A prison hold prisoners for society as a septic tank holds wastewater for the house it is built for. The prisons work better if not overcrowded but if allowed to become full like a septic tank, the water and the waste has nowhere to go thus it rises to the top and forms a scum layer that is both unhealthy and unwanted for the homeowner. This is a clear warning sign that many homeowners ignore. Secondly, whenever a septic tank is full, the growth of bacteria fosters freely and creates sickness for those who come into contact with the problem. They can become ill and pass this illness or disease on to others in the household or in the community. This happens to prison communities as well as it impacts three groups. The first are the staffs who make contact with the bacteria and the second are the victims of ingesting the bacteria. Both will suffer and pass it on to others in our community through families and visitors. When this bacterium is contaminated and spread to common households there are chemicals you can use to kill the germs but the residue of the bacteria is the illnesses and diseases it has spread such as those we call communicable diseases. Treating family for Hepatitis infections, HIV, Staph, MERSA, TB and many other is taxing on our healthcare systems and expensive for families to maintain. This can be avoided.
Not intending to compare sewage with human beings, this analogy is made to illustrate and demonstrate the commonalities involved in the negligence of taking care of our prisons where we house those cast out by society and often forgotten or in many cases, not cared for properly especially the severely mentally ill. Just like treatment of a septic tank with the proper chemicals [laws and regulations] to eliminate dangerous or infectious bacteria, prisons should be treated with reasonable and preventable strategies to protect our communities [risk assessments] and those we share custodial responsibilities for when convicted and made subjects of the states.
States can avoid emergencies by merely taking care of business and treating the prisons timely and properly. Now you might say that if the septic tank is full and no longer working right you can spend the money to fix it or install another one to replace the broken one. This logic is applied to public prisons as well as once they are full, the state looks for private prisons to fill up [prison expansion] and a domino effect is created that has no end until the money runs out or the septic tank backs up and an emergency e.g. riot, property destruction, escape can occur.
The reasons for building or installing new septic tanks is wasteful for the taxpayer as they would rather keep the old septic tank and get it to work right and save lots of money. Common sense tells us that if we keep buying new septic tanks and leave the filled up tanks on the property the result is a host of contaminated overfilled tanks within the property that is useless and shortly, poses a public safety. One can choose to keep filling up the full prisons by double bunking the population but as a direct result, the use of more water and dumping more waste than anticipated, the septic tanks fill up quickly and eventually, a blockage occurs and clogging the drains and drainfields. This requires expensive maintenance and labor we can ill afford. A blockage or a back up is very ugly and stinking and can cause political turmoil for those who endorsed the reasons for the overfilling of the tanks and now dealing with a smelly mess.
Backfilling sewage can seep into your house and your neighbor’s house and soon, the contamination is something you have to live with inside your own house. Never mind the expensive repair bills awaiting your pocketbook. There are ways to control your septic tank or prisons but it requires monthly oversight and close communication of the needs and events that occur from within [transparent accountability] shared with those who can provide relief to allow the operation to be proper and efficient [legislature]. There are no secret formulas for doing this as state government has proven established procedures to operate prisons that are often disregarded or ignored by those in power who exert their own management styles on the operation pleasing the political will currently in a position to exert their power and will upon the people.
The goal should be to keep your prisons running sound or your septic tank operating well, you need to inspect and pump them regularly [encourage sound post-releases into society] to know the current status of its condition and upcoming needs. This is called transparency with outside sources conducting audits and inspections according to American Corrections Association standards already accepted in our courts. Avoiding getting involved or disregarding the treatment of such a place will result in systemic failures that grossly jeopardize public safety. An untreated septic tank that is not inspected on a regular basis can create hazardous conditions e.g. methane gasses that accumulate inside the tank and eventually become lethal to those around them. Last but never least; you must watch what you pour down your drains into the septic tank. Perhaps if you are wiser to choose what you fill you septic tank with it will last longer and require less maintenance than before. Monitoring the amount of water poured into the tanks and what type of chemicals [alternative sentencing] are introduced into the system will balance your needs if the chemicals do not kill the beneficial bacteria [filtering the violent from the non-violent offenders] that can foster better environmental conditions for your septic tank or prison.
As an old commercial reminds me every now and then, you can pay me now or you can pay me later. The problem is the money used comes from the taxpayers and not the politicians who created this mess and are looking for new septic tanks to install rather than fixing the old ones littering the states with environmental damage or hazards and draining our water resources underground and taxing the people for their failures.