Friday, July 02, 2010

Housing tax credits support landlords that discriminate against ex-inmates

State Rep. Harold Dutton relayed the story on Wednesday of an 80 year old man in his district who had committed a violent offense 50 years ago and was recently released after a long sentence. Now, as an elderly person, the fellow can't find housing because of his prior conviction. "I don't know if they think he's going to play loud music or throw big parties," said Dutton, but the man couldn't find a private apartment complex that would rent to him.

The House Corrections Committee heard related testimony that the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs does not prevent discrimination against felons by entities receiving affordable housing tax credits, and doesn't even track the issue. All their programs are strictly income based, said Kate Moore from TDHCA. What's more, there are 400 local public housing authorities with no uniform standards or screening for criminal backgrounds among them. Nationally, said Moore, one in five ex-inmates becomes homeless at some point following their release, often crashing with friends and family.

Committee members questioned whether tax-credit recipients could/should be required by agency rule or statute to rent to ex-offenders, and I wouldn't be surprised to see legislation along those lines filed in the 82nd session.


Anonymous said...

And I wouldn't be surprised to see a bill that incredibly ridiculous fail to make it out of committee.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I've heard that before, amigo. There's never been a horse that can't be rode, never been a cowboy can't be throwed.

PirateFriedman said...

Was hoping there would be a link to the article. Sounds like another reason to not be violent, people may not want to associate with you.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Pirate, are you under the impression that every felon is "violent," or that desperate, homeless criminals are less likely to victimize others? Also, folks can choose to associate with whomever they want, but if they choose to seek government subsidies they subject themselves to the government's stipulations.

No link to an article because I was reporting based on my own notes, BTW.

Anonymous said...

If Harold Dutton files it, such a bill stands about as good a chance as the proverbial snowball in Hell of becoming law. I cannot imagine the Texas Legislature ever passing legislation (or Rick Perry signing such) which required any landlord to rent to convicted felons. For that matter, how would you feel if you were living in subsidized housing--maybe trying to raise your children there--and you learned that the government was going to force your landlord to rent to ex-cons? What a completely and utterly stupid idea!

PirateFriedman said...

Grits if this is a true tax credit, then it is not a subsidy but a reduction in the government's aggression against the property owner. The property owner does not lose his right to associate just because he manages to avoid victimization by the state.

The inmate described in the article was said to have committed a violent offense. Never said all felons were violent.

Prison Doc said...

They don't even have to be 80...most middle aged cons want to be housed as far from the gang bangers and young guys as possible.

I'd love to see such stipulations placed on all recipients of government aid...not just in housing. Same should apply to use of unrelated background checks in employment. The number of barriers set up for felons who've done their time is unbelievably overwhelming.

--Prison Doc

Anonymous said...

Don't have sex with your underage girlfriend, do prison time and then get out to look for a place to live. It is against the law for anyone required to register to receive any housing assistance. Federal law prohibits anyone on the registry to recieve housing assistance and the public housing authorities comply with this federal law. Oh and they don't qualify for any government loans to purchase a house either.

Anonymous said...

Anons, have any of you ever made a mistake? Any of you ever write on a bathroom wall when you were in school? Any of you ever haze anyone at the old frat house? Any of you ever tell a little lie about income or assets when you were applying for a loan? Ever use a fake ID to get in a bar when you were young and stupid? Ever dump a pile of building material and leave it in your own back yard? Ever pour any motor oil down a drain? Those are just a few of the acts that can leave you with a criminal record, some of which are a felony. You seem to assume that all felons are bad, dangerous people. They aren't, yet they are lumped together once they have a record. You can sit there and say well, just don't disobey the law and you won't have any problems, but I'll bet not a single one of you can get through a day without breaking a law, because there are so many laws and so few people know what they are. The phrase "ignorance of the law is no excuse" was coined in the days when breaking the law meant committing a malum in se offense, which is an act that is evil in and of itself, like murder, rape, robbery, theft, etc. No one had to be told that those acts were illegal, everyone knew it from an early age. Now days we are loaded up on malum prohibitum offenses, which are illegal not because they are wrong, but because the legislature said so. There are literally thousands of them. Many of them are felonies. So the convicted felon that can't rent an apartment might be some woman who worked extra and didn't report all her income to her case worker. Now exactly what threat does she pose to anyone? What is the purpose or the societal good of refusing to allow her to obtain housing? How about some poor slob that committed one of the oyster felonies? Is he a threat if he lives next door to you? I hope all you self righteous folks make damn sure that you don't commit a crime, which means you best start reading up on all the crimes that you can possibly commit, because your attitude just might come back and bite you in the ass some day (which would also be a crime).

