Monday, February 2, 2015

An Awesome Critique Of The Prison Industrial Complex By One Who Knows It Well

The Kennel by Elijah Green  is a brilliant send-up of the prison industrial complex.  It is short, just 41 pages.  The work is divided into two parts.  The first is a parable or allegory.  Elijah walking along the road notices a large fenced in area with the sign "State Kennel of Middletown".

The Parable

He ends up engaged in an extended discussion with John Cox - Kennel Keeper, who explains to him how the system works.
Anyway, Mr. Cox seemed eager to tell me everything, sort of like a kid with a new toy.
"Sixteen hundred!" I exclaimed.  "Why so many?"
"Oh, no," he corrected me.  "The question is why so few?  There are over two million dogs in our state and only fourteen kennels like this.  This is only one of ten kennels operated by the state.  The other four are privately owned by ICC, Incarcerated Canines Corporation, operating under state contract.  At present, there are six large companies, and several smaller ones, which have gone into the private kennel business."
Interrupting him I asked, "Who owns ICC and those other private kennel companies?"
"They are mostly owned by rich folks and senators.  The founder of ICC was the former chairman of the Republican party in Tennessee and friend of the governor.  In fact, the gover-nor's wife was a substantial investor in ICC, as was the speaker of the Tennessee House.1 Even some judges are shareholders.  One of their larger stockholders was recently appointed by the President to be a trial judge in Tennessee.2  They say he has been in the courtroom as a lawyer on only two cases.  Some of the families representing their dogs have had more courtroom experience than him."   
The tour that Mr. Cox takes Elijah on illustrates just about everything that is disgraceful about America's prison industrial complex - solitary confinement, medical care, political corruption, excessive sentences, lack of rehabilitation, racism, the futility of the war on drugs

One of the best jabs was at the complicity of the media
The news media cooperates with us as well.  Every time a violent dog is arrested they put the story on TV and in the paper, telling how we are making the state a safer place by tak-ing vicious and dangerous dogs off the street.  This keeps the taxpayers feeling good about spending all this money."
 "Oh!  Back to the news media," Mr. Cox said as if he just remembered it.  "If a dog is vicious and bites or kills a human or another dog, they play the story over and over on the news and sometimes even make Hollywood movies about it.  It's a shame that only 3% of the arrests are of vicious dogs.  The public loves those stories of dogs killing innocent people! Ratings go way up when they are aired.  There is even a top rated show about dogs that need to be caught.  It's called: 'The States' Most Wanted Dogs.'  The DoDC gets hundreds of anon-ymous tips after that show plays." 
One of Mr. Cox's comments helps explain why the story is told as something of a parable.
"But I thought you said there were sixteen hundred dogs here now," I said in a question-ing manner. Mr. Cox looked a little puzzled and said, "There are." 
"Well, I don't understand.  Doesn't that break the law and overcrowd the dogs?" I asked. He thought for a brief moment and said, "It does overcrowd them some but hey, they are just dogs.
One big problems is that we don't think of prisoners as people like us.  We have them classified as "the other".


 The second half of the work is an analysis of many of the issues facing prisoners including the pervasive threat of sexual abuse.  There is a list of policy recommendations, which for the most part are spot on. Among them are.

Make abuse of prisoners, by prison staff, a felony, not a misdemeanor.
Restore all of the rights of ex-felons.  When their sentence is served, their punishment should end
Prohibit all lawmakers, law enforcement, judges, and their spouses from owning stock in prison or prison industries, or from profiting in any way from prisoners.

Eliminate gun enhancement laws.  Thousands of inmates have a 3 - 5 year extension to their sentence for a gun they lawfully owned, but was not used in any crime.  (The gun was simply in the house or car.)  Their enhancement portion of their sentence should be removed immediately.

Make stiff penalties for police or prosecutors who lie on the witness stand, plant evi-dence, or bribe witnesses in any way, even promising "time off" for testifying.

Legalize the possession and use of drugs, and release those inmates held solely for that charge.  Provide restrictions on the sale and manufacture of drugs equal to that of alcohol and tobacco, which is to persons age 21 and older.

