiling. "Our policy states that our goal is to keep the bond between dogs and families strong.42 We allow them to visit twice a week for four hours each time in the visiting area over there. How- ever, the State is considering legislation which will cut the visitation time in half as a means to reduce the kennel's budget. But during the first 30 days of incarceration the dog is not allowed any visitors. Some families drive 8 hours just to come see their dog. Sadly, many families just get another dog and their old dog is left here alone for us to take care of. Unfortunately, the children rarely bond as well or enjoy the new dog as much. Usually, the children still want to come see their old dog, but they are rarely brought here. Hundreds of these dogs never get a visit. Apparent- ly the families think that the bond with their new dog will get better by forgetting the old dog."
As we entered the small, drab, unfurnished visiting area I thought, 'there is noth- ing to do in here for the dogs or the kids'. There were vending machines and chairs and a few tables and that was it. The prices on the vending machines caught my attention.
"A dollar twenty-five for a Coke! Two dollars twenty-five cents for juice! That's outrageous! Why would anyone pay that instead of just bringing their snacks with them?"
"Visitors are not allowed to bring food, Mr. Green. It's the policy of the Bureau of Kennels. As for the price, that's a benefit for the staff. Eighty-five percent of the profits go for staff recreation and fifteen percent go to the BOK."
Then what he had said earlier registered with me. "Eight hours!" I exclaimed without meaning to raise my voice. "If the state has fourteen kennels, I don't see how any dog can ever be locked up more than an hour’s drive from its owner. Don't you put them in the kennel that is closest to their home?"
"Of course we do," he said somewhat defensively. "That is, if we have room. If the dogs cause trouble or break any kennel rules, we can move them across the state, or to another state, for punishment. Because of overcrowding, the dog can even be sent to a private kennel. However, if a dog is placed in a private kennel, he can be moved much farther away. For example, many of the dogs from Hawaii are sent to Ari- zona or Kentucky.44 Dogs from Kansas may go to Florida. The cage broker helps find a place for them. Private companies now transport thousands of dogs across the United States. The dogs may spend as long as a month on the road on their way to a private kennel. There are more laws regulating the transporting of cattle than there are for transporting these dogs46, Mr. Green. Just remember, if the owner had kept their dog under control, he wouldn't be here."
By Elijah Green
"What kind of things could a dog do in here that would make you move him far from his family?" I asked.
"Oh, we have lots of rules in the kennel system," he said. "Moving their food or water dish, barking too loudly, scratching the fence or gate, or possessing a leather chew toy. You know, things like that. Sometimes, rather than move them, we just take away their visiting rights as punishment. It's usually for only six or twelve months at a time. We have one dog over there in cage #738 that tried to dig under his fence to escape. We took away his visiting rights and dog biscuits for 24 months."
This was unbelievable! Why couldn't Mr. Cox realize how much permanent damage that particular punishment would do to both the dog and the family? Couldn't he understand that it would be natural for every dog to want to escape from this place - not to go out and be dangerous, but to be back with a loving family?
"If a dog is sick, are the family members afforded any special visitation privileg- es?" I asked.
"Oh, no!" he exclaimed. "To the contrary, family members are not allowed to visit their dog in the animal hospital unless the dog is in critical condition, and then visitation is limited to only fifteen minutes."
"Mr. Cox," I said, "of all the things you can do to punish dogs that violate rules, why would taking away their family visits even be on the list of options? That seems so cruel."
"Letting families come visit causes problems for us. Some kids know their puppy is teething so they sneak chew toys into the visiting area. Our staff even get bribed to smuggle them in once in a while. It's a real problem in here and takes a lot of our staff time to monitor. But hey, I don't make the laws. I just do my job. I just follow orders."
I'd heard that before, but this time it sparked a question, so I asked, "Doesn't keeping these dogs locked up for long periods of time like this alienate them from their owners, and make them less playful and more aggressive when they do go home?"
Mr. Cox wrinkled his eyebrows in thought and said, "Probably. Maybe that's why over 0% of the dogs return to the kennel within a year of getting out. The BOK devel- oped policies to try and reduce the rate of recidivism to no avail. The other problem is the label they all get. Any dog that has ever been locked up will be labeled a 'felon' for
By Elijah Green
the rest of its life. He can't leave the state to go on family vacations, without going through a lot of red tape, and if he ever goes to the city pound because his family re- jects him, he will probably be the last ones adopted out, if anyone will take him.
“Most of the dogs seem real friendly and well- trained when they come," he con- tinued. "It's a real shame that 80% are abandoned by their families if they are here more than 10 months. The abandonment rate is even higher for female dogs. Unfortunately, the dogs are not allowed to develop new friendships with outsiders while they are here. The dogs are allowed visits only with people who knew them prior to their incarceration. If abandoned by their family, they are usually left here forgotten. It's the law. When they get out, without those relationships, they usually get into trouble quicker and end up back here. After they have been here for a while, they seem to change. They are less friendly and playful. Some even turn mean or even vicious. It's sad to see them get that way. Under the Three Strikes Law, dogs that are caught a third time for the same offense are classed as incorrigible and sentenced to life."
"Do the staff officers ever abuse the dogs?" I asked.
"It happens sometimes, when you're constantly around mean animals," he re- sponded. "Congress passed laws to try to reduce it, but those laws do not apply to the privately owned kennels."
"Does the staff get punished?"