Anonymous said...

If you are forced to rent to a felon, you can't decide to rent to the poor guy who had an oyster felony and not to a guy who raped six women who look like your wife.

BTY, I've met a lot of guys who have served time over eating oysters.

sunray's wench said...

The law doesnt need to force landlords to rent to ex-inmates, it just needs to prevent landlords from discriminating on those grounds alone.

Like the Doc said, most inmates aged over 40 (and many under 40 too) want to get out and live a quiet life away from other people when they leave prison, regardless of what crime they were in there for. A violent offence does not always equate to a violent inmate.

PirateFriedman said...

Thank goodness we can still kick felons out of our houses and refuse to date them.

Anonymous said...

The question is. Would you rather an ex-felon have a place to live so he can structure a 'normal' life? Of do you want an ex-felon becoming jaded that after he spent time for his crime, the system is still screwing him?

I have said it before, The system is setup to ensure the ex-con will fail

sunray's wench said...

Pirate, anyone would think the lawmakers were asking you to give up your own home to an ex-con! Can't you see this as a money-making exercise that you could benefit from, instead of being so negative all the time? There is a large niche market out there that landlords could make money out of.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Pirate, you of all people should know that when you accept the government's money, you accept their stipulations. I don't know if the government is somehow subsidzing your dating life but that's the only way your comment at 12:26 would actually be applicable.

And to 8:22, I can see any number of committee members filing that bill, and think you're wrong about the politics. Unlike you, they're actually looking for ways to reduce recidivism and crime.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time, I'll start this like a fairy tale because it seems to have become one, the theory was that if you committed a crime and were caught and convicted, you served your time to society and once released you had the opportunity to prove that you had learned your lesson and could be an upstanding, contributing member of society. A pretty theory and not always true if one looks at how convicts have been treated over the centuries, but never more than today have we proved this theory to be a lie.

It seems that the truth is that for all our protestations of being a civilized country of rights and liberties, we have moved further into the past with attitudes that would have the very historical figures we fought a revolution against snickering in their graves at how very much like them we turned out to be. Perhaps if we had a colony of our own, we could just solve these problems by just bringing back the practice of transporting our criminals to that colony for life. Rid society of those pesky convicts and totally banish those things like the registry and other laws pertaining to convicts that directly oppose the concept that once you've served your sentence you may reenter society and live with all the rights and responsibilities of every other citizen of our fair land. We could banish the “trolls” under the bridge in Florida that have become such a shameful international scandal. Allow them to take their families with them. Who knows, given a couple hundred years, these felons and their families may even do something interesting with their colony. After all, how many of us Americans or Australians can trace our family tree back to an ancestor or two who somewhere have the words “Transported for life” attached to a criminal file in another country?

Anonymous said...

Is there a vacant island out there that can take all our ex-felons?
Australia has already been taken by the British a long time ago. But maybe that's why we are planning to go back and do additional studies on the moon??
I opened my home to an ex-felon over a year ago ( served 20 for murder), I am still alive and unscathed. He got married and tried to find an apartment. As soon as he mentioned his felony he was rejected. Than I had a "great idea". I asked the manager if I gave him the deposit and 2 months rent in advance would he accept him? The ex recently decided to move to a different location and gave notice, the manager begged him to stay because he was such a good renter and dropped the rent $ 150.00. Just thought I'd throw this story in to show that money talks but unfortunately that is not possible for many ex-felons. Incidentally, murder has the lowest recidivism rate. Also, do we really know how many crack smoking and similar lawbreakers live in these appartments and just have not been caught?

Helga Dill, Chair, TX CURE
(Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants)

PirateFriedman said...

Grits, I don't know the nature of this tax credit, but a true tax credit is NOT a subsidy.

