Episode #8- Narco Mindset Podcast - Prison Reform/Massive Incarceration- Part 1
Prison Reform/Massive Incarceration- Part 1
March 18, 2020
Host: Jorge Valdes Ph.D. - An Author, Speaker, Blogger, Podcaster, and You Tuber
Co-Host: Anthony Petrucci
In today’s episode, Dr. Valdes takes on the subject of massive incarceration, which it’s a direct by-product of the failing war on drugs. Dr. Valdes suggests that when the government tells us that they are tough on crime because they want to make us safer is a lie. Dr. Valdes presents that America is 4.25 of the world’s population, yet it has over 24% of all the inmates in the world. He talks about how corruption is the cause behind this lie that the government tells all of us. I believe we see inmates as nothing more than inventory to enrich many companies who pay politicians enormous amounts of money to incarcerate people and make sure that once they are in prison, they stay in jail. We must hold our elected officials accountable because everyone can be a victim of this horrific and self-serving laws. Inmates can be rehabilitated and become contributing members of our society. Our taxpayer dollars are spent on making corporations productive and pay for political campaigns while our kids are dying of much-needed medicines and mental health treatment. It’s time we say: ENOUGH!
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TRANSCRIPTION OF EPISODE #8
INTRO: Before we watched TV shows and movies on Narcos, and even before Pablo Escobar’s rise to fame, there was one man who was the ultimate Narco. He lived the Narco life of greed, money and power but found a way to reclaim his life, and use his astonishing experiences to empower others to live a life of hope, meaning and redemption. Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast where Dr. Jorge Valdes shares his journey through life before and after the Medellín Drug Cartel. From torture and multiple prison sentences to how he refocused his life onto a path of principles learned as a Narco. It’s time to share that raw truth with you, right here on the Narco Mindset podcast with your host, Dr. Jorge Valdes.
Jorge: Today in the Narco Mindset podcast, the war on drugs is an embarrassment and a lie to help special interest groups. If the programs are in place, that person will change. He will come out and he will be a better citizen. He who has been forgiven much loves much. We’re not interested in rehabilitation, we are interested in warehousing. America is only 4% of the world’s population but yet we hold 23% of all the inmates in the world because warehousing pleases those people. Create laws, lots of money. Prison reforms mean many, many things. It’s a holistic approach. A moral person does not steal, kill and rob. Demand that this insanity of massive incarceration stops.
Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast. I am your host, Dr. Jorge Valdes with my co-host, Anthony Petrucci. Anthony, in the last episode, we tackled what we called the failing war on drugs. In the end, we concluded three things. One, the war on drugs is an embarrassment and a lie to help special interest groups make millions by [inaudible 00:01:47] political campaigns. Number two, no one will ever eliminate the drug cartels, and that’s something that we hear politicians constantly saying, “Well, we’re going to send Special Forces, and we’re going to do this and that, and we’re going to eliminate the cartels.” As we talked about it, that’s impossible. You kill one and a worse one comes along. Three, we do not give up. Just because we can’t win the war on drugs doesn’t say, “Okay, we could give up, open up our borders, let’s go home and see whatever happens.” No, we change the strategy, and we make a difference.
We briefly talked about what I call five pillars of what should be our new war on drugs. Taking the focus off coming after the cartels in a quest for the impossible, which is to wipe them out, and then we take another approach from the failing approach we’ve had for the last 40 years. We refocus on how can we make a difference. Those five pillars are exploitation by international corporations of farmers. We gave examples of how I used to pay the banana growers the equivalent of $1,000 when the banana companies were just paying them $10. We go after pharma and we talk to them about their moral responsibility to help our country. Again, drugs don’t kill people. People kill themselves with drugs but at the same time, it is important for us to go ahead and approach pharma and tell pharma, “Listen, you make millions and millions of dollars off these drugs. You need to do your part to help these youth.”
The third process is to go and talk to celebrities and athletes, and to urge them to follow what I call the LeBron James model. The LeBron James model where he went into his communities, and went ahead and literally changed Cleveland. He created a school for not only high-risk kids but for the parents. He took a very holistic approach. Then the fourth prong is once we approach government and we let them know ... What I mean with let them know is, citizens need to realize they have power. They need to realize that our tax-payers are the ones that are being wasted away while at the same time, there’s kids are dying because they have rushed in their insulin. We need to approach government and press hard on legislators realizing that no political figure goes up to Washington and says, “Here I am. I’m your politician. I’m your representative. I’m your senator.” We elect them so we need to be involved in elections, and we need to really hold people accountable. When they break their promises to us as they have done for many, many years then we vote them out of office.
