Re: Inmate Rescue
I hadn't intended to say anything until a few more comments were in, but...
While I have had very few actual relatives in that position, I have known people who had served time -- sometimes for pretty nasty things. With one or two exceptions, all of them I've known were basically good people who made some very bad choices in life. It sounds trite, but it's true.
On an even more personal note: I spent a day in jail some years ago myself, and without fail, the inmates there treated me with courtesy and respect for my short stay, which helped make a horrific situation a good deal more bearable.
And from the other side: I had a neighbor (oddly, from around that same time) who was a retired head of homicide of the local police department. I used to visit he and his wife a fair amount and sit and talk, and she told me (with no little pride) of how her husband, even once he left the force, continued to receive letters and cards from inmates he had helped capture. These were all very respectful and even friendly, often citing him with being a positive aid in their turning their lives around, all because while they were in his custody, he invariably treated them with respect as human beings (as far as safety in the circumstances would permit) -- often the first time they had been treated that way in their adult lives. He himself was partially paralyzed, having had three strokes, and unable to talk; but his wife showed me some of the cards and letters, as he had valued their comments and taken it as evidence that he had not only done a good, but a humane, job in a difficult profession -- something which was very important to him.
So yes, even those who have sometimes done horrendous things can (and often do) have more than a spot of good to them which comes out under the right conditions. For my part, I'd like to see society gradually change to where the focus is on genuine reformation and rehabilitation of people in this situation, not only for their sake, but for that of the society as well -- call it learning to make a wise use of available resources, if you will....