Sunray, I'm positive on human potential, only negative on government.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Pirate, in the real world where people actually pay their taxes, it's a subsidy.

PirateFriedman said...

"Is there a vacant island out there that can take all our ex-felons?"

A very interesting comment. I am an anarchist, and I do think the government should be abolished. I don't think private companies would ever pay to have their own prisons... I don't think Walmart would would pay to have a prison for its shoplifters.

But in an anarchist society, if a thief had a reputation that caused him to lose access to all the privatized roads, to all the housing, etc...then there really would be no place to put them but on vacant islands, or in some sort of land owned by dogooder Christians who wanted to preach to the scum of the earth.

The put them on an island approach is unrealistic in today's society, but it does fit in with a framework of freedom.

PirateFriedman said...

"Pirate, in the real world where people actually pay their taxes, it's a subsidy"

Grits, this is just an absurd argument. Suppose Texas instituted a state income tax with a rate of 100%, but then gave people tax credits as long as they forfeited all their freedoms. Would you support this proposal? Hope I gave you something to think about.

Anonymous said...

I am a convicted felon--one of these people you automatically assume are dangerous, violent "ex-cons" who pose all manner of threats to you and your loved ones, your property, etc. Maybe I am a murderer, a rapist, a robber? Isn't that what "felon" means--that you committed a violent act or deprived an innocent citizen of their property?

No, it isn't.

Let me tell you about my felony conviction.

(Let me first say that I do not intend to indicate that this was not a crime nor that it should not have been addressed as such--my point is that "felon" does not always equate with violence and threats to society)

I was convicted at the age of 35 of a 3rd degree felony. The charge was possession of a controlled substance by fraud. What had I done? I had written a number 1 in the refill blank on a prescription I had received for codeine cough syrup. This was, in fact, my second arrest for this exact same offense--the previous one had occurred less than a week earlier, and there had been a significant delay in getting me into treatment for my Rx opiate addiction, so, still addicted and sick, I tried it again.

I had no previous criminal record. I was a married college graduate, professionally employed, with my own home in the suburbs. Due to it being a "second" offense, I was convicted of a felony.

That was 12 years ago. I have not reoffended. I still work full time, am married, have 3 boys, volunteer at school and church, sit on several boards of directors, run websites for recovering persons and do a great deal of advocacy work.

And if I had to find another place to live tomorrow, I would almost certainly be turned away at every place I went, unless I could rent from someone who knows me. I would be essentially homeless, because when people hear "felony", they think murderer, child molester, etc--not some housewife with a codeine problem who wrote herself an extra refill and has been in recovery for 12 years.

sunray's wench said...

Pirate said:
"Sunray, I'm positive on human potential, only negative on government."

And again I say, the government does not have to force landlords to accept ex-inmates, it simply has to legislate that a previous conviction cannot be used with prejudice when an individual applies to rent a property.

I've missed our little chats.

Anonymous said...

"...when you accept the government's money, you accept their stipulations."

That would be right. That's why I'm so glad that the federal government is taking over control of more and more of the economy. Now they can tell us all what to do. We are transforming America and when we are through you won't recognize the place.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Pirate, why don't you debate what's going on in the world as it exists instead of spinning out wild hypotheticals? Landlords don't have to seek affordable housing tax credits, but if they do, inevitably they must comply with conditions for getting them. You've given me nothing to think about with that comment except how goofy Libertarians can sound when they spout off unrestrained. :)

PirateFriedman said...

Grits, I do get that liberty is not that important to you. But the real world is on my side here, while you're living in the hypothetical. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs does not prohibit property owners from discriminating against felons. That's not because they are enlightened libertarians, but probably because they just don't give a shit. Sometimes people do the right thing for the wrong reasons.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

PR, How do you get from what I've written to "liberty is not that important to you"? What a dumb thing to say. Just because I don't subscribe to your theory that taxation is by definition theft? It's one thing to be ideologically rigid, but surely you're aware your views are far outside the mainstream? From the perspective of most people, it's a subsidy. The landlords can always just pay their full tax freight like the rest of us.

