In the odd chance that someone reading this hasn't seen this report on the ongoing, unfailingly foul and absurd Nikko Jenkins affair...
"Needless to say, our prisons are occupied by many desperate, volatile, and sometimes very dangerous people, many of whom have significant mental health issues, and some of whom suffer from a serious mental illnesses. Mental health practitioners could, and did, differ over the question of whether Nikko Jenkins was mentally ill in the strict, clinical sense, but it seems to have been clear to nearly all mental health specialists who came into contact with Mr. Jenkins that he, at the very least, had some serious behavioral issues, with the potential for dangerous behavior. Throughout his career as an inmate in our correctional system Mr. Jenkins exhibited violent behaviors that repeatedly got him into trouble, and that resulted in his being placed in a segregation cell for a high percentage of his time in the system. During these periods of segregation Mr. Jenkins was locked up alone in a cell for 23 hours per day, and was, by definition, separated from most normal human contact with others for many months at a time. He was also isolated from all but the most rudimentary programming that might otherwise have been made available to him. Programming (for example the Department's violence reduction program) is generally available to inmates in the Nebraska correctional system, but those inmates in segregation are not allowed to have access to this programming, even though they often are some of the most troubled and dangerous inmates in the entire system. All of this might have mattered only to Mr. Jenkins and his family, if Mr. Jenkins had been destined to serve a long sentence in the Nebraska correctional system, but the cold, hard reality was that Mr. Jenkins was an inmate - an often antisocial, deeply troubled, and potentially psychotic inmate - who was likely to be released from State custody in mid-2013."
"Inmate Jenkins has expressed having ongoing homicidal ideations and has made threats to hurt others once he is released from incarceration. He went into detail as to how he would kill others, similar to the recent Von Maur shootings. Inmate Jenkins appears sadistical and potentially harmful, due to homicidal ideations and ongoing verbal intentions to hurt others upon release."
taking over...Patient stated that he is trying to get help but the system is not listening. He
said that Opophus is telling him that the day is coming soon that “they will see.” “When
Opophus takes over that's it.” Patient spoke of how he is fighting the voice in his mind
(Opophus) to destroy Catholics and Christians...continued with homicidal rant about
Opophus taking him over and him killing others once released from prison if he doesn't
get some help."
On and on like this it goes. Jenkins repeatedly telling prison authorities that he was going to do exactly what he has done if not provided with legal help before being released back into the world, and being ignored.
Jenkins, as has been widely reported, was released on "good time". An official term for the early release that every prisoner gets since Nebraska prisons are overfull and our elected officials are both too righteously conservative to reduce or eliminate penalties for nonviolent crimes and too righteously conservative to spend tax dollars on a prison structure adequate to what their "strong" legal mandates actually require. 'Good time' then is quite clearly not the show of mercy or forgiving regard for convicts that the phrase might imply but simply a means for prison officials to do what circumstances leave them no choice but to do.
Still the phrase 'good time' does allow the Governor, among others, to cling to the belief that crime and public security failures result from a failure of courage to punish evil sufficiently; that 'strength' is the self-evident solution to and the lack of it the self-evident cause of every problem. The Governor than has responded to this brutish stupidity and the deaths that resulted by calling for the elimination of good time; more citizens of a self-declared free state confined against their wills for longer. And of course not a dime to house them properly or treat their underlying issues.
There are still some who might consider treating these underlying issues as being 'soft on crime'. Come off it. The dichotomy between only either 'strongly' blaming an individual for his own crimes or 'weakly' blaming society has never existed and you know it. (Nikko Jenkins is indeed responsible for the murders he committed. Just as various state officials are responsible for ignoring Jenkins incessantly stated intent to commit those murders .) If it makes you feel righteous to hold nothing but reflexive contempt for major criminals, if it makes you feel brave to suppose that those who theatrically demand the most brutal penalties for major criminals are the only ones who Really Truly object to murder rape or arson at all, so that you therefore are exceptional merely by being anti-murder, than fine. Simply know; as it is objectively known, that this position is worse than useless in making your nation, state, community or individual beloveds the slightest bit safer or otherwise better off. You are free to be as mastabatorily against the most obvious cartoon evil that you like. But unless you are so Manly and brave as to call for the immediate execution of everyone convicted of every criminal offense than you must accept that the state has no choice but to be so soft as to help them with their underlying problems. The alternative to this is to improve public safety in no way at all; to perform no public good at all; and of course simply not punishing criminals for their crimes at all would achieve just as much practical good with billions of tax dollars saved.
You don't want that surely. And I don't want anything quite so far as that either lefty though I am. So if you accept that punishment of those evil bad scumbag other people must be qualified and temporary, that a functioning society demands requires that scumbag to be just another someone on the street someday, then you must, if only at the pragmatic level, accept that there must be some softness in how we punish the scumbags. Imprisonment should be used sparingly, and the condition of jails and prisons must be such that they do not leave the offender in a worse state of soul than when they went in. Feed them properly and well. Speak to them in a natural manner as fellow humans. Treat their addictions, crimes though they may be, as human problems to be helped. Treat their delusions, violent as may be, as icy blades to be relieved with true human warmth.
Governor Heineman has said Jenkins should receive the death penalty. Whatever. Holding Jenkins responsible for his actions is again necessary but not the real problem here. The problem is that the murders he'd be executed for would have never happened if Jenkins had been given a helpful face to talk too. These crimes happened because of a failure to be soft enough towards a violent lunatic. That's just the facts.