"Mr. Green, most abuse is only considered to be a misdemeanor, not worth the trouble to charge them. Besides, the staff officers are like heroes in the eyes of the public, protecting society, and these are just dogs in here. Once, four guards were charged with the beating death of a female dog, but charges were dropped after they could not determine the time of her death.51 In Florida, two staff officers were acquit- ted for stomping a dog to death. That dog must have really been mean."
"Or the staff members," I thought. "Do your staff members here ever show any affection to the dogs like petting them, brushing them, or talking nicely to them?" I asked.
"Many years ago the kennel did that sort of thing before the big change in philos- ophy," he replied.
By Elijah Green
"What change in philosophy?" I inquired.
"In the 1970s, the kennel system was commonly seen as a way to rehabilitate and pre- pare the offending dogs to be returned to their families,"53 he said matter-of-factly. "We told our staff to be as nice as they could be to the dogs and help them in any way we
could because we felt that just being away from their home and family was punishment enough. We even had frequent training classes and allowed dogs to go home for weekend furloughs once a month. Then, about 25 years ago, the head of the Bureau of Kennels sent out a memo to all kennel keepers that the new philosophy was that dogs are here 'for' punishment and we were to look for ways to make them miserable so they would quit coming back. Nearly all training classes and furloughs stopped. I think the policy change came because of pressure from the right wing conservatives whose slo- gan was 'tough on crime'. They were a powerful political force. It got to the place where you couldn't get elected without their support.
"A few thought we had gotten too tough on crime. For instance, the media did not like it when one of the training videos for a private kennel showed a seemingly com- pliant dog being kicked and shocked with the stun gun, but these techniques can be useful in breaking a dog's rebellious spirit. I still do not know how they got to see that video."54
"Mr. Cox, do the staff ever shoot the dogs?" I asked.
"Not here, we don't. Our state doesn't allow it. But at the Red Onion Kennel in Virginia, they do. But they only use rubber bullets inside the compound. During their first nine months, they shot over sixty dogs, injuring ten. That instilled a fear in the other dogs, which should keep them in line."
I was walking with him silently and thinking about all I had seen and heard, when we came upon a kennel worker carrying a huge sack of dog food toward the open trunk of his car. Inside the trunk, there appeared to already be several sacks of dog food.
Mr. Cox quickly looked away, veered off slightly to the left, and began, "This is our own food preparation area. We provide well balanced meals to keep the dogs healthy. It costs us about 85¢ a day to feed each dog."
“85¢ a day!" I exclaimed. "How can you provide enough food at such a low price?"
By Elijah Green
"Oh, it's very simple." Mr. Cox smiled. "We get truck loads of food donated be- cause it is past the expiration date. Very few of the FDA food laws apply to kennel food. Many of the other kennels are using private companies to feed the dogs. Many prob- lems have been created by using a private company to feed the dogs. Several states now do this as a cost-saving measure,56 but lawmakers still want food costs reduced another 14%.57 When eating is perhaps the biggest pleasure in a dog's day, it's easy for fights to break out due to petty jealousies over food. There have been some prob- lems with the private company in charge of feeding the dogs as well. They don't keep the food preparation area very clean, there have been some instances of maggots on the dogs' trays, and they have even been caught dipping spoiled meat in vinegar and water to remove the smell. Often they do not fix enough food for all of the dogs.
When food portions are too small, a hungry dog can become a problem dog, but the state is saving money. Many companies send us outdated or slightly spoiled food, we get it for free and they can write the full retail value off on their taxes. It works out good for everyone."
Everyone, except the dogs, I thought. "Doesn't that pose a health risk to the dogs?"
"Oh, maybe a little, but hey, they are just dogs. Besides, we have a long list of dogs al- ready sentenced waiting to come here when we get space. We have no prob- lem staying full."
I remembered back to my college history class where I learned how labeling people groups makes it easier to mistreat them. Communists labeled their opponents as "enemies of the state", Hitler labeled Jews as "inferior species" or "criminals" or "par- asites", blacks were called lots of negative terms during slavery, the whites called the Indians "savages". The list was real long! And here I was today hearing "they are just dogs". I was beginning to see the true picture and plan. It wasn't pretty.
By Elijah Green
Iwas still having a hard time believing what I was hearing and seeing. I must be dreaming, I thought. This can't be really happening in my country, the one my brother and I fought for and thousands have died for. How could anyone with
a conscience be part of such a scheme and still sleep at night? Do the taxpayers really know what is going on behind this fence way out here next to nowhere? How could I tell them? What could they do? It was obvious to everyone that something must be done to get truly dangerous or vicious dogs off the street, but 1600 dogs? Fourteen kennels in this state and over 900 kennels in the country? Chew toys? Conspiracy? Two million dogs? Has everyone gone stupid at once? My mind was racing in all directions when I remembered the open trunk.
"What happens if a dog steals extra food from the food preparation area?" I asked.
"Oh, that's a serious offense!" he said. "That dog would face new charges and longer sentence in the kennel, plus time in the SHED."
"Do they have to go back to the Animal Court to face the new charges?"
"Rarely, Mr. Green. Our staff usually gets to decide if the dog is guilty and what the punishment should be. We are trained for this, and the state trusts that our deci- sions will help keep the public safe from these vicious animals."
"Do the staff members ever steal food for their dogs at home?" I asked as I looked back at the kennel worker loading the last sack of food in his trunk.
"There may be some petty theft by our staff, but we sort of look the other way and consider it part of their benefits," he said. "After all, we are putting our lives on the line in here to protect the public from dangerous animals."
