Reform vs. Incarceration

digitalbeachbum
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Reform vs. Incarceration

I was watching a program last night about Russian prisons and found it to be more in line with how I think prisons in the US should be run.

For the most violent of prisoners were two to a cell with no windows. Doors were triple protected with no way to communicate with the other cells. When they left the cell they were handcuffed and forced to walk bent over. Even outside, when given exercise, they were put in to a cell three times larger than their "home cell" and prevented from seeing the sky.

For lesser crimes, life was not as hard, but still very difficult compared to American prisons. From what I saw, prisons in the USA are a fucking cake walk compared to Russian prisons. No weights, no television, no freedoms. They did the crime, so now they are punished.

While white collar crime in Russia is high, violent crimes have decreased three fold in recent years. Handguns are still obtainable, but even for the underground it is difficult to operate. Drugs are a highlight of crime too.

Should prisoners be reformed or incarcerated? I feel reform of a prisoner is very limited because of the lack of opportunity on the outside. Most of our incarcerated individuals are black or Hispanic, many with out higher level of learning/degrees. This is why the "revolving door" is so common and why many criminals don't fear going back to prison.

Would stricter prisons reduce crime? Would taking away the television, conjugal visits and other freedoms stop US prisons from being a place of "summer camp" mentality?

 


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Are you talking about Black

Are you talking about Black Dolphin prison ?   If it's the one I think it is, the prisoners are not even allowed to lay in their bunks during the day.  There are worse prisons / penal colonies that even BD in Russia, much worse.   Google "Russian prison brutality" and you will see.   Even the prisoners' physical and mental health becomes a target of retribution.   There are no prisoners bulked up from lifting weights, either.   They are purposely kept under fed and weakened.   If a prisoner pisses off the staff sometimes the guards will come into the cell and destroy what ever meager furnishings / possession they may have.  Sleep deprivation is also used to keep the inmates broken down if I remember correctly.

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Violent crime in Russia

Violent crime in Russia "fell" because they decided to stop counting. As many as 90% of their crimes go unreported and it is quite likely that if you get murdered they won't even bother to identify your body let alone investigate it. Russia is hardly a good example of how to deal with crime.

http://www.sptimesrussia.com/index.php?action_id=2&story_id=33389

 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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digitalbeachbum wrote:I was

digitalbeachbum wrote:
I was watching a program last night about Russian prisons and found it to be more in line with how I think prisons in the US should be run.


How did you manage to miss the history of penal reform?  Do you want to bring back hard labour - the treadmill, the crank or picking oakum?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penal_labour


The Gladstone Report dated 10th April 1895 decries the silent system, cellular isolation and unproductive labour, which are all criticized heavily. The report argues that 'the main fault of our prison system is that it treats prisoners too much as irreclaimable criminals, instead of reclaimable men and women'.

Oh, but Peggotty, you haven't given Mr. Barkis his proper answer, you know.
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The justice system needs to

The justice system needs to focus on rehab. It needs to do a lot more. Education, job training and placement, counselling, etc. The majority of crime can be blamed on education and poverty. The rest on crooked politicians.

That said, not all people are willing and able to be rehabilitated. It won't work with everyone. Some just have to be locked up for the safety of others. But psychiatric hospitals are the place for that, not prison.

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Vastet wrote:The majority of

Vastet wrote:
The majority of crime can be blamed on education and poverty. The rest on crooked politicians.


The only time we hear anything about reforming criminals are when certain politicians are up for election or are running for a specific position.


Vastet wrote:
That said, not all people are willing and able to be rehabilitated. It won't work with everyone. Some just have to be locked up for the safety of others. But psychiatric hospitals are the place for that, not prison


Some individuals have deep ingrained problems or psychopathies that prevent them from ever understanding what they've done. This is especially true for sex offenders, who don’t get much from prison. Are prisons being used as an overflow from psychiatric wards to accommodate the mentally ill when beds can't be found in general hospitals, nursing homes and homeless shelters?
 

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ProzacDeathWish wrote:Are

ProzacDeathWish wrote:

Are you talking about Black Dolphin prison ?   If it's the one I think it is, the prisoners are not even allowed to lay in their bunks during the day.  There are worse prisons / penal colonies that even BD in Russia, much worse.   Google "Russian prison brutality" and you will see.   Even the prisoners' physical and mental health becomes a target of retribution.   There are no prisoners bulked up from lifting weights, either.   They are purposely kept under fed and weakened.   If a prisoner pisses off the staff sometimes the guards will come into the cell and destroy what ever meager furnishings / possession they may have.  Sleep deprivation is also used to keep the inmates broken down if I remember correctly.

