In his stenographic talk “Address to the Prisoners in the Cook County Jail”, Clarence Darrow suggests that there should be no prisons. He explains that the reason people commit crimes is that they are in the “habit of doing it.” Some people are even “born to it,” and for others “it comes to be natural.”.
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Clarence begins addressing the prisoners by saying that there is no such thing as a crime. People don’t deserve to be in jail. They are there simply because of their circumstances in life which are entirely beyond their control. No one should be in jail and there shouldn’t be any prisons. Most people are not born with criminal intent. ” everybody is equally good and equally bad.” Society teaches us to be good and then we will get rich and be happy. The question is: do people truly get rich by being good? According to Darrow, people have to find other ways to “get rich.” Not everybody in jail is an “angle,” but they are all trying to do the best they can. “A jail is evidence of the lack of charity of the people on the outside who make the jails and fill them with victims of their greed.” Prisons do not accomplish anything. Some people commit crime because they need the money or they are trying to feed their families. For others it “comes natural.”.
The author continues to explain that there are more people in jail during hard times than good times.
For instance, the coal and gas companies raise their prices in the winter. People can not afford it and have to steal it. As a result, they are sent to jail simply because they are poor. .
Furthermore, they can not afford good lawyers and they end up in prison. In other words, it is a question of money. Clarence states that “we need to give people a chance to live.” He believes that society glorifies the rich, and that greed takes over the good sense of people. Abolishing the right of private land owners, monopoly, big criminals, as well as little ones, and implementing equality, is the only way to heal civilization.