It has been widely discussed over the past several years that the United States incarcerates more of its citizens than virtually every other country in the world. What happened recently on an Arizona highway suggests that, if prison is really supposed to be for the “baddest of the bad,” our country needs to rethink its policies on incarceration.
In the early morning hours of August 11, a bus carrying prisoners was involved in an accident on Interstate 8 in Arizona. The bus struck a tractor-trailer that had rolled over and was blocking the highway. Several prisoners were injured in the accident, with the bus driver being critically injured. It was a prime opportunity for the uninjured prisoners to escape, in the dark of night. Not a single one of them chose that option.
Granted, the prisoners were all minimum security inmates, in prison for things such as minor drug offenses and drunk driving. Maybe inmates who were serving longer sentences, for more serious crimes, wouldn’t have behaved the same way. Or maybe they would have, too.
Arizona’s ABC15 reports that all of the uninjured inmates remained on the scene, directing traffic and tending to the injured, until medical personnel arrived. The Department of Public Safety says that all of the inmates were accounted for, and the uninjured were transported back to prison.
These prisoners were in jail because they had made a mistake. But maybe the mistakes they had made weren’t bad enough that they should have been in prison to begin with. If you believe that prison is only for the worst people in our society, it’s hard to see how, given what they did after this accident, that these men could be called the “baddest of the bad.”
Here’s a video report, from CBS5:
Featured image via KPHO screen capture