The Principle Purpose of Kate Richards O’Hare’s writing Crime and Criminals.
Kate Richards O’Hare’s account of her time spent in Jefferson City Penitentiary leaves a revealing and disturbing image in the mind of any reader. The events that are described by her include the mistreatment of inmates, both physically and mentally, the “psychological bias” against the impoverished compared to the upper-class when criminally charged, and the misuse of prisoners as objects for profit. Crime and Criminals serves to pinpoint the corruption of the penal institution, judicial system, and the “under the table” profiteering between manufacturing corporations and the Department of Justice when using the prisoners for dirt-cheap labor.
Each inmate was asked to complete a job, however if they didn't finish their job ...view middle of the document...
O’Hare believes there is a bias against the lower-class criminal and favoritism toward the upper-class criminal in the judicial system. She mentions, “It is perfectly logical that when a poor, ill-dressed, uncouth ignorant person is brought before the court charged with a minor crime against a person or property, that those who administer law should do it from their own psychological bias. This human misfit has been proven a failure” (76). She goes on to describe how a well-dressed business man will get off Scott-free because he has money for an expensive defense and the jury are his peers that are within the same social capacity as he. Punishing the less fortunate and protecting capital industries has caused the judicial system to fail in preserving the law.
While in prison, the inmates must conform to a system of labor that yields unrecorded profit gains by companies in contract with the US government. She explains, “I found that under the guise of punishment for crime, and in the name of reformation of criminals a tremendously profitable form of chattel slavery is carried on” (78). She goes on to record more than one instance of companies paying the prison labor very poorly and earning themselves a substantial amount of profit. Non-criminal citizens without jobs are being forgotten because the government allows companies to pay prison labor at a non regulated, much cheaper salary.
Crime and Criminals gives an inside view of the corruption in prisons, businesses, and courts. The story expresses disappointment and desire for reform in the areas mentioned. O’Hare does well in describing what has taken place and in turn elicits sympathy toward the inmates. Her purpose in writing this story was accomplished and serves as a statement of what should be drastically changed and closely monitored.