A man walks into a bank;
goes up to a teller;
and hands her a note:
“This is a bank robbery please give me one dollar.”
He takes the dollar and quietly waits in a corner;
until the police come to arrest him.
This is not a joke. James Verone suffering from a combination bad back, arthritis and a dodgy foot was in need in medical attention. However, being unemployed he had no health insurance and his home state North Carolina has no facilities to provide medical attention to unemployed people. However, North Carolina by law must provide medical attention to everyone in jail. And so on 9 June 1911, Mr Verone set in motion his nefarious plan to go to jail in order to receive the care he required.
I think Mr. Verone may have started a new trend. In the United States, it cost more money to send a person jail than to Harvard College. Given the rising costs of college education coupled with the falling employment opportunities for recent college graduates, going to jail may now be more viable than going to college.
You commit your crime. You are arrested. You are found guilty; and you ordered to pay the price to society.
Ø Free room and board
Ø Free medical care
Ø Free university education (part of your rehabilitation)
Ø Possible advance on your new book
Four years later you leave prison a reformed individual, never to return (unless of course you later want an advanced degree). You are ready to meet the world with a clean slate, compared to your less inventive friends who now owe $100,000 in student loans.
This new trend will bring many changes, some more difficult than others
Banks will be forced to expand their facilities from two present lines — deposits and withdrawals — adding a third line — robbery. This in turn will require additional security staff to avoid serious problems: “Hey guys, no pushing or shoving. Just wait your turn. I promise, everybody will able to rob the bank regardless of race, creed or color. We at First National pride ourselves as being equal opportunity victims.”
The legal system will have to change reversing the role of prosecutor and defense attorney. I can envisage situations where the prosecuting attorney will demand a sentence of four years, at which point the defense attorney will rise to object on the grounds of excessive hardship to his client, stating: “Your honor, four years is too short a time for my client to complete his studies for his doctorate degree. My client is entitled to nothing less than six years with a guarantee of no possibility of parole.”
The police will have to begin to deal with new exotic forms of illegal activity, as people will fraudulently claim to have committed various crimes in which they played no role whatsoever.
To avoid going bankrupt, governments will have to pass new laws, possibly decriminalizing bank robbery. One suggestion might be a variation of the California law Three Strikes and You are Out, in which after three convictions recidivists will debarred from prison for life.
Unless government acts now to solve this problem, I foresee a time when prison break-ins will become endemic as people rush to take advantage of life on the inside.