Black Dolphin was one of them, there were three last night, one progressively worse than the next.

I'm of the opinion that letting the prisoners bulk up and lift weights (here in America) is a bad idea. I believe that allowing them communication to the outside world is a bad idea also.

I do not believe in beating prisons, but I think reform is worthless. So few prisoners "reform". We have a very high repeat offender rate.

 


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Beyond Saving wrote:Violent

Beyond Saving wrote:

Violent crime in Russia "fell" because they decided to stop counting. As many as 90% of their crimes go unreported and it is quite likely that if you get murdered they won't even bother to identify your body let alone investigate it. Russia is hardly a good example of how to deal with crime.

http://www.sptimesrussia.com/index.php?action_id=2&story_id=33389

 

While the report might be false it doesn't change the fact that their prison is a worth while look; it's a good example to use during this discussion.

 


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Peggotty

Peggotty wrote:

digitalbeachbum wrote:
I was watching a program last night about Russian prisons and found it to be more in line with how I think prisons in the US should be run.


How did you manage to miss the history of penal reform?  Do you want to bring back hard labour - the treadmill, the crank or picking oakum?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penal_labour


The Gladstone Report dated 10th April 1895 decries the silent system, cellular isolation and unproductive labour, which are all criticized heavily. The report argues that 'the main fault of our prison system is that it treats prisoners too much as irreclaimable criminals, instead of reclaimable men and women'.

It depends on the crime. People who are violent crime or mass murderers, I believe should not have reform. They should be locked up for the rest of their lives and the should not have freedoms that we the public have as a privilege.

Minor crimes and other crimes which are non-violent, they should be treated differently.

I'm not talking about putting people in an "iron maiden"


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Balancing act

It’s a balancing act. Too much reform and people will say prisoners are being rewarded, too much punishment and it’s like going back to the 18th and 19th century.

Prisons are a billion dollar a year operation in jobs – it’s basic economics – you supply the criminals and we’ll supply the clothes, food, buildings, steel bars and the people to oversee them, while they work for 20 cents an hour producing and manufacturing products for major companies.
 

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digitalbeachbumWhile the

digitalbeachbum wrote:

While the report might be false it doesn't change the fact that their prison is a worth while look; it's a good example to use during this discussion.

Why would we want to look at mimicking a prison system which manages to be even worse than the one we currently have? Countless studies and many real life examples have demonstrated that a prison system based on punishment has high recidivism rates while those with a focus on rehabilitation have much lower recidivism rates. Even when people serve a short time in the US prison system they are released without any money, without a job and are expected to just go out into the world and fend for themselves.

Having any sort of criminal record can make it difficult to find honest employment even if they have some kind of useful skill set and they are automatically disqualified from federal student loans for even a misdemeanor drug possession charge (which by law is now all student loans- private companies are no longer allowed to underwrite student loans). So some stupid kid who got busted with too much pot or some cocaine has no chance of ever going to college, will have difficulty getting a job and probably have a bunch of personal issues. Guess what happens? It is easier to be a criminal. If Obama got picked up for all the drugs he has admitted to using as a kid, he never would have been able to go to college, never would have gotten a job at a university and certainly wouldn't be President. 

Our prison system takes in people who have committed minor crimes then puts them in a position where it is extremely difficult for them to take care of themselves when they get out. It isn't a surprise that within 6 months 60%+ are breaking the law again. Nor is it a surprise that so many are attracted to gangs which promise them protection on the inside as well as support on the outside that they simply can't get anywhere else. I doubt we could do a better job if we were trying to make criminals.

We should look at models like the Nordic model which has a pretty impressive track record. With a recidivism rate in the 20's they lead the world. While I doubt we could copy their model exactly because we have a number of factors they don't have to deal with (prevalence of gangs in the US for example), I think there is much we could implement in our system which would improve it. It is clear that a prison system which provides educational and occupational opportunities will drastically lower recidivism rates. One focused on punishing people for the sake of punishment creates really high recidivism rates.

 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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digitalbeachbum wrote:It

digitalbeachbum wrote:

It depends on the crime. People who are violent crime or mass murderers, I believe should not have reform. They should be locked up for the rest of their lives and the should not have freedoms that we the public have as a privilege.

Minor crimes and other crimes which are non-violent, they should be treated differently.

I'm not talking about putting people in an "iron maiden"

 

I'm with Skinner.  (the behaviorist)  You want real reform, teach people what is socially acceptable and how to obtain those goals.  Most of these people don't know how to hold a job or live like a civilized person and they aren't learning how in prison.  Sure, you have a few who are gaming the system, but the vast majority were shit on as youngsters.  Positive reinforcement works - punishment does not work. 

