Free Michael Vick!

Michael Vick should not have been thrown in jail for his involvement in dog-fighting, though he should still be punished. How will imprisonment help Vick improve as a human being? Unless he decides to immerse himself in educational books for his 23 months of incarceration, it’s likely that he’s not going to come out of jail a better person. Rather, he’d simply regret having been caught.

Instead of incarcerating Vick, he should have been forced to do quite a bit of community service, make sizable donations to pro-animal organizations (like PETA), and to do some anti-animal cruelty advertisements. That would probably make Vick a better human being, wouldn’t it?

Let’s throw only the most heinous of criminals in jail — murderers and rapists, for instance — and rehabilitate the others. Peaceful drug offenders don’t belong in jail. Neither do alcohol abusers (don’t put them in AA!) and illegal immigrants.

You’ve heard it before: prisons are overcrowded. Let’s stop throwing people who pose no threat to society in jail, wasting now-precious taxpayer dollars. Instead of locking up people only to have them become increasingly more bitter and angry at the system, allow them their continued freedom as long as they’re making positive steps towards retribution to those they’ve wronged.

What Michael Vick and his cohorts did to those dogs was completely wrong and inhumane, but is it not inhumane to give up on someone for nearly two years, to throw them in an overcrowded prison with low-grade food, tainted water, unsanitary living conditions, and to put them in the presence and influence of many other criminals, some of which have diseases (like Hepatitis C, which 20-40% of the U.S. prison population is estimated to have)?

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6 comments

  1. Jim Murphy

    December 11, 2007 08:36 PM

    Though I completely disagree and am only sorry that Vick isn’t spending *more* time in jail for his dogfighting involvement, our judgment about whether he should or shouldn’t be doing time is irrelevant. The fact of the matter is that the applicable laws he broke stipulate a prison sentence. He very likely *knew* that he was breaking any number of laws (or at least he should) and, at very least, should have known that his endorsement income would be out the window should his involvement become public.

    I agree completely that peaceful drug offenders, illegal immigrants, etc don’t belong in jail, but those who abuse animals in such a ritualistic, depraved fashion do. If we quit throwing garden variety potheads in jail there would be plenty of room for lowlifes like Vick and his cohorts. There’s plenty of research that suggests that violence against animals is predictive of violence against humans, and that fact alone justifies that abuse of animals be taken seriously.

    Additionally, its important to keep in mind that not only fringe organizations like PETA have been very vocal against Vick/dogfighting. The Humane Society of the United States and any number of others have expressed their justifiable outrage.

    Bottom line–the rehabilitive function is only part of the purpose of the punative aspect of the criminal justice system. There’s several others, including deterring others and punishing the guilty. Had Vick gotten off by scratching out a few checks and doing a few PSA’s he would have thought he’d gotten over and my guess is that he’d still be involved in the “sport” of dogfighting. The way it worked out you can be damn sure he understands the implications of breaking the law and, hopefully, it will deter others from doing the same. If a rich, famous guy like Vick ends up in the “grey bar motel” it should send a clear message to the garden variety degenerates involved in dogfighting.

    At the very least, he’s learned that karma is a bitch….

  2. John Brattain

    December 15, 2007 03:43 PM

    “Instead of locking up people only to have them become increasingly more bitter and angry at the system, allow them their continued freedom as long as they’re making positive steps towards retribution to those they’ve wronged.”

    Bill:

    I somewhat agree with where you are coming from here. I do feel the judicial system is fatally flawed. The question is–where do you draw the line regarding who is to be incarcerated and who is not? I think a good demarcation point is differentiating between those who pose a threat to others and those who pose a threat only to themselves.

    Of course, even then it’s a tough line to draw. A substance abuser harms only himself. A substance abuser who drinks and drives or steals to support his habit is a different matter. Referencing another post “Who Really Is to Blame for the Drug Issues in Sports,” while its true, the war on drugs has been counterproductive the problem remains that even if these things were legal and easily accessible they still cost money. If a person cannot afford to indulge these habits then he is faced with the same dilemma and will have to resort to crime to obtain these things.

    Sadly, we see this even with legal drugs. How many times is a convenience store/gas station robbed and we hear/read that the thieves stole cash and cigarettes?

    I honestly have no idea of how to balance these concerns.

    Regarding Vick–his actions were cruel and inhumane. How does one perform restitution for this act if he is freed? Education, public service, volunteer work etc. is a fine idea. What happens if a person in a program such as this decides he no longer wishes to participate? What if there is recidivism? Do you simply re-enter them into education, public service, volunteer system and hope for the best?

    Sadly, we have to deal with those who are simply incorrigible–they like being tough, thugs, have street cred, being ‘gangstas’ and have no desire to change. What do we do in such a scenario?

    I wish I had answers but I don’t think there is one.

    Anyway, sorry I haven’t had a chance to reply to your posts both here and on TPoSGD–I’ve been bogged down with the Mitchell Report and personal issues. Regardless, your ideas and responses have been very thought provoking and enjoyable. I agreed whole-heartedly with your ‘Dumpster-Diving’ article. Why Gillick isn’t all over Mark Prior like STD on Paris Hilton or cellulite on Britney Spears I’ll never know.

    Keep throwin’ the hard stuff my friend.

    Best Regards

    John

  3. tim

    December 18, 2007 05:44 PM

    I didn’t hear any dogs complaining…..
    Dogs don’t have rights. They’re just dogs.
    I’ll worry about a low life dog when all people are given rights/care/justice etc.

  4. Marc

    January 28, 2008 02:06 PM

    In an ideal world, prison would be an instrument of both punishment and rehabilitation. I doubt we will ever have the resources to identify and proactively rehabilitate all current and potential law-breakers. Hence, prison will have to serve as a deterrent for even non-violent offenders for the time being. We can’t wait until a innocent victim (i.e. pitbull, tax payers footing immigration costs, etc…)is violated before taking action.

  5. For the Pits

    October 21, 2009 04:06 AM

    Michael Vick is a sad excuse of a human being who will eventually get what he has coming to him. Anyone who thinks it is fun to fight, torture & kill innocent and defenseless dogs is an ideal candidate for a little something called Hammarabi’s Law. He shot, hung, electrocuted, drowned, and even picked up a few dogs and slammed their heads into the ground breaking their necks. There’s a special place for all the Vicks out there commonly referred to as hell. And for those of you who feel Sick Vick did nothing wrong, I suggest you re-evaluate your values and take a good look at yourself, cuz you’re not worth much more than he is.

  6. Martin

    October 21, 2009 04:10 AM

    Tim, you can go suck an egg…you compassionless asshole! I can see how you were raised…

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