What Rational Purpose?

I come here today to ask you a question: What possible rational public benefit can be derived from requiring that an 8-year-old child be deprived of food, shelter or an education? For that matter, what benefit can be derived from doing that to any person?

You may say that we do not do that in this country. But we do. I have been informed that “this is part of the price that is paid for committing” certain crimes.

But what crime can be so heinous that it requires that someone either starve to death or commit another crime, such as prostitution or theft or illegal drug sales, in order to survive? If someone has committed such a crime, won’t they be locked up in prison for the remainder of their lives?

Let me tell you about some crimes in this category.

Public urination. This includes urination in the woods. In at least 13 states, this will get you placed on the sex offender registry.

Swatting a child on the buttocks while he/she is fully clothed.

The purchase of a certain coffee table book in a legitimate (not adult) bookstore, removing it from the country and then bringing it back. This is now considered transporting child pornography into the United States.

Engaging an adult prostitute.

Playing doctor.

Taking a picture of yourself in a suggestive pose, if you are under 18. Or receiving said picture, even if you did not want it.

Skinny-dipping in your own pool, in a fenced-in back yard in the middle of the night.

Grabbing a child by the arm to keep said child from darting out into the street in front of a moving vehicle. This is called restraint of a child.

Locking a 17-year-old in her own bedroom by herself for 15 minutes while you cool down from an argument with her. Again, this is called restraint of a child.

For these crimes, and many more, you can be denied SNAP benefits (food stamps), public housing, or admittance to a shelter during freezing weather, tornadoes, hurricanes or other disasters.
What rational public benefit does this serve?

It does not rehabilitate the criminal. It does not reintegrate the criminal into the community. It does not encourage productive things.

This is continuing retribution, long after the debt has been paid. This encourages further crime. This swells the ranks of the imprisoned by forcing criminal enterprise. This tears families apart, for what mother with a child of 8, 10, 16 would refuse the child food just because he can’t be considered for food stamps? What father would stay with his family if it became necessary to apply for food stamps, knowing that his presence will reduce the amount of food stamps they will get?

What rational purpose does this serve?

I say, none.


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