I am not talking about rewarding them for crime, but rewarding them for prosocial behaviors - behavior that leads to a decent job and an apartment in a decent part of town.  Most prisons - even today - even in the US - are hell holes.  Any attempts at "reform" are largely impotent from under staffing and under funding.  We are perfectly willing to pay for more guards and bigger prisons.  But we aren't willing to believe it would be less expensive to pay for an apartment, food, medical insurance AND full ride at Harvard for a year than to put the schmuck in prison for the same year.

It might even be more effective in the long term in reducing crime.

 

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digitalbeachbum wrote:They

digitalbeachbum wrote:
They did the crime, so now they are punished.

I’d advise anyone who thinks punishment and retribution works, to read Oscar Wilde’s ‘De Profundis’, where he’s both moving and at his bitchy best, plus ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’.  http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19410
 
The first was written while he was still in jail (1895) after being found guilty of ‘sodomy and gross indecency’ with his lover Bosie (Lord Alfred Douglas), the second when he was exiled, penniless, in France.   In prison, Wilde was subjected to the treadmill for two years, and picking apart okie (tar filled rope). Prison broke him physically and mentally and after release was dead within two years from meningitis, brought on by an ear infection which was not treated in prison.
http://www.mr-oscar-wilde.de/about/p/prison_years.htm

Before he died he wrote two letters to The Daily Chronicle where he explained what would happen to children (The Terror) once committed to jail, perhaps for stealing a loaf of bread, in solitary confinement 23 hours out of 24, hungry and nothing to eat but dry bread and water, which would give them constant diarrhea. Looking out of the jail window they would see the gallows and these children often as young as seven years.
http://www.unz.org/Pub/WildeOscar-1925v11A-00109

Along with The Gladstone Committee,Wilde’s letters helped to set in motion penal reform.
 

 

Oh, but Peggotty, you haven't given Mr. Barkis his proper answer, you know.
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Me personally

Me personally, I think part of the problem here is that there are people in prison that do not belong in prison.

I think that prison ought to be for violent offenders and people who are a danger to society in general.

I don't personally smoke pot, but locking people up for those type of offenses and other victimless crimes, is just plain ridiculous.

There are people I have read about that have gotten as much as five to ten year sentences for possession.

In the current city where I live, there is a crystal meth epidemic that is completely out of control.

It has gotten so out of hand, that this state has been known to give people five year sentences for just having the stuff. Yet, the epidemic still rages.

I think that a lot of alternatives could be done for people who have serious drug problems, rather than just throwing them in prison. Assuming that people with drug problems WANT to stop. They could be court ordered into rehabs, random drug tests, halfway houses where they are supervised, and that sort of thing.

I guarantee you that if the system was to try and find alternatives for people that have serious drug problems, that you would cut the prison population in half.

Of course, I don't see marijuana as a "serious" drug problem like say, meth or what not. I have never known of anyone to rob a gas station to get weed and think that they ought to just legalize it all the way across the board, put a tax on it, and be done with it. Prohibition ought to teach us a lesson about trying to control people's problems. Hell, legalize everything and be done with it. People are going to do that sort of thing anyway and the way that I look at it, keeping substances illegal, is just a good way to make the crooks rich. Same way the Mafia made a fortune off of illegal liquor in the 20s and 30s.

The main problem I see here, is that we have more people in prison than any other country in the world and the fact of the matter is, I don't think a lot of people in prison, need to be there.

Just my take anyway.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
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harleysportster wrote:Me

harleysportster wrote:

Me personally, I think part of the problem here is that there are people in prison that do not belong in prison.

I think that prison ought to be for violent offenders and people who are a danger to society in general.

I don't personally smoke pot, but locking people up for those type of offenses and other victimless crimes, is just plain ridiculous.

There are people I have read about that have gotten as much as five to ten year sentences for possession.

In the current city where I live, there is a crystal meth epidemic that is completely out of control.

It has gotten so out of hand, that this state has been known to give people five year sentences for just having the stuff. Yet, the epidemic still rages.

I think that a lot of alternatives could be done for people who have serious drug problems, rather than just throwing them in prison. Assuming that people with drug problems WANT to stop. They could be court ordered into rehabs, random drug tests, halfway houses where they are supervised, and that sort of thing.

I guarantee you that if the system was to try and find alternatives for people that have serious drug problems, that you would cut the prison population in half.