I want to pause and say I’m not saying that every politician is corrupt, every politician is bad but many are. I know for a fact because I paid many of them off before. We go ahead and appropriate some of that money to help create youth centers, to help create different things that are going to go ahead and impact and help our youth find relief and finances for their desperation. Last, which is what we’re going to focus about today, is addressing the massive incarceration and the lie that we’ve been told over and over again that being tough on crime and creating those laws are made to keep us safe when in reality, as your study and research has done, it does the opposite. It makes the community more unsafe. I know you’re writing an amazing book that will highlight in fact how we can rehabilitate people, make our society safer and have billions in tax-payers’ dollars that can be better used to provide much-needed healthcare and other items too so many good Americans. My brother, what are your thoughts on these items?
Anthony: I believe there’s a lot of misconceptions about the criminal justice system, and so many people are sent to prison, and in mainstream society, it’s believed that people are paying their debts to society and the expectation is that prisoners will be rehabilitated, learning their lessons, changing their bad behavior, and they come out of prison as better people. Is that what really happens?
Jorge: You know, in reality, if the programs are in place if the programs are really in place for an inmate to get an opportunity to become a better person. Look, at the end of the day, we’re all human beings. Everybody wants to be better. Nobody just decides, “Listen, I just want to be bad.” There’s a lot of circumstances. It’s easy for us to live in the white suburbs, to point a finger and look at the ghettos or look at the minority neighborhoods and say, “Look, all those people are this and those people are that.” You have to see ... I looked at my grandchild the other day and I said, “This child is blessed. This baby is going to have every opportunity that he’s going to need to succeed.” But yet, immediately I started thinking about those babies born in crack houses. They were created by the same creator. It’s not the person that is the problem, it is the circumstances around the person.
People in prison, they want to change their lives. Many have a religious conversion. They want to be a better person. They want to be a better father. They want to be a better human being. If the programs are in place for that person to learn a vocational trade, to go through therapy, to go through many, many different programs that have come and gone in the prison system, then that person will change. He will come out and he will be a better citizen. It’s like the old biblical saying, “He who has been forgiven much, loves much.” These people can come out of prison and make a difference in our society. They can prevent kids from falling in the same vicious cycle that they fell into. But no, we don’t want to create this program because in reality, what do we want? What we really want is nothing but massively warehouse these people. We’re not interested in rehabilitation, we’re interested in warehousing. So, yeah, I believe without a doubt that if the programs are in place, people can become better, and they can come home and be a better contributor to society.
Anthony: One of the things I’ve really learned from the research doing the book that I’m writing with you on criminal justice reform is this difference between warehousing and rehabilitation. You’ve touched upon these issues but what do you think really drives the prison system in the United States? What are the motives of those in power would you say?
Jorge: Let’s start by this, it costs $100 million to run a political campaign for the Senate, the House. My question is, where does that come from? Where does that money come from? If we look at, for example, when I went to prison in 1979, I was the 100,000th federal inmate. Well, today, there’s millions and millions. So, where does the incentive come? It comes from, number one, private prisons, special interest groups that give tons of money to political campaigns so that they can create stiffer sentences so that then, in turn, these people can stay in prison. How is it that America is only 4% of the world’s population but yet we hold, what, over 23% of all the inmates in the world? It’s ridiculous. You see how some of the states are beginning to make it illegal to have private prisons. I don’t even want to tell you what happens in a private prison. In the federal bureau prisons, you are at least treated decently.
The state prisons have a lot to go, man. The situations are horrific but in the federal prison system, you are treated more like a person, and you are treated as you treat the others. But in these private prisons, it’s all about the bottom dollar, so it’s all about how can I feed and keep this content, let’s call a human being content, or this piece of inventory in here for as cheap as possible so that I can make more money. That is just one of the special interest groups. Think about all the people that supply commissary to the prisons. Think about the pharmaceutical companies that supply drugs to those inmates.