I thought of the hundreds of lonely dogs we had seen today whining and begging to be loved. Some were very old and could barely stand up in their cage. I would say that way less than 10% could be called 'dangerous animals'. Maybe years ago, when only dangerous animals were locked up, he would be correct to think of himself as a he- ro; but what I had seen today was mostly a huge money making business. My mind went back to the new puppy in with the pit bull and I silently prayed for him to somehow survive. I thought of all the hundreds of kids who were home crying right that minute because they missed their dog. I wondered how many more burglaries there were now
By Elijah Green
because family watch dogs were locked up in here. As I thought back over the sights and sounds of the day, a tear welled up in my eye and trickled down my cheek.
Mr. Cox saw it and said, "I know. I get emotional too as I think about the brave staff we have working here to make the state a safer place."
"Mr. Cox," I said, "what exactly are you trying to accomplish in the lives of these dogs and families? No other country on Earth does this to the extreme our country does. What does locking them up for seven months accomplish that they can't learn in seven days?"
"That's a great question," he said. "I don't know of any good that comes from this place except to provide a lot of jobs and take a few dangerous animals off the street. Local businesses benefit when families come to visit their dogs, as they often have to stay in the hotel and eat while they are in town. It also helps lots of local economies when the dog's time is up and he is released to the half-way house."
"The half-way house?" I asked. "What is that?"
"Oh, almost all dogs are required to go for 60 days to a half-way house so they can be gradually transitioned back into society. The owner pays the half-way house $10 per day for the sixty days. Most dogs are really allowed to go home after only ten days or so, but they must pay for all sixty days," Mr. Cox said. "Then they can bring in more dogs to fill the vacancies."
"Wow!" I said. "They could rent the same space out to six dogs. What a lucra- tive place that is!"
"That's why it helps the local economy so much. There are scores of these half- way houses around the state," he said smiling. "The taxpayers don't pay for that. The dogs get regular jobs. No NICOR, etc."
By Elijah Green
Iwas stunned! I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
"This whole system seems to me to be nothing but a giant money making ma-
chine and lots of people are in on it," I said. "The welfare of the dog or the family is way down on the list, if it is even on it. Protecting the public from dangerous animals is only a smokescreen."
"You are probably right, Mr. Green. Money and politics intersect at Corruption Avenue. It's the nature of American politics. Even the Roman historian, Tacitus, stated back about 1900 years ago, 'The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.' There's nothing we can do about it though, but do our job and pay taxes. I am both humbled and honored to have this job, knowing that I am helping keep our state safe from dangerous animals."
We were walking slowly toward the massive gate. Mr. Cox paused a moment and said, "Well, our tour is complete. I think you have seen everything we have here. Do you have any other questions?"
I looked at Mr. Cox. He seemed so professional, so methodical, so mechanical. I wondered if he had any feelings of remorse for the suffering he was bringing to fami- lies and dogs. I wondered if he realized how many ways he could help ease that suffer- ing. Couldn't he hear the same lonely whines I was hearing? Couldn't he see the dogs shaking in fear? Couldn't he understand why kids cried as they left the visiting area each week? Would he even consider the idea that the problem was not the dogs or the families, but the laws that criminalize innocent conduct? Did he lobby to eliminate the ludicrous laws that caused nearly all of these dogs to be here? Did he ever consider the idea that the problem could be solved some other cheaper way like fines or dog col- lars? Was it not evident that the love of money was causing most of this evil? How could he sleep at night?
Do the taxpayers realize that what had started as a legitimate place for vicious dogs had grown into such a huge business? Do they know that only a few of the dogs really needed to be in here, and most were here over impractical laws or because of a system that rewards the DoDC for convictions and not for seeking truth and justice? Everyone knows we need laws and crime should be punished, but this? Couldn't he see that most of these dogs should go home, now, today, to their families? Couldn't he hear the children cry at night? What was happening to my country? Has everyone gone crazy at once?
By Elijah Green
Did my countrymen see this fence as a good thing to prevent escape and never wonder why the dogs would want to escape? Couldn't America see - to paraphrase from Uncle Tom's Cabin - that this system was creating "anguish and despair, breaking thousands of hearts, shattering thousands of families, and driving helpless people to frenzy and despair? "Is this a thing to be defended, sympathized with, passed over in silence."60 What happened to the liberty part of life - liberty and the pursuit of happi- ness? Would it be a waste of time to even mention my thoughts to Mr. Cox, or Hans, or Senator Jones since they all made money off this kennel? The senate could fix nearly all of this problem in one day, but why would they? How could anyone convince them to vote to eliminate part of their own income, power and prestige? Has any politician in his- tory ever done that? I could not think of any.
My mind was racing in all directions at once and all I could mutter was, "I don't have any more questions Mr. Cox. Thanks so much for your time."
Mr. Cox shook my hand and smiled as he opened the huge gate for me. It shut behind me with that same heavy, heartless, mechanical, ground shaking thud. Even though I was now outside, I still had a sick feeling in my stomach. I used to be proud of my country, but visiting this place shook my faith in our justice system. I slowly drove out to the main road where Bessie had wandered back into the middle. I stopped and watched her mindlessly chewing her mouthful of grass and staring at me with that same blank, non-thinking stare that only cows can give. I'm sure she had no clue that she had changed my life forever. The sun was setting and I glanced over toward the kennel where I saw a tiny reflection off the razor wire. I just sat quietly and gazed at it for a long time, and I wept.
