Donations From Inmates

In Texas, inmates got together and donated almost $54,000 towards the relief of hurricane Harvey. That is not the first time. After Katrina and Rita inmates collected $44,000. What makes these donations truly laudable is that they come from the trust funds of the inmates, money used for them to buy snacks or things they may otherwise not have.  In about one month 6,663 inmates donated $53,863, all the more impressive since most of the inmates had $5 or less in their account.  It may sound commendable when a celebrity donates millions, but these donations seen as a percentage of total assets stand out far more. These are small donations, and in some instances the larger ones the person emptied their savings accounts. In California, inmates are fighting the fires right alongside regular fireman and as a group comprise something like 15% of the firemen. And often inmates volunteer to test drugs, even when the side effects may be suspected to be dangerous. “lifers” have been known to say that this gave their lives some meaning. These are all people our society has labeled criminals and therefore assumes they are substandard, sub normal and do not deserve the same respect and consideration as those who we say are not criminals. And yet corporate executives who make anti-environment decisions, something increasingly legal in this administration, engage in what may be far more criminal behavior because their actions hurt far more people than the actions of those who have officially been found guilty.   Let’s hope the inmates’ donations and volunteer work challenges our labels, stereotypes and erroneous notions.  Hopefully it can and will also work towards helping us understand that people are more than their worst deeds.

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