The Point of Prison


Don: Well, Dick, this is it. The tank.

Dick: Oh. Oh, look at them, their deep-set eyes darting with evil brilliance. What’d they do, Don?

Don: Well, that one’s a loiterer, and that guy was screaming at a fire hydrant.

Dick: You, fresh meat, what are you in for?

Inmate: Up yours!

Don: Don’t rile ’em up. They’re bad news.

Dick: Oh, this place is so creepy, Don. I knew jails had bars, but I didn’t know they were so confining.

Don: That’s kind of the idea.

[…]

Don: So, if he can’t pay his fine, he just – well, he’ll just sit there for a few days and think about what he’s done.

Dick: And that’ll teach him that jail is a dirty, horrible place, and he’ll never want to return?

Don: Exactly. In fact, this is the fifth time he’s learned that very lesson.

Dick: The fifth time? Why does he keep coming back?

Don: Ah, it’s just the way they are.

Dick: Then what’s the point of this place? It’s just a revolving door, a hopeless hotel whose residents check in and out between crimes. And you, Don, you’re nothing more than a bellhop with a badge.

Don: I am not.

Inmate: Hey, can I get a clean towel and a Wall Street Journal?

Don: Will you shut up in there! Now, listen here, Dick, this system is the only way we’ve got to teach these guys a lesson.

Dick: What about giving them a little guidance?

Don: Uh, we don’t do that here.

Dick: Well, maybe you should. Unlike you, I happen to have faith in the human race. I can take any one of these men, rehabilitate him, and make him a productive member of society.

Don: You’re mad, Solomon.

Dick: Am I? Come on, you, you’re coming home with me.

Don: What are you doing?

Dick: I’m going to pay his fine and make him whole again. As god is my witness, nothing will deter me from saving this man.

Don: Ok. His fine is $1,500.

Dick: Ooh. How much for the skinny one?

Don: Uh, 750.

Dick: And the short hair in the corner?

Don: Eddie? 100 bucks.

Dick: Wrap him up. I’ll take him.

– Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner: 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996-2001)

1 thought on “The Point of Prison

  1. One writer referred to 3rd Rock as, “mental floss” – I thought that was rather clever and apt.

    Of course, career-wise, John Lithgow is immortal, but what happened to the rest of the cast? Like many successful ensemble sitcoms (“Welcome Back Kotter,” “Barney Miller,”), the majority of the cast that made it a success were never heard from again. “Taxi” was an exception, all of the cast went on to do other things.

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