It's like a story I saw on the news the other day, a man cut off a woman's nose because she refused to marry him, and in turn, he is to receive the same disfigurement as his punishment. The code of Hammurabi, an eye for an eye.
While I can see both sides of this argument, in our society, all it takes is PERCEPTION
for people to make up their mind, no matter what the truth actually is, and the common perception is that our system is too soft on criminals, because there are way too many broadcast media that have painted our prison system in this light, with t.v.'s, weight rooms, etc., to the extent that some homeless would rather commit a crime and spend a night in jail than out on the street.
However, no, I have never worked on the "inside," but I have known some in there and some who have worked in there, and yes, that prisoner's commissary pays for any "ammenities" they enjoy beyond the basic needs. This comes either from the meager earnings they make in prison doing whatever they are tasked with or from families/friends who visit and leave them money. There are even some prisons now who have begun to charge the inmates for their stay in order to recoup some of the costs to taxpayers.
Where the real expense comes in, in my mind, is that too many of these cases are mired in appeal after useless appeal, which drags out these extended prison stays way too long. I say, if they have had their constitutional right to a trial by a jury of their peers, minimize the appeal process, ONE appeal, and if convicted agian, then they go by whatever means their victim did. Lethal injection, are you kidding me??? Give 'em back what they gave someone else, that person never had a choice!!!
This nonsense in America has gone on long enough. Simplify the process and let's move on with something else!