We’re warehousing thousands of inmates today that are suffering from mental illness. We’re not treating them as mental illness, we’re treating them like criminals, and it’s a horrific situation. Again, one of the things I’m going to intercede on every one of these points is the fact that America, we need to wake up because we think that this can never happen to anyone that we know of any of our children. It can happen to anybody. Think about it, what drives this ‘three strikes, you’re out’? These special interest groups have forced politicians to create stiffer laws only because, for example, the three-strike law. This kid could have been arrested for stealing a bicycle when he was a kid, and then caught with a joint. All of a sudden, he gets convicted one-third time, and he’s given a life sentence. You know, it’s ridiculous, but again, if we look at the massive amount of people that we have in prisons in America and how many little are we rehabilitating, it just goes to show you that the intent is not to rehabilitate but is to the warehouse because warehousing pleases those people that give us who create the laws lots of money.
Anthony: Obviously, everything you’re saying shows that there’s a need for change. There’s a need for reforms. Sometimes it’s called prison reform. You and I talk about it more as criminal justice reform, the bigger picture of the types of changes. I really think we should dig into that, of what that reform is. I think a lot of people had heard last year about how Kim Kardashian advocated on behalf of a mother who was given this really firm, strong, overly stringent sentence and time in jail, and she ended up getting support from the White House to reverse that. That’s one form of criminal justice reform but we have found, especially me and this doing research for the book that the reform and for prisons is also around training for jobs, it’s around changing the culture of prisons, having good treatment of inmates and their families, helping inmates also keep a connection to the outside world as well as really cultivating more even spiritual awakening and morality as something that’s more acceptable to allow inmates to look at their own hearts, and to change from within in order to become better people. I want to dig into these different topics but if you don’t mind, how do you define criminal justice reform?
Jorge: You know, I think, Anthony, you did a great job of breaking it down. Prison reform means many, many things. It’s a holistic approach. Number one, it is addressing the present situation. Let’s begin with the prison. One of the problems that a lot of state prisons are having now, for example, the State of Louisiana. Think about it. I just visited a penitentiary where all of a sudden, I went through the metal detector that was at the entrance to the prison, was not for visitors, it was really for guards. You ask yourself, these people are making very, very minute wages. A lot of them can’t even pass a drug test. So then, of course, what does it create? It creates a big drug problem inside the prison. A big contraband network.
I tell that even in the federal prison when I was there, who brought me money? Who brought all the commodities I wanted? Who brought me lobster when I wanted? It was always prison staff. Everybody could be bought, especially when you're paying these people such a minute amount of money. So, it begins with, number one, paying people fairly so that you can get a quality human being to do this job. If you get a person that is just uneducated, I mean, think about it, having drug problems, horrific backgrounds, how do you think that person is going to treat the inmates? At the same time, they need to realize that those inmates are human beings but if they're treated like animals … It’s like my dog. My dog loves to lick you. He’s just the most gentle dog but if I hit him all the time, eventually he’s going to say “Look, enough of this crap, I’m going to bite you.” That’s what happens. With that support, the prison reform begins there.
I applaud President Trump because every president that we’ve had talks about prison reforms but, I want to pause here, none of them has had the guts to do a damn thing about it. We see here how celebrities, just what we talked about, get celebrities involved in this problem. Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, how they teamed up with Jared Kushner, and because President Trump has the clout that he has, he was able to convince Republicans who have been against prison reforms forever. Here we see celebrities teaming up, and what was the end result? The second chance. Now, it was small at the beginning but it was a beginning that has never happened under any president. That woman, my God, she’s never seen $5,000 in her life and been there for what, I don’t know how long she has been there, for almost 20 years. Jorge Valdes made millions and millions, and I got 10 years. I mean, there’s a lot of different variables but that becomes another point.
We talk about religious conversion. Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola has had the greatest success. Why? Because they instituted a program using the Bible as a book of morals. They instituted a program called moral rehabilitation. It’s real simple. A moral person does not steal, kill and rob. If you change the mindset of the human being, number one, by setting up programs where they can better themselves, they, in turn, feel better about themselves. When they feel better about themselves, they want to start sharing that with their brothers, and who’s better to really transform the life of an inmate than another inmate? Right now, we’ve covered three points. Religious conversions are very real. Now, a lot of people have said, “Oh my God, that’s Jorge’s jailhouse religion.” I want to stop here and say real clear, and forgive my language, that’s a lot of bullshit. Listen, it’s not easy to be a Christian inside a prison. Not by no means. I can tell you stories after stories after stories. Here’s the problem. We have a lot of jail ministries where a lot of people go to the prisons, and they tell these inmates about Jesus and the love of Jesus and all these wonderful things.
