|Polly Holmes, Montana Representative, 1970-1980|
My mom, Polly Holmes, was a housewife in 1970 when she decided the government could be more responsive to real people, ran for the Montana legislature as a nobody and won. One of her major concerns in the 10 years she served was to reform the way we treat prisoners, focusing less on our revenge and more on their rehab. She didn't get far, but VA Sen. Jim Webb has taken up where she left off, trying to reform the whole system. He just might succeed, too! Not for compassionate reasons, unfortunately, but for budgetary ones. If our system were honest we would almost all be in jail together. Or we could adapt a more humane response to those who make mistakes and try to encourage their cooperativeness. Then we could reap the creative energies of those currently locked up who made minor errors or smoked too many joints and only imprison those whose crimes are massive, like the Wall Street CEOs who stole millions of houses and pensions. That's what prisons are for.