Don't allow male guards at women's prisons, or vice versa
A Review

I did not make it as an English major.  The professor who taught Hawthorne, Melville, Twain thought I was an idiot because I thought Moby Dick was a story about a bunch of guys who worked in the whaling industry.  So maybe I'm not the best judge.  With that said, I suspect that there might be literary issues with the first half of the Kennel, because it lacks the subtlety of Animal Farm or Gulliver's travel.  The author hits you over the head with the notion that the Kennel is about the prison industrial complex, although who knows?  There will probably be people who don't get it and will be upset about how poorly those poor dogs are being treated.

The Actual Author

It is no secret that Elijah Green is a nom de plume of Kent Hovind the leading light of Young Earth Creationism who has been in prison for eight years on tax related charges.  Kent and his supporters whom I have taken to calling Hovindicators believe that he is in prison because he was a threat to the system through his exposure of the "lies of evolution".  Myself I think it is about the taxes, not the dinosaurs, which kind of aggravates them.

That disagreement does not stop me from thinking that Kent Hovind has largely hit it out of the park on prison issues.  Some of his ideology comes through.  There is a reference to jury nullification, which I have mixed feelings about. He disapproves of the mechanism in the Prison Rape Elimination Act to encourage state compliance, because he thinks the federal government should not be sending money to the states.

 There is also the notion that under biblical law there are only three punishments - fines, beating and execution.  It is true that the notion of punishing people by imprisoning them is a relatively recent innovation, thought to be a humanitarian reform that has not worked out that well.  I'm not going to go with Kent and say it would be an improvement if we went back to flogging in the town square and a lot more executions, even if that would be more biblical.

  I think that this fellow whom many would consider batshit crazy has pointed out that the enlightenment emperor has no clothes when it comes to the prison industrial complex. The penitentiary is an Enlightenment reform that has failed miserably.  It is up to progressives to come up with something better if they don't want to be held up to deserved ridicule by somebody who thinks that the best way to figure out the age of the earth is by summing up begats.


  1. Why I have decided not to actually read the 41 pages at the present time!


    I'm not much of a book worm; even for so little as 41 pages.


    I think I know a little about the context in which the book was written and its underlying premise.


    I don't think there is anything original in Kent's complaints about the prison system.


    I would prefer, and think it much more important and relevant, for Jo Hovind to write about the subject in the context of her personal experience and of having let her husband (Kent Hovind) send her to prison. Her personal perspective would seem to involve the whole of the criminal justice system beginning with her living with and supporting a career criminal, investigation, indictment, prosecution, sentencing, serving time, probation, and the consequences.


    I agree with Kent, in part, that there should be more executions for more crimes and that are carried out more speedily.


    Kent is not likely to become the appointed Theocrat and so his proposal to only have 3 forms of punishment is cute but not likely to ever be seriously considered and has been and will be seriously criticized.

    The above is not intended to be exhaustive.
    It is what has come to mind as a result of certain stimuli.

  2. I wish I had time to comment more fully on this, but Kent has only touched the tip of the iceberg on what is wrong with our justice and prison systems today. They are beneath contemptible, in my opinion.

    I suppose there is a reason why God never instituted them.

    1. I absolutely agree. Kent asked inmates who are in their for drug crimes stealing and such if they would rather be whipped or put in prison to which all of them sad whipped.

      The court system is destroying america to a great degree breaking up families ruining peoples lives for no reason other than its a cash cow for judges and politicians who pork barrel projects and buy in to stock.

  3. The question shouldn't be whether one would prefer to be whipped rather than imprisoned but how much whipping would induce one to prefer the prison sentence. It is only at that point that the convicted would have the right to take the harder option of whipping rather than prison. But, unlike the christian Kent and as someone who endured caning at school, I approve of neither whipping nor stoning nor, indeed, any other form of capital punishment.

    But, Jen, its nice to hear from you again. I enjoyed reading your blog all those years ago and I hope you have now fully recovered from your cultish experiences.