But when this inmate gets released, the last thing that most of these jail ministers want to do is let the guy come back to their neighborhoods. It’s sort of like, “Listen, I’m glad I got to talk to you about Jesus in prison but just don’t come. I don’t want you sitting in that pew next to Susie.” We believe we go in there to convince these people that God can change them, that the Bible can change them, that having a relationship with Christ will change their lives but what happens? We don’t want to show that to them. When they come out, we don’t want to be there. Take me for example. I tell this story all the time. I came out of prison, and I didn’t find Christ in prison. I didn’t find Christ, Christ has never been lost but I didn’t change my life in prison. I did right before I went to prison then I went to prison, and I grew in my faith. I ended up getting a degree in Bible in prison. I get out and I went to Wheaton College to finish my Master’s.
Had I not had the opportunity to go to school, earn a PhD, become a college professor and be respected, had I did not have that opportunity, that saying that the counselor said to me as I was about to leave, “Jorge, why are you leaving prison? Look at yourself. You're a legend here. Everybody loves you. You’ve got housing, you’ve got food. Everybody admires you. you do whatever you want. Who’s going to hire you outside?” You know, in essence, I believe he was joking but I look back, and it’s very prophetic because he was right. Nobody would hire a twice-convicted drug dealer. So, had I not had the opportunity to start a new life through academia, you know what I would have done? I’ll come clean with you, I would have gone back to Miami and done what I knew I could do, sell drugs. Now, was my religious conversion, my relationship with Christ, false? Was it fake? No, it was real.
Listen, when your stomach aches, your children are crying, your ex-wife is bitching that you're not sending that child support, a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do to survive. This is what happens to a lot of those young people in there. They do find Christ. They do become better people. In a jungle, they behave like a human being. They change their lives, and then they come out, and all of a sudden, what happens? They have no choice but to go back of the same neighborhood they came out of. The same neighborhood that led them to the lives that they left and then ends up being that, they’re back to where they belong. That’s a component that nobody even considers. Why doesn’t the government get involved? Why doesn’t the government get involved in allowing some of these inmates to relocate? I can tell you so many that were made to go back to the same horror even when they had an opportunity to go to a different district, their parole officers would not let them. So, I’m like, “This is crazy. This is insanity.”
Now, the older I got, the more I understand the system, I realize, no, it’s not insanity. This is just to show that you come back and you become part of that warehouse. You become part of that inventory. It’s a very, very complex subject but we must start somewhere. I think that what you’re doing with this book and what we’re doing with the podcast is a beginning. We’re telling people, “Listen, my mother thought this would never happen to me.” It can happen to anybody. Circumstances in life change so drastically. You have no idea. They're trying to pass a law right now that exists in Louisiana that if you buy drugs and you get high with your girlfriend and she dies, you get charged with murder, and you’re given a life sentence.
They're trying to make that a federal law. Listen, these people are not criminals. These people are nothing but addicts that need help. We need to do that. We need to [inaudible 00:18:09] prison reforms to better understand mental illness. It is real. A lot of people suffer from it. A lot of these young people that are part of the system have been abused at an early age. Think about a kid. You have a beautiful one-year-old son. You are going to protect him, Anthony, with all you’ve got as I have protected my children. Think about that kid that no one was there to protect him when he got raped at 4, 5, 6, 7. Then he goes out and he’s angry with the world, he commits a crime but no one gives a damn. So, it’s part of the whole system.
If we believe that every human being is a creation of Christ, a creation of God, whatever God it might be to you, then you know what, why don’t we treat that creation with love and protect that creation. There’s a lot of components, and sometimes we might say to each other, “Hey, this is impossible. What can I do? I’m just one little guy.” I don’t buy that. Every single one of us can do something. If it’s nothing but begin a letter campaign to your politician or when elections come, go to those town halls. Hold them accountable. Demand prison reform. Demand that this insanity of massive incarceration stops. I know a lot of politicians that are great people. I know a lot that is a numbered horse.
