Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart inadvertently bring problems associated with the US prison system to the spotlight in their movie, GET HARD.
When making the movie GET HARD, Will Ferrell probably didn’t expect his movie to be the backdrop for an English essay paper. Most of Ferrell’s movies are gritty and raunchy with a lot of off-color comedy and made for entertainment purposes only and certainly not meant for Academy Award consideration. However, this movie brings to light a national problem–the plight of the United States prison systems. The movie centers on Ferrell, who is set up by his rich and powerful father-in-law and sentenced to jail for fraud and money laundering. Ferrell knows that the inside of prisons are full of hierarchies, violence, and sexual assault, so he enlists Kevin Hart to teach him how to survive in prison. And there it is. What many people would consider to be a fun topic for Ferrell to exploit, lies a troublesome fact that is associated with the prison systems in the United States; the most powerful nation on earth. Why is it that when the word prison is mentioned, images of violence, sexual assault and never being able to get a decent job come to mind? Is there any way that individuals serving time in prison can close their eyes at night and not have to worry about sexual assault, bodily injury or even death?
Reports from 2014 put the number of people serving time in the US prison system at 2,220,000 people. Are you kidding me? This number is astronomical. Put it this way: it is the populations of Rhode Island, Wyoming and Alaska combined! The sad thing is that this number will roughly remain the same due to the fact that new prisons just aren’t being built. Instead, people who are serving time for Schedule I and II narcotics and simple robbery are having their sentences cut to make room for more hard-line offenders. It fascinates me why there are so many people lined up going to jail. Jail should be a place that people try to stay away from.
It is my understanding from reading and watching the news, that our jails are overcrowded and many of the inmates are return offenders. I fail to understand why people who serve time in jail and get out, commit the same crimes again and have no problem returning to jail. Prisons are supposed to be punishment for people who commit crimes. Many times when reports from prisons come on the news, we see cable TV, clean clothes, air conditioning, ping pong tables and exercise equipment. If it weren’t for the bars on the cells, some prisons could pass for low-end motels. Prisoners have built their own little world around them and have effectively built a hierarchy of leadership and gang memberships that extends beyond the boundaries of prisons. They form alliances that actually extend out of the prison and into neighborhoods. Why is this allowed to happen?
I want to learn how hard or soft prisoners have it. I want to research why prisons did away with black and white stripe clothes, work details and chain gangs and substituted them for regular clothes, TV lounge areas and gang bangs. I want to learn why our tax dollars are going to a system that fails to deter people from repeating crimes and cannot protect its prisoners from violent assaults. I want to learn of any ideas that could improve our prison systems and get 2.2 million people out of jail and into the work force, paying taxes instead of taxes paying for them.