By Elijah Green
For centuries, the abuse of alcohol has created problems for the family. Some people believed that alcoholic beverages endangered mental and physical health. They also thought drunkenness helped some people commit crime. In 1917, Congress ap- proved the 18th Amendment to the Constitution which prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol and took effect in 1920. Congress also passed the Volstead Act which established penalties for prohibition violations. The results of Prohibition was not fewer people drinking, but more as people thought the law violated their right to live according to their own standards. Government grew bigger trying to enforce the laws and crime increased. Gangs provided most of the alcoholic beverages and warred with other gangs for control of the liquor trade. It took a while for Americans to realize that the Prohibition laws and the "war on alcohol" did more harm than good, so in 1933, Prohibi- tion was repealed with the passage of the 21st Amendment.
Now let us consider drugs and the effect of the war on drugs. Some people be- lieve that drugs endanger mental and physical health. Some people also believe that drug use helps people commit crime. Yet for centuries, people have used and abused drugs. Drug use has not come down as a result of laws, but has increased, and along with it came an increase in crime, criminal activity, and gang violence. Possibly it is a rebel nature within man to want to do that which is forbidden, i.e. 56, or more, in a 55 speed limit zone. This book is not intended to condone the use of drugs or alcohol, but to raise awareness that the laws which outlaw drugs are causing more harm than good to nearly everyone, and costing the taxpayers billions of dollars annually, not only to in- carcerate the drug offenders, but also billions extra on enforcing these laws and in wel- fare to affected families.
These laws need to be repealed, and many prisoners set free. It is also intended to highlight some of the problems with the prison system. There is evidence that releas- ing non violent drug offenders would save money on corrections because the economic cost of their offending is so low.62 If drug sales were restricted as is alcohol so that they may only be sold to persons age 21 and older, they could be sold at the convenient store along with cigarettes and alcohol. Then, what now sells for $20 because it is ille- gal would probably be less than $1. Instantly, the drug dealers would be out of busi- ness. The need to commit crime to support a $100 per day habit would be drastically reduced by the affordability. The $5 billion dollars the President promised one of the Central American countries for them to curtail their drug supply line would be saved as the incentive to export into the United States would be gone.
By Elijah Green
People who are now sniffing paint for a buzz and for fear of the law could get a safer and cheaper high. Drugs which require the use of a needle could be restricted, but motivation to use such would be drastically diminished by the availability of other drugs. 20% of the police department would not be needed and could find employment doing something more useful. The Coast Guard and Border Patrol would no longer have to worry about drug smugglers since the market would no longer be profitable. Over 50% of the budget for incarceration could be saved. That savings could go a long way toward reducing the national debt, or just be money the taxpayers save.
"Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves." ~Ronald Reagan
"For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced, it is an open secret that the danger- ous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this." ~Albert Einstein
"Totalitarianism is when people believe they can punish their way to perfection." ~Newt Gingrich
"Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an indi- vidual than the use of the drug itself." ~Jimmy Carter
"From as early as 1912 the U.S. has tried to export its domestic drugs policy and forced other countries to emulate it even though it has been anything but a model of success." This could be one reason much of the world hates the U.S. as their crime rate and prison population also increase.
Suicide rates are higher among families which have a family member incarcer- ated, as are divorce rates.65 People imprisoned are twice as likely to be abusive after being released.66
Largely, through jury nullification, Prohibition was repealed, and the crimes asso- ciated with prohibition ceased. It is time to end the war on drugs. If a person is going to do drugs, experience has shown that they will regardless of the law, and some will be- cause of the laws against it. Why should the taxpayer reward them with free housing while struggling to pay the extra taxes required to do that? Consider the following:
By Elijah Green
"Words of the Founding Fathers" concerning jury nullification:
"Jurors should acquit, even against the judge's instruction...if exercising their judgment with discretion and honesty they have a clear conviction the charge of the court is wrong." ~Alexander Hamilton, 1804
"It is not only the juror's right, but his duty to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment and conscience, though in direct opposition to the instruc- tion of the court." ~John Adams, 1771
"I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a gov- ernment can be held to the principles of its constitution." ~Thomas Jefferson, 1789
If you are called for jury duty - know your rights and responsibilities. You can go to www.fija.org for more information. FIJA stands for Fully Informed Jury Association.
Costs of Incarceration:
But wait a minute! Is it actually free housing for the inmate? If the inmate is classed at above the poverty level, and the court has not exempted the inmate, the state can take from his assets the costs of incarceration (which ranges from $23 per day to $65 per day), the court costs, and the cost of prosecuting him until his assets are re- duced to the poverty level. Federal prisons only collect costs of incarceration68, which can be as much as $23,000 per year.
While incarcerated, an inmate is not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, but may be charged for his medical care.69
Liens against retirement income may be assessed70 and the state can take any inheritance71 he receives up to twenty years after being released. The fourteenth Amendment which prohibits the government from seizing property without due process of law doesn't really count in the eyes of the court. A prison having a policy of seizing the assets is considered "due process.” Prisons can even implement a retroactive poli- cy to make the inmate pay it. You're thinking to yourself, “No way! They can't do that, not in the United States!” But it is happening. Get on the computer and go right now to: http://www.aele.org/law/2008JBAPR/2008-4MLJ301.pdf
By Elijah Green
and read some of the case summaries where it has been done. Remember, Hitler fi- nanced much of his war machine with assets he seized from Jews.
