Tuesday, March 23, 2010


In one of my previous lives, (and no, I don’t mean reincarnation) I worked in a number of prison systems. (And you’d be amazed at how eclectic that was.) And among the many things I wondered about, one of the more silly things I found was the question almost every parole board asked of almost every prisoner up for possible parole.

“Do you feel you have been rehabilitated?”

You’re reading the files of rapists, muggers, killers, burglars, stalkers, ad infinitum, and the best question you can come up with is, do you feel you’ve been rehabilitated?

And I wondered if they ever got any answers like:

“Well Mr. Parole Man, I’m a mean, unrepentant reprobate and if I ever get out of this prison, I’m going to go right out, buy the biggest sledge hammer I can find and commit numerous and heinous acts of vandalism.”

“Rehabittle-bable-liberal-tated? Hell, I can’t even spell the word, so no, I guess not. Can I go back to my cell now?”

“I’m glad you asked that. If you will quickly visit my web site Cut_Me_Loose_Today_Or_I’ll_Cut_You_Up_Tomorrow.com you will find a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the twenty top reasons why I believe I’m rehabilitated.”

“Well golly gee willickers of course I do. Yes, I know I cold-bloodedly murdered and hacked to pieces a baker’s dozen of victims, but I’ve since learned in my years of therapy and group counseling that that is not a constructive way to deal with my issues of people with zits.”

Or maybe the response would be a loud, maniacal laugh that would reverberate down the granite hallways and out into the countryside until the milk curdled inside that cow a mile and a half down the road.

I can think of a number of good ways to determine if someone is likely rehabilitated, but asking a prisoner something like that is no where on the list.

What a silly question.

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