The Defendant: I am pleading guilty your honors but I'm doing it because I think it would be a waste of money to have a trial over five dollars worth of crack. What I really need is a drug program because I want to turn my life around and the only reason I was doing what I was doing on the street was to support my habit. The habit has to be fed your honors as you know and I believe in working for my money. I could be out there robbing people but I'm not and I've always worked even though I am disabled. And not always at this your honors, I used to be a mail carrier back in the day but then I started using drugs and that was all I wanted to do. So I'm taking this plea to save the city of New York and the taxpayers money because I can't believe that the DA, who I can see is a very tall man, would take to trial a case involving five dollars worth of crack, especially knowing how much a trial of that nature would cost. But I still think that I should get a chance to do a drug program because I've never been given that chance in any of my cases and the money that will be spent keeping me in jail could be spent addressing my real problem which is that I like, no need, to smoke crack every day and every chance I get, and if I have to point people to somebody who's selling the stuff so I can get one dollar and eventually save up enough to buy a vial then smoke it immediately and start saving up for my next one that I'll gladly do that, and I'll do it even though I know it could land me in jail for years because the only thing that matters at that moment is getting my next vial and I am not a Homo-sapiens-sexual your honors but if I need money to buy crack I will suck. . . .
I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime. It does nothing for the victims of crime, but perpetuates the idea of retribution, thus maintaining the endless cycle of violence in our culture. It is a cruel and useless substitute for the elimination of those conditions--poverty, unemployment, homelessness, desperation, racism, greed--which are at the root of most punished crime. The crimes of the rich and powerful go mostly unpunished.It must surely be a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit that even a small number of those men and women in the hell of the prison system survive it and hold on to their humanity.