  4. The trouble with Kent is that he never seems to have taken on Jesus' advice set out in Matthew 5:25 to: "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.". The verse is an exact description of what happened to Kent and a prescription of what he could have done to avoid it. Well done, Jesus.

    1. (Are you sure that quote from Jesus isn't actually a parable whereby the "judge" is a reference to God Himself...? If so then perhaps you have it all somewhat backwards...)

  5. Thank you Mr.Reilly for the fair review.
    As a "Hovindator" as you call us I have a question for you. Cannot the Judicial system under the direction of the IRS/govt. Go after a man for two reasons? One, running afoul of the thousands of pages of tax laws...
    And two, teaching God's word on the creation of His Universe? Would they not use the first to go after the second? You see the Freedom of Speech and Religion is not completely shredded yet. Many of us Christians believe this, otherwise, how would You explain 8 years instead of 14 months prison sentence? And a vendetta of going after another 25-100 years on top of that?

    1. I look forward to Peter's response to that, but while we wait I will offer a response.

      The IRS does not "direct" the judicial system.

      If the Government went after Kent for exercising his free speech rights, then that would be a big story and of quite a bit of concern.

      That's not what Kent's and Jo's cases have been about.

      Kent is a career criminal.

      Kent did not run afoul of "thousands of pages of tax laws". That rhetoric is simply part of the scheme Kent and his people have used for years; make it sound like it's really complicated and confusing.

      If you want to put it in that sort of context, I would suggest Kent was criminally in violation of tax laws that make up maybe 10 pages or less, and those 10 pages would be some of the simplest to understand and which most citizens understand and comply with without much in the way of problems.

      Kent could have gotten a lot less than 10 years, but that is not what he was posturing for. He sent his wife to prison and held his ground and got what he bargained for.

      And Kent appears to have continued his criminal behavior even while incarcerated. We will hear more about that as the current case proceeds.

      Will Kent bargain for the worst regarding his current charges or come clean and work towards minimizing the consequences of his behavior?

      We will see!

    2. Doctor Hovind ran afoul of less than a dozen pages of tax law. The ones he broke are pretty simple and straightforward. He says he is not a tax protester but his denial fails the "looks like a duck, walks like a duck, seen in the company of ducks standard". I have close to zero doubt that the IRS went after him because of tax issues, which were on the egregious side.

    3. Peter, that was not my whole question. If Al Sharpton and Timothy Guintner were teaching against the religion of evolution, might not they be sharing in an orange jumpsuit as a present from the IRS? You really expect me to believe what Al and Tim did was ok?

    4. "Career criminal"... I don't think my eyes could roll any further back into my own head.

      "Doctor Hovind ran afoul of less than a dozen pages of tax law. The ones he broke are pretty simple and straightforward. He says he is not a tax protester but his denial fails the "looks like a duck, walks like a duck, seen in the company of ducks standard". I have close to zero doubt that the IRS went after him because of tax issues, which were on the egregious side."

      Peter, these are the sorts of sentiments which as I continue to hear them, still seem to be rather self-contradictory, when you step back and look at them...

      Why does the question of Kent's true "crimes" continually vacillate between the 'simple and straightforward' issue of the specific amount of back taxes he was alleged to have owed, and these superimposed and incredibly more shrill accusations of whether or not he is a (quote) "tax protester"...?

      Is there a specific law on the books somewhere which clarifies how someone's guilt in terms of taxes unpaid is magnified in light of them being decided as a "tax protester", as opposed to just some run-of-the-mill crook who cheats on their taxes...?

      These repeated appeals to phrases like ""looks like a duck, walks like a duck, seen in the company of ducks" is, (in my thinking) a most peculiar type of argumentation when it comes to claiming that this is truly about following the rule of law... Is this really the kind of thing that is being pointed to as "evidence" of anything??