I am going to tell you something. At the end of the day, you know what they do, they dance to whatever tune is played. We’ve just got to be aware and make this a better world. A part of this whole thing is stopping all these special interest groups from being able to give unbelievable amounts of money to politicians. Stop that. You and I are not electing people. Big pharma is electing people. NRA is electing people. The oil industry is electing people. The war machine is electing people. At the end of the day, we all have children, and we’ve got to do something because the situation is getting worse and worse.
Anthony: I interviewed somebody for the book that went through a spiritual awakening, they embraced faith and God. It resulted in him wanting to better himself, and that’s something you’ve kind of reflected on in your comments. He had a problem though. He had something like an eighth-grade education. He dropped out of high school or didn’t go to high school. He had to go and learn to read. He had to then get his GED with the equivalent of a high school diploma and bettered himself that way through education. There is a stigma, as you know, for people coming out of prison in terms of getting a job and getting reintegrated back into society, and the challenges that you’ve talked about are very real for many people.
But this idea of getting an education, and even if a prisoner had dropped out of high school or is not a proficient reader, any advice you have for how criminal justice reform can be approached. In terms of putting in programs for those people who perhaps are not ready to go get a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies like you did but even they are just trying to learn how to read, they may like to work with their hands, they may want to become carpenters or plumbers or others, more tradesmen. What do you think is some advice that you would give both to the politicians, the political leaders who have the influence to influence that as well as to people who have either been to prison or somehow are able to influence it in a positive way?
Jorge: One of the jobs that I had when I first went to Tallahassee in 1979 was teaching GRE to inmates. Anthony, a lot of people are going to be surprised that one of the things that I did when I went to prison in 1979 taught GED to inmates. There was a big push in the federal prison. This is amazing, I would say. This is back in 1979. 40 years ago. Over 55% of the prisoners did not know how to read or write. You know what, we ended up because, at that time, the push in the federal prison was they were holding each prisoner accountable for having to reduce that amount of people that were illiterate and couldn’t read or write. So, that’s the beginning of it.
Another thing that we used to have back then was vocational training. You know the case in Louisiana with one of the characters in your book where he ended up learning about power plants. Eventually, when he was released, he ended up having tremendous job opportunities. Going back to job opportunities, everybody is scared. One of the things that you're obligated to say when you apply for a position is, were you convicted? One of the things that are really interesting is that in reality, most companies that see a person that has been convicted of a crime, immediately he’s knocked off. He’s not going to get it. You know, there are ways that the government can put in place. Number one, that companies do not need to even ask about that. Number two is, and this can happen to parole. When you are out on parole, they control everything. They control where you live, what time you go to bed, what time you come home, what time you can work, etcetera, etcetera.
One of the things that people can do is when they're in prison, no one knows more about the double person you’ve become than your counselor inside the prison. If there's a valuation system or a grading system that you can take to your parole officer so that your parole officer knows that this person lived five years in horrific circumstances, very easy to get into trouble, and yet he stayed clean, he took this and this course, he got better, he became a better person and then given some type of grading system. Then the government can go ahead and give companies ... instead of these massive tax breaks so that corporations buy their stock back and make people a lot of money, well, why don’t they give the company’s back as an incentive to hire people that have been convicted. A person that has been convicted really wants to do good. Given an opportunity and show love, they’ll become the best employees you have. If you have a grading system where they say, “Hey, Anthony has got an A because he was in prison for X amount of years, not a single incident, on and on and on. This person has a B.”
At the end of the day, if the person is a risk, the parole officer does not force him to get a job because it was a risk in prison, he’s going to be a risk to a company. What happens is you have a thousand good ex-inmates there doing a great job, and you get one knucklehead, one knucklehead that does something wrong, the media jumps all over that. We don’t talk about the millions of Hispanics that have sacrificed their lives for this country, that work so hard, day in and day out. No, we talk about that one idiot that committed a crime. That’s all we highlight. It is the same thing with inmates. If we create an honor’s system, an evaluation system so that this person can go on and get a job. If the government goes to companies and says, “Listen, if you hire X amount of convicted fellas, we’ll make sure that they have the grade according to whatever job they are going to do, then you know what, I think it can really make a tremendous difference in society.