As for the agency doing nothing because they don't give a shit, that's true. They admitted at the hearing they'd never considered the matter until recently. But they are now - the agency is participating in the Reentry task force - and once folks DO specifically give it some thought, I suspect there will be a move along these lines to incentivize apartment-owners seeking subsidies to not discriminate against ex-offenders.

Anonymous said...

There was once a man who was labeled a criminal and sentenced to the death penalty. This man spent many years traveling and talking about things like forgiveness. He associated with prostitutes, adulterers, Samaitans, tax collectors and other undesirables. He talked about things like visiting those in prison.

I think, in the same book that I read about this guy, there was another, I think his name was Paul, who seemed to have spent some time in prison.

A lot of people in Texas seem to associate with themselves with the first guy I mentioned by calling themselves "Christians". I'm at a loss to explain why they call themselves that when they seem to know nothing of what he taught. Their lives show hatred, contempt and disdain for others who may have faced some difficulty in their lives. They spend time on Sunday morning in church worhsipping and listening to speakers talk about this man, but their lives and their attitudes towards others show no evidence that they've ever read what the man taught. They make no effort to bring the message the man brought to those they deem to be inferior to them. Their attitudes seem to deny that there is any power in that message to change live, that they should forgive and minister to those they consider inferior. They are pompous and arrogant, concluding that they are morally superior to others, that they have never done anything wrong. They seem to forget that one of the things this man said is that everyone has done things that are wrong. I believed he called those things sin.

In that book where I read about the man, there were people that acted like these people. I think there were 2 groups, one called Pharisess and the other Saducees. They were very religious people who believed themselves to be morally superior to others and looked down on those they considered inferior. Oddly, this man wasn't impressed with their piousness.

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

I think the line about those in prisons is especially relevant here. Could it be that the people we are talking about here would fall into the category of "the least of these."

Anonymous said...

It looks like we have overlooked the devastation that a gang can cause when it operates out of a public housing unit. Looks like we pretend that gang members stop flying their flag once released.

Here is one recent story:

San Francisco
In court, Deputy City Attorney Machaela Hoctor said the evidence was “overwhelming and abundant” that the 22 members targeted under the court order were operating as a gang within the Oakdale Public Housing project neighborhood. The City’s lawsuit alleges the Oakdale Mob, which has about 80 members, are involved in drug sales, robberies, carjackings, assaults and witness intimidation and that members are suspects in at least 12 homicides during the previous three years.

“The civil rights of the community, the residents’ rights, are paramount to the rights of the gang members that terrorize them,” Hoctor said.

Question to think about:
Are the civil rights of the community paramount to the rights of the gang members that terrorize them? This is where you separate the liberal from the conservatives.

Anonymous said...

So are you saying that everyone who has ever been convicted of a felony is a gang member?

Anonymous said...

When felons enter prison they are examined for gang tattoos. These tattoos are photographed. What percentage of newly admitted felons would you thing have clear gang identifying marks on their body?

sunray's wench said...

Anon @ 8.44 - what does it matter? The whole notion of being able to divide ex-inmates up into more manageable groups such as "non-violent" or "gang member" is academic.

Any individual (whether time-served or not) has the capacity to break any law and take any life. This liklihood increases as the number of different laws increases.

Once an offender has completed their sentence, what right does the state or any other individual have to then increase that sentence by discriminating against the offender beyond the dat of discharge? There may be laws that say it is possible, but is it right to do so? If you believe it is, then why not just give everyone a permenant tattoo once they break their first law, and openly create a society where some individuals are subject to certain laws based on them having that particular tattoo. I believe it was tried in Europe in the last century for a while.

Finally, don't believe everything you see on MSNBC. Most young inmates released from prison go back to their families (parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents etc) for a while. It is the older inmates (again) who need to find somewhere to live when they are released as many no longer have contact with their families after serving long sentences. Many older inmates have nothing to do with any of the prison gangs.

PirateFriedman said...

Once an offender has completed their sentence, what right does the state or any other individual have to then increase that sentence by discriminating against the offender beyond the dat of discharge?

Already told you Sunray, for the individual, property rights and the freedom of association give the individual the right to discriminate against felons. Those are the rights that the Nazis abhored.

Anonymous said...

One the one hand we want to help released felons to successfully began a new life. Programs like Project RIO and many others need to be supported.

