26 September 2011

Pray Away The Crime

Do the crime, do the time? Not always. The town of Bay Minette, Alabama has a new way of dealing with criminals: go to jail or go to church. This seems innoucous, but I see it as another step toward theocracy. Bay Minette is worried about the cost of jailing criminals. Putting people in jail is expensive (the reported average inmate cost was $79 per day, or nearly $29,000 per year in 2009) but that is what legal reform addresses. More than half of people in jail are non-violent offenders, mostly from drug charges. Adopt a sane policy for drug use -- not Ron Paul's; though, come to think of it, why not?-- and, voila, your prison population drops. 

But it is a dangerous precedent to use churches as an alternative to jails, and is probably unconstitutional. Bay Minette says it is constitutional because the offender is allowed to choose which church to attend. 

Bay Minette has no synagogues, no mosques, no mormon temples, but if you are christian criminal (no offense to mormons, but most christians don't consider the Church of Latter Day Saints to be christian), you have many choices. Not just Southern Baptist, no, there are Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal, and other Protestant churches to choose. 

there is a pattern here: if you can pray away the gay, you can pray away the crime. Maybe that works in lala land.     

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