Friday, February 8, 2013

Weapons of Mass Incarceration


Only in America do we spend $40,000 a year to incarcerate each prison inmate, and only $8,000 a year to educate each elementary school student.

While the monetary figures vary from state to state, with some states spending more per year on school children, and other states spending even more than $40,000 per year on inmate, this is an important issue that American lawmakers and the American public need to tackle.

At the Law Offices of Raymond G. Wigell, Ltd., several of the clients we represent are currently in custody, awaiting trial. These are clients for whom the bond - of which they must post 10% in order to walk free - is far too high, so they must remain in the custody of the Department of Corrections until trial or until their loved ones can come up with the money.

Not every family can access the tens of thousands of dollars often needed to secure a loved one's freedom (conditional on the eventual verdict in the case), which is a source of much frustration and devastation. Prison is not a nice place, and especially not in the Cook County jail system. I use prison and jail synonymously, even though there is a distinction. Jail refers to the institution in which people are held after arrest, and in anticipation of trial. Prison is the institution to which people are sent after a judge has sentenced them to a serve a certain amount of time for which they have already been convicted.

Many of the people in jail, awaiting trial, do not belong there and should not have been charged. And many people in prison should not be there for as long as they have to be. Abuse of police power and prosecutorial discretion, as well as disparity in sentencing, all contribute to the soaring numbers of people behind bars.

And the more people behind bars, the greater the financial and social cost to the country.

In the coming weeks, we at the blog for the Law Offices of Raymond G. Wigell, Ltd., will be publishing a series of posts looking at incarceration, sentencing, for-profit prisons, and the impact of all of these on society. These are issues we care about deeply, and which we fight against every day. We hope you'll come back soon and stay informed.

As always, if you or a loved one is the subject of a criminal investigation or is being charged, it's very likely that the main goal is to stay out of prison. That is what we at the Law Offices of Raymond G. Wigell, Ltd., fight for. Contact us at (708) 481 - 4800, and let us help you in your time of need. Attorneys are available 24/7, and the first consultation is always free.

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