One the other hand, we must admit that we allow a large part of our cities to be dominated and terrorized by criminal gangs who operate pretty much unchecked. Ask any 10 year old kid in that neighborhood who calls the shots - he knows. Most of these gang members have been released from prison a time or three.

If we become so infatuated by the violent criminals we can be willing to sacrifice the well being of members of the community. If you are so smitten that you say they should be allowed to live next door to somebody's daughter then maybe you should volunteer to let them live next door to your daughter.

To me, it's not too much to expect released felons to behave in a decent manner. Just because they are not caught doesn't mean they are not making their neighborhoods a sordid and dangerous place for their neighbors.

sunray's wench said...

Pirate & Anon @ 10.55 - so the question remains, where would you have them live? I'm seeing a lot of NIMBYism, but not many answers here.

PirateFriedman said...

"Pirate & Anon @ 10.55 - so the question remains, where would you have them live"

Sunray, your question makes it sound like I'm the one advocating change, but actually on this issue I'm simply advocating a continuation of the status quo. In other words, every released felon is dealing with a situation that thousands of others have dealt with in the past. Find a landlord, friend or family member to take you in.

I know some ex-felons are going to be homeless, it is really sad. Many ex-felons are mentally ill and would be homeless regardless of their conviction history.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:55. What an interesting and utterly bullshit filled commentary. The topic is the refusal to rent a place to an ex-con. it isn't about those that continue to break the law, that is for the police to go in and charge them with new crimes. You make an assumption at anyone and everyone getting out of prison is hell-bent on continuing their law-breaking ways, which is absolutely untrue.

What you point out is that 'gangs' of ex-cons move into an area and begin setting up illegal activities at the detriment to the community. I counter with cold hard facts that presentages are not even close to 50% for re-offense in ANY crime, except Drunk Drivers. Most reoffense rates for felonies are below 25%, while the two two feared crimes (murder and rape) have less than a 15% re-offense rate.

So to make an assumption that just because a person is an ex-con, that they will move into a place and immediately begin to re-offend is not only a fallacy, it also goes to show you have no idea what you are talking about.

The vast majority of ex-cons want to integrate back into society and attempt to build a positive life for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Come one 1:39, don't introduce logic into this discussion. These guys want to continue to be confident in their ignorant arrogance. They aren't interested in logic. They are morally superior to everyone else and are too good to be bothered with pesky things like facts.

Anonymous said...

"The vast majority of ex-cons want to integrate back into society and attempt to build a positive life for themselves."

We see the gang tags on their bodies on the day they enter (re-enter) prison. It's funny how they took the time to have the markings of a criminal gang tattooed on their bodies. I guess that didn't mean anything. Maybe it secretly meant they were "attempting to build a positive life for themselves."

When they enter prison they, for the most part, are not new to the system. This ain't their first rodeo. If you ask them what they were doing while they were on parole and offered an opportunity to go straight they have some interesting stories.

Anonymous said...

Someone seems to be obsessed with gang tattoos. What that has to do with a discussion about housing for convicted felons, most of whom are not gang members, I don't know. Maybe he just likes looking at naked, tatooed men.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what kind of tattoo you get to show your a member of a gang of oyster molesters?

Anonymous said...

Question: What the hell has happened to America? This not the same Country I grew up in. People used to be compassionate, caring, giving and forgiving. Now, every wants has Halos above their heads and wings on their backs. So if you're not one of them (an Angel) you're Damned! Christ once said..."He who is without sin let him cast the first stone..." No on walking this planet is without sin--no one. So people need to get off this high horse, holier than thou crap and get back to being compassionate, caring, giving and forgiving because I guarantee you, them same people you meet going up will be the same people you meet going down.

Anonymous said...

"We see the gang tags on their bodies on the day they enter (re-enter) prison. It's funny how they took the time to have the markings of a criminal gang tattooed on their bodies. I guess that didn't mean anything. Maybe it secretly meant they were "attempting to build a positive life for themselves.""

Fascinating, so by your admission EVERY swinging Richard that walks into Prison has a gang tattoo, and had offended before? Utterly amazing that I didn't know the criminal element is the exact same 21% of the population over and over again!!!