Of course, I don't see marijuana as a "serious" drug problem like say, meth or what not. I have never known of anyone to rob a gas station to get weed and think that they ought to just legalize it all the way across the board, put a tax on it, and be done with it. Prohibition ought to teach us a lesson about trying to control people's problems. Hell, legalize everything and be done with it. People are going to do that sort of thing anyway and the way that I look at it, keeping substances illegal, is just a good way to make the crooks rich. Same way the Mafia made a fortune off of illegal liquor in the 20s and 30s.

The main problem I see here, is that we have more people in prison than any other country in the world and the fact of the matter is, I don't think a lot of people in prison, need to be there.

Just my take anyway.

Couldn't agree more. Currently in our federal prisons drug offenses account for 47.4% of inmates, followed by weapons charges at 16.1% (not actually using a weapon, usually possessing one illegally- probably while getting picked up for drugs) and immigration at 11.9%. The next biggest one is "sex offenses" at 5.9%, I wonder how many of those are real sex offenses such as rape and how many are prostitution charges. Homicide, aggravated assault and kidnapping only account for 3%, robbery 4.2%, burglary/larceny/property crimes 4%. Basically, the stuff most people would consider serious all come in at the bottom of the list. 

http://www.bop.gov/news/quick.jsp#4

It is harder to find information on state prison populations because they are all reported separately, but they have a high ratio of drug offenses and other victimless crimes as well. The war on drugs is insane and has proven to be a complete failure. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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The problem is just like

The problem is just like with schools, we don't pay for positive results. We instead pay to keep the current system in place. The prision industry gets more money if they fail at rehab than if they suceeed. So where is any incentive to change?

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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EXC wrote:The problem is

EXC wrote:

The problem is just like with schools, we don't pay for positive results. We instead pay to keep the current system in place. The prision industry gets more money if they fail at rehab than if they suceeed. So where is any incentive to change?

That's a really good observation.


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harleysportster wrote:Me

harleysportster wrote:

Me personally, I think part of the problem here is that there are people in prison that do not belong in prison.

I think that prison ought to be for violent offenders and people who are a danger to society in general.

I agree.

There is a guy from Orlando serving 30 years for possession of a sheet of acid hits. He had no intent on selling but was given the sheet amongst other items, with out his knowledge. Turns out the guy who gave him the sheet of acid was a local cop informer. They set him up to make a big public arrest in Orlando when the Grateful Dead where here; which by the way was when we had a riot down town and the last time the GD performed in Orlando.

He shouldn't be in prison.

But, there are people in prison on minor charges who are bad people. They are in prison because the DA couldn't get them on bigger charges so they got them off the streets for possession or intent to sell.

Not every one in prison on minor charges should be released.

 


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Peggotty

Peggotty wrote:

digitalbeachbum wrote:
They did the crime, so now they are punished.

I’d advise anyone who thinks punishment and retribution works, to read Oscar Wilde’s ‘De Profundis’, where he’s both moving and at his bitchy best, plus ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’.  http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19410
 
The first was written while he was still in jail (1895) after being found guilty of ‘sodomy and gross indecency’ with his lover Bosie (Lord Alfred Douglas), the second when he was exiled, penniless, in France.   In prison, Wilde was subjected to the treadmill for two years, and picking apart okie (tar filled rope). Prison broke him physically and mentally and after release was dead within two years from meningitis, brought on by an ear infection which was not treated in prison.
http://www.mr-oscar-wilde.de/about/p/prison_years.htm

Before he died he wrote two letters to The Daily Chronicle where he explained what would happen to children (The Terror) once committed to jail, perhaps for stealing a loaf of bread, in solitary confinement 23 hours out of 24, hungry and nothing to eat but dry bread and water, which would give them constant diarrhea. Looking out of the jail window they would see the gallows and these children often as young as seven years.
http://www.unz.org/Pub/WildeOscar-1925v11A-00109

Along with The Gladstone Committee,Wilde’s letters helped to set in motion penal reform.

Extreme point of view. Some one arrested in 1895 for being gay? How about a mass murderer? Some one worthy of being punished?


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cj wrote:digitalbeachbum

cj wrote:

digitalbeachbum wrote:

It depends on the crime. People who are violent crime or mass murderers, I believe should not have reform. They should be locked up for the rest of their lives and the should not have freedoms that we the public have as a privilege.

Minor crimes and other crimes which are non-violent, they should be treated differently.

I'm not talking about putting people in an "iron maiden"

 

I'm with Skinner.  (the behaviorist)  You want real reform, teach people what is socially acceptable and how to obtain those goals.  Most of these people don't know how to hold a job or live like a civilized person and they aren't learning how in prison.  Sure, you have a few who are gaming the system, but the vast majority were shit on as youngsters.  Positive reinforcement works - punishment does not work. 

