Wally's comments on life, on music, on pianos, on church, on the Bible, on Palm Beach County, politics, and whatever else pops into his head.

Monday, August 22, 2005


No doubt you have heard that more and more prisons are being built in America every year. While it may be true that evil is on the increase worldwide, it is also true that the modern penal system in America could use a good overhaul.

It is very common to hear about people who are put in prison for one crime, but come out knowing how to perpetrate other crimes, because they have learned new ways of wrongdoing from their fellow prisoners. In addition, who can deny that prisoners are often subjected to harsh treatment from their fellow prisoners - rapes, beatings, intimidation, even death. There has to be a better way!

I would propose a system whereby certain non-violent crimes are paid for by a combination of training, punishment, and restitution.

Training will involve learning usable skills plus the necessary mental and spiritual/moral training necessary to learn the importance of using those skills for the good of society.

Punishment may involve some type of physical suffering, whether it is a public flogging, whipping, or "caneing" as carried out in some countries, or even the amputation of a finger as a constant reminder to not use them for stealing. Some people, of course, will cry "That's cruel and unusual punishment". But I say that prisons are more cruel. And it's unusual so long as it is not being done frequently. That can be changed quickly.

Restitution will involve some type of pay back for the crimes committed. It could be simply a monitoring of money paid back, possibly double, for money stolen. Or public service hours being worked to pay back the society for crimes committed against society at large, eg. vandalism.

For violent crimes, not involving the death or permanent injury of another person, the removal of the testosterone producing glands would be a great solution. Perhaps partial castration for the first offense, then if a second violent crime is committed, complete castration. Of course this has to be done in combination with the mental and spiritual/moral training mentioned above. (An internet search about "castration for criminals" will lead to studies showing very good results in this.)

I believe that if these and other similar measures were taken by our criminal justice system, our need for prisons would be reduced greatly, and possibly eliminated within a few years.


I have been recently involved in some medical decisions about my uncle, and have seen some serious flaws in our country's medical care system. The only other country I can compare it too is Venezuela, where I lived for a total of 12 years during the 17 year span from 1979 to 1996.

In Venezuela, on nights and weekends, pharmacies participate in an "on duty" system whereby there is always one pharmacy available for medicines and other medical supplies. Each pharmacy posts the "on duty" list by its door. A customer never has to drive very far to find one available.

Perhaps a similar system could be used for other medically related services, such as physical therapists, speech therapists, etc., and even doctors. In the case of my uncle, he was recuperating from double bypass surgery at a hospital in Miami, 65 miles away from me. But because he also has a catheter for bladder function and uses a "Servox" buzzer for talking, there were other complications in his recovery.

Finally, after nearly three weeks, he was transferred to a Rehabilitation Center in West Palm Beach. But because of complications with the catheter, he went to a local hospital until that was stabalized, then off to a different Rehab Center.

He is not able to stand or walk on his own. He tried to get out of bed yesterday, but fell and bruised his head. He needs daily physical therapy and daily speech therapy, and possible other types of therapy. But because it was the "weekend", nobody in these specialties was "on duty". So his condition has deteriorated.

So my proposition is this: In these critical care areas, let there be "on duty" persons available for situations such as that of my uncle.