      So are we all supposed to live in paranoia then about who we associate with, whether they might someone dealing drugs, or stealing from their place of work or whatever, in case we get thrown into the lineup next to them, as being an obvious "co-duck"..?? Good grief. Is that how justice is really supposed to work in this country now? I thought it was still under the basic premise that you could talk to, about, like, etc. anyone or anything you wanted, as long as you aren't actually breaking a specific law on the books? (isn't that what laws are for?) I'm sorry, I keep forgetting we are now living in the "post-9/11 era" where our mindsets have been collectively reset back to the Red Scare days, where such attitudes of fear-mongering and simplistic generalizations are once in vogue for their political capital...

      But yes, here we are, still railing on about Kent's "continual crimes in prison", which in fact are now unconnected to any specific laws or tax requirements (since he isn't making any money in jail) but are now purely a matter of "frivolous" actions and alleged "criminal contempt".

    5. I don't agree with all of Kent's arguments, or positions, or ideas, and I reject all such attempts to appeal to these childish "looks like a duck" accusations. Supposedly we still live in a free society where we are allowed to agree and disagree with individual aspects of other people's perspectives without being lumped into some pigeon-holed, politically-charged, catch-all term. So stop.

      The bottom line is, we see a man staring at LIFE in PRISON now, because of "contempt"? Frivolous actions?

      If Kent wasn't "Dr. Dino", but an actual REAL white collar criminal who WAS in fact sheltering millions of dollars from paying taxes (like, uh, the majority of the upper class...) he'd probably have a crack legal team who would've filed ten times the amount of appeals and motions and attempts to fight the original ruling with everything they could think of, and it wouldn't be considered "frivolous" or "criminal". That's what massively overpaid teams of lawyers DO for their clients after all!

      There are plenty of guys who, while incarcerated, commit REAL, violent, scary crimes against other inmates during their stay, and STILL only wind up getting a few months or years added onto their sentence!

      If that doesn't tell you what a complete sham this whole thing really is, then I don't know what does.....

    6. 'Supposedly we still live in a free society where we are allowed to agree and disagree with individual aspects of other people's perspectives without being lumped into some pigeon-holed, politically-charged, catch-all term. So stop."

      It's a parable.

  6. Why would the government be at all interested in Hovind’s retarded views on the age of the universe or how ridiculouslyly fast animal life had to evolve after leaving the Ark?

    I remember just a few years ago a row of Presidential candidates lined up for a TV debate being asked by the moderator how many of them “did not believe in evolution”. Seven put their hands up straightaway and the eighth, seeing himself out on limb, then hesitantly put his up. Eight out of eight morons touting to be President. Thank heavens none of them made it but it seems that ignorance of the real world is no bar to seeking America's highest honour.

    Herbielina, if your proposition were correct, how is it that Kent is not sharing a cell with those eight candidates or even one or more of Eric Hovind, Ray Comfort, Ken Ham, Ian Juby etc etc…?

    On YouTube you can find many videos painstakingly demolishing Kent’s and his like-minded cronies’ anti-evolutionary views sentence by sentence and idea by idea. You should watch a few. However, I bet you will search in vain for any videos by even moderately educated YECists refuting them in like manner. Take my bet and let me know how you get on.

    1. I dislike the use of the term "retarded" as you are using it. I guess I'm making a point of it, because I did the same thing with Kent when I interviewed him.

    2. Oh don't worry samphire, many more Christians will be arrested in the future in the USA. Once they start enforcing the "hate" laws we will be rounded up.

  7. Sorry, Peter. I used it in the correct dictionary sense that Kent's views are holding back progress. Kent used the word pejoratively to describe the person rather than their opinions.

    herbielina, I note that you do not address the points I made.

  8. Samphire, really if you know of Ray Comfort, a Born Again Christian like myself, you already have all my answers to your points. You seem pretty well read. Did you get to see his short movie with the interviews of the 4 university professors? One of my favorites. The Gift that keeps giving.

  9. As you know, Comfort believes that all modern animals came from a limited number of "kinds" on the Ark. There are thought to be about 10 million species in the world today which means that, like you, Comfort believes in a vastly more rapid rate of speciation than any evolutionist and yet he denies that evolution occurs. "Kinds" is a biblical concept, not a scientific one.