While furloughs are supposed to be granted to non-violent inmates who are with- in two years of being released, they will not be granted if the inmate does not sign the financial responsibility form agreeing to pay for the costs of his incarceration. In addi- tion, the parole Commission will be notified of the inmate's "failure to participate". The inmate will not receive performance pay above the maintenance pay level, nor will the inmate be assigned to any work detail outside the secure perimeter of the facility. The inmate will not be allowed to work in UNICOR. (UNICOR is the prison industry for fed- eral prisoners. Each state has a prison industry for state inmates.) The list goes on and on.
If the inmate works at UNICOR, or one of the other prison industries, he/she can feel good that the OSHA (Occupational Safety Health Administration) rules, which com- panies are required to comply with to minimize the risk of injury to the employee, do not apply. If he/she is injured while working within the prison industries, around the prison facilities, or whatever job the prison finds for the inmate, since they are not considered employees of the state, they are not covered by workman's compensation. But if they were (rules in some states may), and they receive a compensation award for an injury, the state may take a large part of it to cover the costs of incarceration. This also applies if an inmate was injured prior to, or after, incarceration, any compensation award may be apprehended.
Regular gifts from family or friends to an inmate may also be seized.74 It is im- portant to note here that unless the judge waived the fine, or imposed a fine (which could be as low as $0) which included the cost of incarceration, assets may be taken from the inmate until he has been reduced to poverty level. If the inmate was convicted of crimes prior to November 1st , 1987 and is still in prison, he is referred to as an "Old Law Inmate" and the rules are slightly different. "An inmate held on the sole basis of his/her inability to pay such fine, or fine and costs, AND whose non-exempt property does not exceed $20 may request a discharge from imprisonment on the basis of indi- gence (see 18 U.S.C. § 3569)"75 He will not be classed at indigent level if he receives regular gifts from family or friends, which means they can take up to 85% of a regular gift. State laws vary on this. But, unless the inmate was wealthy prior to incarceration, he/she stands a large chance of leaving at poverty level. Could this be a plan to elimi- nate the middle class citizen? Vending machine prices in the visitor area are higher than machines elsewhere. Telephone rates are higher than elsewhere, and since the calls are often collect calls to family, it adds to the financial burden of family and friends of
By Elijah Green
inmates. "It is estimated that inmate calls generate a billion dollars or more in revenues each year." A "prison typically receives 30-40% of all telephone revenue" If an inmate calls home and the child picks up on the extension phone to also talk and listen to dad/mom, that's against the law. The inmate can be disciplined by having phone privi- leges taken away for several months and spending time in the Hole, S.H.U. (Special Housing Unit) isolation.
If the inmate received a federal or state felony conviction for possession, use or distribution of a controlled substance which the individual committed after August 22, 1996 he/she is ineligible for food stamps.78 So, not only do we reduce them to pov- erty, the government removes most of the assistance granted to help Americans in time of need.
Inmates at a halfway house are expected to be employed 40 hours per week within fifteen calendar days after their arrival. During their stay, they are required to pay a subsistence fee to help defray the cost of their confinement. This charge is 25% of their gross income, not to exceed the average daily cost of their placement into the halfway house.
How much does it cost to build a prison?
South Carolina's estimate of construction in 2006 dollars by facility type are: $100,000 per bed in a maximum security institution; $66,000 per bed in a high security facility; $62,500 per bed in medium security; and $34,896 per bed in a minimum security housing.
Results of Incarceration : The right to vote is lost in several states for convicted felons. The right to bear arms is also lost. Why should the non-violent lose this? Thir- teen states permanently disenfranchise felons so that they may no longer vote.81 The Supreme Court made it harder, if not impossible, for federal courts to restore gun rights to felons who have served their time.82 That does not mean that the state cannot re- store this right. The primary objective in the mass incarceration of Americans could be this very issue of taking away the right to have guns.
Reinstatement of the right to vote in Florida used to require an application to the Governor and could take years and still not get approved. Even now, restoration of civil rights can take fifteen years in Florida. During this time, the ex-felon cannot get many types of business licenses. That list includes: dealer's license for motor vehicles; wrecker operator; law enforcement officer, private investigator; pest control operator; many of the medical field licenses, such as nurse, therapist, paramedic, etc.; mortgage
By Elijah Green
broker; title loan lender; retail installment seller; fire equipment dealer; electrical contrac- tor, construction contractor; and numerous other licenses. So, not only can the state re- duce the ex-felon to poverty with the incarceration fee, they can limit their opportunity to rise out of poverty. Add to this problem, many businesses and most government em- ployers will not hire an ex-felon. Many businesses are reluctant to hire an ex-felon, but most states offer a tax incentive to employ an ex-felon. The federal government also offers a tax break, but usually conditions the tax incentive on the former inmate being at or below poverty level. If he owns property, there is no reason to help him till he loses it and distances himself from the middle class.
What can the female inmate expect while incarcerated and when she leaves, in addition to the possibility of the "cost of incarceration fee"? If she is married and incar- cerated for one year or more, she can expect to leave divorced. The divorce rate, male & female, for inmates incarcerated a year or more is 85%.84 She stands a strong chance of being sexually abused.