Anthony: One of the most important voices for criminal justice reform in the country is Warden Burl Cain whom you know personally, and he was the longest-running warden of Angola, the penitentiary in Louisiana. One of the things he talks about, which I’ll reflect in the book that will be published later this year is that we should treat people on a personalized basis. Many times, when people talk about prison reform, they think, well, everybody who is a certain type of crime should just be let go or their sentence reduced, and other more serious crimes should be held accountable. He actually came with that’s looking at the big populations but if you were to actually personalize it and go on a case by case basis, and that the criminal justice system would actually care about each person and look at their situation. There are times when somebody could be in a certain so-called class of crime and they should be let go. They should have their sentence vacated or reduced while others in the same class of crime have other indications that they should perhaps seek mental health or get mental health or stay in prison because they are very dangerous people.
There have been so many stories over the years in the media of people who went to prison with a misdemeanor and then they ended up committing a violent crime when they got out just months or a year later. What do you think of that idea of personalization? It would add some work for the government because the criminal justice system would actually have to care about individuals and stop treating everybody as this mass population, which I believe is why you have more warehousing because people have been de-personalized. They’re part of these just big populations. You’ve got leaders looking at data and all this sort of stuff. It’s time to get personal, and that could make a difference. What are your thoughts on that?
Jorge: No doubt about it. that’s a great point. The simple basis is that we should treat every individual as an individual. We should treat every person as a human. When you treat ... I saw this in prison. I saw inmates that ... Look, I’ll give you a perfect example. The gentleman that you are writing about in your book, Jaime. Jaime was a rough guy. Jaime came in, when he took his shirt off, he looked like he had a railroad track. He’d been stabbed I don’t know how many times, gone through hell in his life. He was a really, really tough guy. This guy, no education at all. In reality, when a friend of mine, Jim and then me, started showing him love and started showing that listen, men can love men in a very godly manner, and started treating him not just like an animal, and started understanding him.
For example, I remember one time that I got into an argument with the Imam because a lot of African-American kids are going to the [inaudible 00:27:55] prison, they are raised, a lot of them, by their grandparents. A lot of these grandmothers and grandfathers are very godly people. They are very churchly people. These kids have a very good, strong, Christian foundation. When they come in prison, and immediately the Imam would go ahead and give them a beanie and give them cigarettes, and before you know it, he’d become a Muslim. We never tried to convert anyone away from any faith or anything like that but when they saw us that we were different, and when they saw that we had no agenda, they would come and they would listen, and before you know, they wanted to become a Christian again. This idiot because listen, a couple of my best friends in prison were Muslims. There are great and amazing people that believe but there’s other charlatans that just use and hide behind just to get themselves a meaning. So, again, it is all individualized.
I remember, this guy came and he was pressuring this kid to go back. I told him, I said, “Look, he’s part of my group now and you need to leave him alone.” I remember he raised his voice at me, he started screaming at me, and all of a sudden, Jaime just hits him. Just hits him. Then he realized, when he hit the guy, he looks and says, “Oh, shit, you made me sin,” and just whooped the crap out of him. I’m like, “Jaime, Jaime, this is not how we preach the Bible.” You take him, and you look at him today, he’s the sweetest human being in the world. I don’t think Jaime could hurt a fly. Why? Because he was shown, love. I talk a lot about the most hardened of all hearts will respond to unconditional love. If we treat each individual how they are because I’m going to tell you also, there are some bad people that do not need to ever come out of prison. They go to prison as a hardcore criminal, they live the hardcore criminal life in prison and they just don’t give a damn about anything. They need to be in prison. That’s who prison is made for.
But you take one of the persons that you’re interviewing, my ex-codefendant, yeah, he had a horrible background not even in violence of a big-time smuggler, he escaped from federal prison but here he is in his late seventies, dying, and they're still incarcerating him, and not giving him the proper treatment that he needs because it is very, very expensive. When he had two beautiful, amazing, very successful daughters that petitioned congressmen, they petitioned everybody to let the dad go. This guy could hardly walk. All the daughters wanted to be their dad to live the last years of his life, he had been away from them for thirty-somewhat years, and die in their home. They didn’t give him that. It’s ridiculous because it’s my tax-payers’ dollars, and yours, and all our listeners that paid to keep an old man in jail.