Well hell, I have a solution to completely rid the country of crime then. lock up that 21% and then just lob a few mustard gas bombs in there. Problem solved. Oh thank you so much for giving us the solution through your words Anon 1:41. Because as you state, by your wording, all people that enter prison are the same over and over again, the fact that all reports show that less than 50% of ANY crime, most less than 20%, return to prison; While the remaining 50 to 80% go on to improve themselves and do not re-offend. but lets not put verified facts in the case, we need to listen to your rant.

I call Bullshit! Either you are too jaded to believe that the vast majority has PROVEN to be wanting to change and do, or you just enjoy trolling. Either way, real facts don't lie and your 'facts' are utter bullshit.

Anonymous said...

"Well hell, I have a solution to completely rid the country of crime then. lock up that 21% and then just lob a few mustard gas bombs in there"

Seems like an extreme idea. But luckily, many of these gang bangers will shoot other gang members. To quote the movie Training Day: "Let the animals wipe eachother out. God will it."

Anonymous said...

A few years back I was sitting in a court room. I looked around at the judge, the lawyers, and the men in orange jumpsuits sitting in the jury box awaiting their time in front of the judge. I thought to myself that the guys in the orange jumpsuits were probably the most honest people in the room.

We all live among criminals. As a society we don't believe in prosecuting all crime. We agressively go after crimes committed by those we see as of a lower class than the rest of us but we ignore, for the most part, crimes committed by those who are equal or superior to us in society.

The attitudes expressed by some on here aren't motivated by a desire to punish criminals. The motivations are the same motivations that men have had for all time. For some reason we have to look down on other groups to make ourselves feels superior. THe motivations of these people are almost identical to the motivations behind the widespread racism of the past. For a long time those of a certain group made themselves feel superior by demonizing another group based on race. That has fallen out of fashion so they had to find a new group to demonize.

They don't demonize this group because they are criminals. If this were true they would be advocating aggressive prosecution of the white collar crime that is rampant in this country. But if they were to do that, some of their neighbors, or even themselves, may be caught up by the law enforcment machinery. No, its not about crime. It's about a need to look down their noses at some other group. The people they look down on are typically from a lower socioeconomic status and they simply use crime as an excuse to demonize these people.

Why do I say that crime is just an excuse? Like I said, white collar crime is rampant in this country. I would go so far as to say that white collar crime was the main cause of our recent mortgage/housing mess. Mortgage fraud, falsifying information on loan applications, inflated appraisals, forged documents, predatory lending....and much other CRIMINAL behavior occurred in the housing/mortgage boom. How much of that was ever or ever will be prosecuted? And, that is just one industry. Just about every where you look in our society you'll find laws being broken, usually with no consequences. WE only agressive go after crime when it is committed by those of lower socioeconomic status. I bet if we were to go after white collar crime as aggressively as we do drug crime, you'd be surprised how many of your neighbors would be in prison. I bet some of those posting on here might even find themselves in prison.

So, odds are some of your neighbors are criminals. They just happen to commit the right kind of crimes.

Anonymous said...

I've never worked in a prison. I did work in a county jail for a while, many years ago. Most of the guys in there were there for doing something stupid ...DWI, marijuana, etc. Most of them were people I wouldn't have minded going fishing with. THere was only a very small percentage that were truly dangerous. Do you remember a while back there was video on the news where a jail guard was attacked by one inmate and the other inmates came to his rescue. THat's how most of the guys in jail were. They didn't want to hurt anyone.

By the way, the person who seems to be obsessed with the gang tattoos apparently works in a prison. I have a question for him. We know that a lot of prison guards are criminals because they smuggle contraband in, have sex with inmates and do other things. Since you are obviously tough on crime, do you advocate aggressive prosecution of that class of criminals? If your motivation for demonizing another group is the fact that they are criminals, you should want all criminals to be aggressively prosecuted. If you don't want prison guards aggressively prosecuted when they commit crimes, you need to ask yourself what your true motivations for demonizing others is.

Clarence Darrow said:
“First and last, it's a question of money. Those men who own the earth make the laws to protect what they have. They fix up a sort of fence or pen around what they have, and they fix the law so the fellow on the outside cannot get in. The laws are really organized for the protection of the men who rule the world. They were never organized or enforced to do justice. We have no system for doing justice, not the slightest in the world.”