For officers in the Federal Prison system, sexual abuse is only a misdemean- or.85 If she is at a private prison, sexual abuse is not against the law because the courts do not, under court definition, consider a private prison or halfway house to actu- ally be a prison. "Consequently, staff at contractor-owned and operated detention fa- cilities who sexually abuse federal inmates cannot be prosecuted under federal law." If she is at a state prison, the guards will likely only receive a suspended sentence. If she reports sexual abuse and cannot prove it, she could face another year of incarceration for filing a false accusation. Intimidation and fear also prevent her from reporting. Guards sometimes trade contraband for sex.
"They also are accused of threatening to plant contraband in inmates' belongings or have them transferred to other prisons farther from their families if they talked, the FBI said." She also is at perhaps a greater than 50% chance of leaving with an infec- tious disease. Since the law won't protect her from the staff officers, she can expect even less protection from other inmates. Why are male guards even allowed into a women's prison????? Or vice-versa? In a recent study, "female inmates had higher rates of mental health problems than their male counterparts — 61 percent of females and 44 percent of males in federal prisons; 73 percent of females and 55 percent of males in state prisons; 75 percent of females and 63 percent of males in local jails."
"Studies have linked double-bunking and prison overcrowding with higher rates of stress-induced mental disorders, higher rates of aggression, and higher rates of vio-
By Elijah Green
lence." What can the male inmate expect while incarcerated and when he leaves? As mentioned above, if married and incarcerated for one year or more, the divorce rate is
85%. Men are not exempt from sexual abuse. "Prison staff have laughed at and ig- nored the pleas of male prisoners seeking protection from rape by other inmates."
In July, 2003, Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 to study the problem of prison rape. A commission of 9 members were appointed (3 appointed by the President) and their report was due within three years of passage. In July, 2006, this commission reported to congress. "It is currently anticipated that the Commission’s final report will be submitted to the Congress in July, 2007." However, as of July 31, 2008, the final report has not been posted on the commission's website. Let's see, fin- ish the job means no more traveling the country, expenses paid with per diem.94 Con- gress passing a law, or the attorney general mandating guidelines (which would then only affect federal prisons), based on this study, to help solve the problem of prison rape can wait until the commissioners finish touring the country.
The PREA of 2003 has helped some already in that grant money was also tied to the act, offering money to states which take some action to try to reduce prison rape. However, such an offer is unconstitutional, yet has become a normal method of opera- tion for the U.S. Government. The Federal Government taxes citizens at a rate higher than necessary, then offers some of the excess tax in the form of "grants" to states which do something that Uncle Sam wants. Thereby, they are using this "grant money" to manipulate state laws and state rights. When the Prison Rape Elimination guidelines are finally issued, they will only apply to Federal Prisons once adopted, and it will be up to the states if they want to adopt these guidelines to get grant money. Each state needs to go ahead and remedy the problem within their prisons and jails and refuse the grant money. In addition, the representatives of each state should work to stop the "revenue sharing" started during the Nixon years, voting no to every piece of legislation which includes grant money.
Men and women are at a high risk of leaving prison with an infectious disease. Of inmates released from prison and jail in 1996: 1.3 - 1.4 million were infected with Hepatitis C; 98,000 - 145,000 with HIV; 39,000 with AIDS; 566,000 with Tuberculosis, Latent, while 12,000 had active TB at some point in 1996.95
Few, if any, prisons have prompt, adequate medical or dental care for inmates. Inmates with diabetes are usually limited to twice per day testing of their sugar level. This can pose a serious health risk. There is mounting evidence for vitamin D's role in preventing common cancers, autoimmune diseases, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, and
By Elijah Green
osteoporosis. The body makes vitamin D when exposed to direct sunlight. Aging skin requires more sun exposure. Yet, to their own peril, many inmates, especially those in
the Special Housing units, do not get to see the sun, while guards make fun of their pale complexion.
Thousands of severely ill inmates are released from the Nation's prisons and jails each year. Helping them find ways to pay for medical and mental health and living ex- penses is thought to be a crucial part of ensuring their successful return to the commu- nity. Some of these released inmates may be eligible for disability benefits availa- ble through Federal entitlement programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Medicaid, Medicare, and Veterans Pension or compensation funds."Applying for these benefits prior to release could make this assistance available immediately upon release.
In 1829, it was believed that isolating a prisoner with only a Bible and stone walls would result in the prisoner using the time to repent, pray, and find introspection, hence the name 'penitentiary'. This first experiment of solitary confinement in the United States began in Philadelphia. The practice of isolation was slowly abandoned during the following decades as many of the inmates went insane, committed suicide, or were no longer able to function in society. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Freeman Miller, in 1890, finds, "A considerable number of the prisoners fell, after even a short confine- ment, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to arouse them, and others became violently insane; others still, committed suicide; while those who stood the ordeal better were not generally reformed, and in most cases did not re- cover sufficient mental activity to be of any subsequent service to the community."
That finding being known, the question is: why has this country returned to using solitary confinement? Most prisons now have a portion of their prison dedicated to this practice, and some practice this exclusively. Because of overcrowding, there has been pressure to use the empty beds at super-max and maximum security prisons to house non-violent inmates. Of course, the prisons don't mind, more prisoners equal’s more money.
By Elijah Green
"Let the children who are sent to those schools be taught to read and write...(and) above all, let both sexes be carefully instructed in the princi- ples and obligations of the Christian religion. This is the most essential part of education. The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opin- ion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools..... The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty." Benjamin Rush wrote this when he proposed his plan for public education in America on March 28, 1787. He also wrote, "By removing the Bible from schools we would be wast- ing so much time and money in punishing criminals and so little pains to prevent crime. Take the Bible out of our schools and there would be an explosion in crime." ~Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declara-
tion of Independence.