Prisons are not made for old people. Old people are not out there stabbing people. When you’ve been in prison for 40, 50 years like some men that I’ve known at Angola, you realize that these people have changed, man. When you are young, I remember doing things when I was 20 that now at 64, I get petrified just thinking about it. As much as we’ve covered, and as much as we talked about how inmates today are looked upon as nothing but inventory, and how we taxpayers are spending millions and billions of dollars, $185 billion-dollar-industry to warehouse men, not rehabilitate.
We talked about how men can be rehabilitated. How Warden Cain at Angola took men that were doing a life sentence, and he turned the bloodiest prison in the history of America into a safe prison. If the programs are there, men can be rehabilitated. Men can go out there and women, the same, can go out there and become positive role models. Listen, if you commit a crime, you need to pay, but it needs to fit the crime. The punishment cannot be dictated or influenced by special interest groups that give a lot of money to our elected officials so that they make tougher laws on crime and then lie to us. “We are making these laws because we want to keep America safe. Bullshit. It doesn’t keep America safe. It ruins America.
This is the largest incarceration rate on earth. It ruins the lives of so many people. Forget about the offender. Talk about the children. Talk about the wife. Talk about the parents. Talk about the negative effect it has on society. Talk about how we spend thousands and thousands, maybe $60,000-100,000 to keep an elderly sick inmate. Why? Because he’s a number. He’s just become another inventory piece. What crime can this man do? Most of them are all lying in bed, sick and dying. Why can’t they have a dignified death and go home and be with their families? We don’t think about it. But America, you need to think about that. This can happen to you. This can happen in your home town, this can happen to your children.
This tough on crime, three strikes you’re out is the biggest BS in the world. Think about it. I can tell you people that stole a bike when they were young, that maybe were caught with a joint of marijuana. Later on, they commit any petty crime, any non-violent crime, and all of a sudden, they’ve got three strikes. It doesn’t matter that altogether they didn’t add up to $1,000. They got three strikes, and they go to jail for life. Private prisons make tons of money, and at the end of the day, think about it, they are creating more hardened and hardened criminals, they're creating very unsafe prisons because if a man or woman has no possibility of ever going home, what’s there to tell them that they can change and that they need to change so they need to behave. It is a crime. We’ve allowed people to lie to us like zombies, and it’s my mission to call attention to this.
This problem is so enormous. We can spend literally the rest of the year on this podcast talking about massive prison reform. I want to applaud President Trump again because whether you like him or not, and I’m not saying I like him or don’t like him, but what I am saying is I give the man credit for having the guts to do something and start the first initiative. I give credit for Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. We spend our lives criticizing them, and yet they’ve done something. They’ve helped the President change the law and allow certain people. I mean, it’s not drastic but everything must begin somewhere. I thought Clinton was going to change it. He had a brother in jail. Actually, Clinton became tougher on crime. But then I thought Obama as a minority, and realizing that most of the victims of the massive incarceration minority would do something about it didn’t do anything. Nobody has done nothing.
With that, I think it’s enough for today. Again, I want to tell our listeners, I want to thank you so much for listening to the Narcho Mindset podcast. I urge you, go to my webpage, www.jorgevaldesphd.com, e-mail me, join our community, you get a free PDF of my book, Narco Mindset: Freedom Edition, and join this movement. For every two books, I sell on Amazon, I send one book to prison for free. I make no money. This is my legacy. This is my mission. I can read letters. Maybe I’ll do a podcast reading letters to you from prisoners, and stories of how reading my book, Coming Clean, changed their lives. It gave them hope. It gave them the ability to realize, “Hey, that if Jorge Valdes changed, man, I can change.”
The world is dying because of a lack of hope. If we can reach a million kids. Think about this, a million books sent to jails across America, and if we just have one-tenth or one-hundredth of a percent of people that would read that book, and change their lives, and don’t ever become a Jorge Valdes or a minor offender, and realize that they were created by an amazing creator, for something much greater, I believe that that in itself, we have changed the world. So, again, thank you for listening. Thank you for supporting this podcast. My name is Dr. Jorge Valdes, and I will be with you again next week. God bless you and have a wonderful day.
OUTRO: We’ve come to the conclusion of this episode of the Narco Mindset podcast but your path towards hope, meaning and redemption continues. For more information and resources to help you on your path towards finding a life built on integrity, honor and truth, head to jorgevaldesphd.com, and join our community. We appreciate you joining us for this episode, and look forward to helping you find your turning point right here on the Narco Mindset podcast.