Anonymous said...

This is a really scary thing. I pray that when my son is released he can manage to make a life. Judging from all these comments I am not so sure. He is eligible for parole 2011 and release in 2013. I pray that his dad and I can help him. It is in the best interest of ex offenders that assistance is provided for those coming out of prison. Many have families of their own. Would you deny their children a chance for a normal life? How can you or anyone do that or be a part of such a thing? It is these commenters and those that are ignorant of the facts that really make me apprehensive about my sons future and the future of his family. Some of these comments also enhance my anger and make me more determined to make sure that my son and grandchildren will be strong and that noone will be able to make them feel like losers. Some of you people are despicable. You better pray that you never, ever stand in the way of my son or my grandchildren. You will see the wrath of a grandma and mom. Brians mom

Anonymous said...

One more question for the tattoo obsesses prison guard. By your way of thinking, because some convicted felons have gang tatoos, all convicted felons are gang members. Then, would I be correct to assume that since some prison guards smuggle in contraband and have sex with inmates that you also smuggle in contraband and have sex with inmates?

sunray's wench said...

Brian's mom ~ I don't care where you live, how much you earn, what the colour of your skin is or what religion you follow. It is people like you who are the only ones who can change the overall attitude of Texans towards inmates, their families and the system they find themselves in. By standing up, time after time, and speaking calmly and accurately about the things you and Brian face, you have the ability to show rather than tell others how it is and how much better it could be.

Texan's are proud people, but it amazes me that they allow the continuation of a system that no one - not even the prison guards if they are honest - can be truely proud of.

Anonymous said...

Sunray, You have no idea what your words mean to me. I appreciate more than you can ever know. Most people don't care or even want to hear the truth. I am more than willing to stand up, and speak up loud and strong. I do this quite often. I wish more would listen. NO, I wish more could see,understand and feel my pain, my anguish. I love my son and grandson. It is for them I speak out. My son had never been in trouble before, except for high school speeding tickets. Now he has a felony and I see that he and his family will be ridiculed, harrassed, and bullied. I will always stand up for what is right, even if it is not politically correct. I wish more would do the same. Funny, how my attitude has changed since this has happened. I am a Texan, family fought and died at Goliad in 1836. I am not proud of the reputation my state has. Sheeple better wake up and take a look at what is happening around them. Brians mom

Anonymous said...

""Well hell, I have a solution to completely rid the country of crime then. lock up that 21% and then just lob a few mustard gas bombs in there"

Seems like an extreme idea. But luckily, many of these gang bangers will shoot other gang members. To quote the movie Training Day: "Let the animals wipe eachother out. God will it.""

Jesus, are you STILL hung up on the crap regarding gang tattoos? Get over it. Attempting to show the proof needed to isolate your rants as nothing but garbage just allows you something else to talk about. Have you ever thought about professional help, it seems you really should go see someone, it isn't healthy carrying such a terrible grudge around.

And so you know, Training Day really WAS a movie. The lines were written by 'witty' people that get paid for their work. With the exception of a handful of movies, none of them give a glimmer of truth, nor were they intended to. Stop living a fantasy and rejoin society, it isn't that bad out here.

Anonymous said...

Would Jesus be considered a felon? I wonder how many people would've rented to him?

Anonymous said...

I for one agree wholeheartedly with this practice, obviously the person has put themselves in a position to become a felon in the first place, its bad enough that my taxes dollars go to these people who have committed crimes not only to house and pay them a "wage" while they are incarcerated, but I must also pay them unemployment once they are released, they were given the same chances as the rest of us in our lives, and to be honest I do not consider this a form of discrimination but of protection, as a landlord you have a duty to the rest of your tenants not to mention the community, of screening whom lives there. If Felons must go to government subsidies it really and truly is there own fault, why should the society at large have to fear in there own homes?

sunray's wench said...

txmarine ~ get with the programme buddy, no TDCJ inmate gets paid a wage while they are incarcerated, and your tax dollars are spent by those who wish to keep as many inmates locked up as possible. If you have issues with how the money is spent, take it up with the people who make the rules on your behalf. And by the way, many inmates were on the outside paying their tax dollars too. Who do you think pays your marine wages?