Things you can do to help:
• Remember the scripture: "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Therefore, be cautious how you judge another. (Matthew 7:1)
• Educate your friends about jury nullification. Take time to read the Constitution and op- pose those laws which infringe on the rights of Americans.
By Elijah Green
• Find ways to help an inmate's family. Angle Tree ministry is one way to get involved helping the children of inmates.
By Elijah Green
Quote from a female pen-pal of mine: "I'm not sure how it is in a man's prison - but at Metro, it's degrading. They'll run up in your face calling you names. They'll jump on you & beat the **** out of you. I only weigh 109 pounds so for real, what can I do, right? If you don't have a detail, you're locked in the building all day unless you go to chow. We might get yard call at night for 30 minutes. We went to the gym last night for 10 minutes."
Your mail could be the highlight of an inmate's day and will most likely get read several times. Will you take time to write? There are numerous websites for pen pals with inmates and you should check out several. However, www.writeaprisoner.com is perhaps the most organized site, with ideas for fun activities to include in your letters, ways to reduce recidivism, and other links.
Should you desire to give a financial gift to the prisoner's account, you should check with the prison or jail for their rules concerning adding funds to an inmates ac- count as these rules differ in most states. In South Dakota, for example, an inmate is allowed to spend $35 per week, must maintain $100 in a frozen account unless he is indigent or serving a life or death sentence, and "may not accumulate more than $250.00 in the savings account..... After all Disbursement Account obligations have been met, any additional monies, regardless of the source, above the $350.00 ($100.00 minimum frozen account balance plus $250.00 in savings) will stay in the inmate's fro- zen account until their release from custody." In other words, 100% of the funds may go to the inmates Disbursement Account.
But, consider this: the maintenance fee that the prison pays the inmate to buy things such as stamps and envelopes, shoes, or other items from the commissary is about $5.25 per month. You could/should check with the prison staff or chaplain to find out which inmates actually need financial help. Family of inmates are not allowed to give to another inmate's account. That is considered contraband, and the state can take 100%. In Georgia, inmates may only receive funds from family members or from friends on their visitation list. Many of the prisons also state that inmates may not receive funds from another inmate's friends, but with the incarceration rate of better than more than one in one hundred, almost everyone would know more than one inmate. www.jpay.com is a site which can make it convenient for a fee to add funds to an in- mate's account. It appears that they provide this service in 21 states.
By Elijah Green
Everyone needs to know of the love of God, including prisoners. The best way to share that with them is to experience it for yourself. You can send a gospel tract, but if you send more than one at a time it will often just be thrown away by the mail room. Hardback books are only allowed to be received from the publisher, and not from an in- dividual. Even when you comply with the rules, the mail room often rejects religious lit- erature as contraband. Stamps and money may not be mailed to an inmate. An at- tempt to send other forms of contraband could lead to your own incarceration.
Emmaus Correspondence School offers an excellent Bible course free to in- mates. Inmates may write to: Al Stoltz, ECS Ministries, P.O. Box 1028, Dubuque, Iowa 52004-1028 to enroll in the course. Many have come to know the Lord Jesus through this course. Be a friend and encourage your inmate friends to sign up for the course.
Super-max Subscriptions started a program where you could trade your air miles for a gift subscription to a magazine. They had sent a mailing to every man incarcer- ated at Tamms C-Max asking if they would like to receive magazine subscriptions. "Tamms C-Max is a no contact, permanent solitary confinement prison in Southern Illi- nois." Many of the inmates have been there for years with no communal activity, no phone calls, no programs, no education, no work, no librarian, and almost no reading. Many inmates responded and are still responding to this.
By emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org you can tell how many award miles you would like to donate. The minimum number for the least expensive subscrip- tion is 400 miles. They will then send you the name, inmate number and address of a prisoner(s), along with his/their subscription requests. "You can then log in to your award miles account, find the page that lets you give a gift subscription, fill in the pris- oner's information and send them the magazine(s) they've requested. Note the prison- er will not see your personal information or even who gave them the subscription unless you send them a postal letter."102
With over 2.3 million inmates, and 5000 prisons and jails, you could possibly start a similar program at a different institution. Or you could get involved with a prison min- istry. Do something to make a difference!
Should a pen pal correspondence develop into a more serious relationship, under- stand that, statistically speaking, ex-inmates are more prone to be abusive. Therefore, pre-marital counseling would definitely be in order if the relationship goes that far. Also,
By Elijah Green
the state can take from his assets for up to twenty years after being released. Oops! The Eighth Amendment is also void in the eyes of the court, as is the Fourteenth Amendment. The other amendments to the Constitution are being infringed upon with more restrictive laws in line with Karl Marx's dream of world communism. Many of the inmates in federal prison are there as a result of the government violating Article III of the Constitution.
The following is from the S.C. Republican Party Platform: "The Constitution of the United States, which established a democratic republic, provided very specific and lim- ited powers to the new government. Only those powers and duties specifically enu- merated within the Constitution of the United States were granted by the States and the
people, to the national government. Despite this specific limiting language of the Con- stitution, the Founding Fathers quickly recognized the need for further restrictive claus- es. As a result, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, were adopted. Included among these was the Tenth Amendment, which directly and articu- lately states, 'The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.'" Most Republican politicians should be ashamed because of their failure to defend this party platform position vehemently!!! It won't be long before there is no right to bear arms, no freedom of speech, and no right to vote unless good people take action. Thomas Jefferson stated, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take away everything you have."
Other ideas for involvement and helping:
• Many families cannot afford to visit. Maybe your church or group could make this a ministry outreach. If there is a prison near you, consider a "mission" house to allow families to save hotel costs.
By Elijah Green
• Restore all of the rights of ex-felons. When their sentence is served, their punish- ment should end.
• Prohibit all lawmakers, law enforcement, judges, and their spouses from owning stock in prison or prison industries, or from profiting in any way from prisoners.
• Eliminate gun enhancement laws. Thousands of inmates have a 3-5 year extension to their sentence for a gun they lawfully owned, but was not used in any crime. (The gun was simply in the house or car.) Their enhancement portion of their sentence should be removed immediately.
• Make stiff penalties for police or prosecutors who lie on the witness stand, plant evi- dence, or bribe witnesses in any way, even promising "time off" for testifying.
• Legalize the possession and use of drugs, and release those inmates held solely for that charge. Provide restrictions on the sale and manufacture of drugs equal to that of alcohol and tobacco, which is to persons age 21 and older.
• Make all Federal courts stay within the guidelines of Article III of the U.S. Constitu- tion.
• Require all prisoners to be housed within 100 miles of where they were tried. This would place the majority of inmates within reasonable visiting distance of their family. The idea that a prisoner can be shipped over a thousand miles, yet claim the prison pol- icy encourages family visitation to promote the inmate's mental health is absurd!
By Elijah Green
• Write your representatives to make the telephone providers reduce their rates to prisons.
• Provide better visiting areas, with activities for the children, i.e. playground, toys, games, books.
• Encourage your representatives to seek alternatives to incarceration. Provide your suggestions. Remember, in God's perfect laws, which man still could not keep, no pro- vision was made for incarceration. The punishment was to kill, whip, or fine the offend- er.
• Whereas the right to a speedy trial is constantly ignored, require that, from the time of being charged, the prosecution has a maximum of 90 days to bring the case to trial
with the only delays allowed to be those requested by the defense attorneys. Also, re- quire that 72 hours be the maximum a person can be detained without being charged.
• Stop the incarceration fee immediately. The goal should be to "rehabilitate" the of- fender, not bring him/her down to poverty along with their family.
By Elijah Green
3. Other countries, Norway, Japan, Britain, Germany, Australia, Ireland, etc. have much lower incarceration rates and lower crime rates. Why?
4. www.t heatlantic.com/ doc/199812/ prisons/ 9
5 . Approximately five thousand prisons and jails: www.talkleft .com/story/ 2007/ 10/ 4/ 2344/99603
11. www.en.wikipedi a.org/wiki /treadwheel 12 . www.wallbuilderslive.com
By Elijah Green
14 First Chief Justice of the US - John Jay:
15. "Under section 846, any person who attempt s or conspires to commit any drug of- fense will be punished in t he same manner as if he had actually committed the offense. US Attorneys are obligated to bring charges on "the most serious offense that is con- sistent with the nature of t he defendant's conduct , and that is likely t o result in a sus- tainable convict ion." also: www.newworldencyclopdia.org/ entry/conspiracy
16 .Regional Resource, The Council of State Government, article: Correctional Good- Time Credits in Southern States, May 2001, page 11,by Todd Edwards
17. Regional Resource, The Council of State Government, article: Correctional Good-Time Credits in Southern States, May 2001, page 4, by Todd Edwards
18. www.pewtrust.org/en/topics/state -policy 19. www.theatlantic.com/doc/199812/prisons 20. www.prisonpolicy.org/research.html,
21. Speech by the Pope on April 16, 2008 Reasonable Doubt s: The Criminal Justice System and the O.J. Simpson Case by Al an M. Dershowit z, © 1996, pages 52-63 (Psalms 19: 7)
2 2.www .theatlantic .com/magazine/archive / 1998 /12/ t h e-prison- industrial - com- plex / 304669 /
2 4. www.marriage.about .com/od/ prisonmarriage/ Prison_Marriage.htm
25.18 USC § 2243 & 2244
26. www.prisonlegalnews.org/19607_displayArticle.as px
28 h t t p : / / b o s t o n r e v i e w . n e t / l o u r y - w h y - a r e - s o - m a n y - a m e r i ca n s - i n - pr i s o n
By Elijah Green
31. Lawmakers want to reduce costs of three meals from $2.67 to $2.30, a 14% re- duction www.palmbeachpost.com/state/content/state/epaper/2008/03/29/a20a_xgr_prisons_032 9.html
People Ex. Rel. Director of Corrections v. Ruckman, No. 5-05-0132, 843 N.E.2d 882 (III App. 5th Dist. 2006); Federal Bureau of Prisons Program Statement PS5380.08, pages 11-13 F ederal Bureau of Pri sons Program S t at ement 5882.03
40. www.theatlantic.com/doc/199812/prisons/3, pg.3
41 . www.wrongfuldeathinstitute.com/links/prisonstats.htm
48 . www.hrw.org/English/docs/2004/05/14/usdom8583.htm 49 . www.wrongfuldeathinstitute.com/links/prisonstats.htm
marriage.about.com/od/prisonmarriage/Prison_Marriage.htm www.usdoj.gov/oig/special/0504/final.pdf & 18 USC § 2243 & 2244 www.amnestyusa.org/women/custody/states/southcarolina.pdf
By Elijah Green