You are not offering any solutions, just whining about the situation your votes created.

PirateFriedman said...

Sunray, your wrong. He did offer a solution, which is to maintain the status quo and respect the rights of landlords to protect themselves by not renting to felons.

No one has come up with a good moral argument as to why the property rights of landlords should not be respected.

Anonymous said...

grits is correct no one has come up with an actual reason on why this issue should change, i would like to be convinced that I am wrong in my opinion, that people can change but most do not, the person that had the codeine habit did fair enough, but what is the percentages of that? 1 in 250,000?( I really don’t know the stats)
What i do know is that once you become a felon depending on the class of it you lose several rights, which is the whole point of being a felon. Landlords have done nothing wrong therefore under the law have not lost any rights, and after all IT IS THIER PROPERTY, if any thing they have less rights than most tenants in most states and understanding this why would someone i.e. a landlord set themselves up in a situation to where they are going to lose a profit, after all land lording is not a charity, there are several state and federal government programs for peoples use, including felons. I do rent out houses and I will continue to defend my rights, and support this practice, not only as person who has served this country, But as some one who for over 32 yrs has not produced a felony and not gotten in trouble with the law. as far as where can the felons live
I hear Mexico is nice this time of year.

Anonymous said...

oh and btw sunray
there were many times my vote did'nt count especially when i was deployed because it didn't have this stamp or that stamp, or it did not get throught the mail systme in time for the deadline
, hell i remember one time the mail truck was blown up. and yes tdcj inmate are offered a chance to EARN a wage,but as you clearly stated they dont. yet another reason i will continue not to rent to felons.

sunray's wench said...

txmarine ~ inmates in TDCJ have no opportunity to earn any money for the work they are made to do. You really have no idea do you.

As for ex-inmates moving to Mexico - one of the rights you mentioned being forfeit when someone is pronounced a felon is the right to legally emmigrate to most countries.

Pushing the issue into someone else's backyard is no solution - even if you feel they are doing it to you.

All votes count, even when you don't get your own way.

Pirate - he wasn't proposing any solution to how else his tax dollars should be used, but I suspect he is the kind of person who would just prefer to pay no tax at all yet expect all the services he doesn't connect with his taxes (including his wages while a marine) to still be covered.

Anonymous said...

Okay heres something i would have my taxes pay for, reinstate the death penalty and use it,liberaly, that way there is more room in the federal and state justic system that way when someone is sentenanced to a 15-20 year term there is no cause to let them out for "good" behaviour, instead of making society change for the "poor misfortunate felon" who just made a "few" wrong decisions, and have completly "reformed", keep them where they belong in prison, i take it sunray you or your family havent been touched by violent crime, but most of us have in my home town which is a very small town we have to worry about getting robbed at the damn bar by gun point. and yes they do have a right to earn a living while there in. look it up, they also have a right to education, you can look that up too, as a matter of fact while the "poor misfortunates" are incarcerated they are treated better than most people entittled to better food , cable , fully furnished gyms, free healthcare, just to name a few, if it were up to me, and you probably thank whom ever you worship that its not, the three strike rule would end whith a quick trip on a short rope.
simple fact is the landlord owns the property who is any one to tell them what they can or cannot do with it, its compromising the civil libertys of the landlord him or herself, and i will be damned if i have ANYONE tell me what i can and cannot do with MY property.
And to rebutt your comment on taxes no i do and would pay taxes(yes even while i was in the corps which is redundent because im paying my own check and that thanks to mr clinton) Secondly no not all votes are counted, id be more than happy to educate you on the point of rules and regulation of the military oversea before the votes are counted but that is not for this board.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

TXmarine writes: "i will be damned if i have ANYONE tell me what i can and cannot do with MY property."

Great, then just don't apply for government subsidies and nobody will ask you to.

PirateFriedman said...

Will be interesting to see if the "put a felon on your property or pay more taxes" proposal goes through. I wonder if there might be ways to circumvent it in practice, perhaps by refusing to rent to potential tenants with a low credit rating, or some other trait that criminals often have.