I am not talking about rewarding them for crime, but rewarding them for prosocial behaviors - behavior that leads to a decent job and an apartment in a decent part of town.  Most prisons - even today - even in the US - are hell holes.  Any attempts at "reform" are largely impotent from under staffing and under funding.  We are perfectly willing to pay for more guards and bigger prisons.  But we aren't willing to believe it would be less expensive to pay for an apartment, food, medical insurance AND full ride at Harvard for a year than to put the schmuck in prison for the same year.

It might even be more effective in the long term in reducing crime.

 

So people like Charles Manson? Reform or in prison for the rest of his life?

I'd say life and with out any privileges we have in society.

 


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Beyond Saving

Beyond Saving wrote:

digitalbeachbum wrote:

While the report might be false it doesn't change the fact that their prison is a worth while look; it's a good example to use during this discussion.

Why would we want to look at mimicking a prison system which manages to be even worse than the one we currently have? Countless studies and many real life examples have demonstrated that a prison system based on punishment has high recidivism rates while those with a focus on rehabilitation have much lower recidivism rates. Even when people serve a short time in the US prison system they are released without any money, without a job and are expected to just go out into the world and fend for themselves.

We should look at models like the Nordic model which has a pretty impressive track record. With a recidivism rate in the 20's they lead the world. While I doubt we could copy their model exactly because we have a number of factors they don't have to deal with (prevalence of gangs in the US for example), I think there is much we could implement in our system which would improve it. It is clear that a prison system which provides educational and occupational opportunities will drastically lower recidivism rates. One focused on punishing people for the sake of punishment creates really high recidivism rates.

I've seen all kinds of prisons, included the ones with out walls and with out guards. While Russia isn't perfect, it does have parts of it which we do not use and could be helpful in as a deterrent against repeat offenders.

Do you remember the CCP (Correctional Custody Platoon) while in The Corps? That is the type of prison I think should be for repeat offenders. You have to make them NOT want to go back to prison. No tv. No drugs. No smokes. No drinking. etc. Take away all the privileges.

Studies show that, in America, people are now against the death penalty and in favor for "life imprisonment".

Now groups are saying that "life imprisonment" is cruel and unusual punishment and that death would be a better option.

Hmmm.

http://www.npr.org/2011/12/15/143736447/death-sentences-drop-to-historic-lows

 


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Peggotty wrote:It’s a

Peggotty wrote:

It’s a balancing act. Too much reform and people will say prisoners are being rewarded, too much punishment and it’s like going back to the 18th and 19th century.

Prisons are a billion dollar a year operation in jobs – it’s basic economics – you supply the criminals and we’ll supply the clothes, food, buildings, steel bars and the people to oversee them, while they work for 20 cents an hour producing and manufacturing products for major companies.
 

I agree. Balance is the key, but right now there is no balance.

The prison system in the US is fucked up. It's been privatized and made in to a business. Judges and cops are on the take, sending people to prison just to make a profit

 


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digitalbeachbum wrote:I've

digitalbeachbum wrote:

I've seen all kinds of prisons, included the ones with out walls and with out guards. While Russia isn't perfect, it does have parts of it which we do not use and could be helpful in as a deterrent against repeat offenders.

Is there any evidence that the relative comfort level of a prison acts as a deterrent? I remain unconvinced that there is some large portion of our population that gets all excited about going back to prison. A few crackpots sure, but not a significant number of people.

 

digitalbeachbum wrote:

Do you remember the CCP (Correctional Custody Platoon) while in The Corps? That is the type of prison I think should be for repeat offenders. You have to make them NOT want to go back to prison. No tv. No drugs. No smokes. No drinking. etc. Take away all the privileges.

Yeah, and I think the CCP can properly be labeled a rehabilitative approach as opposed to punishment. I think the max sentence is 30 days, but during that time they are sent to classes, lots of PT and put to work doing unpleasant, but often useful labor. I agree that we should keep prisoners busy doing useful things. They should have classes, counseling and discipline so that when they get out, they are better more educated people. It would make sense to have a more personal and hands on approach to rehabilitation combined with much shorter sentences. As far as tv and other luxuries, I think such things are useful to offer as rewards for those being incarcerated long term. I doubt whether or not there is a tv in the cell influences recidivism at all.  

 

digitalbeachbum wrote:

Studies show that, in America, people are now against the death penalty and in favor for "life imprisonment".

Now groups are saying that "life imprisonment" is cruel and unusual punishment and that death would be a better option.

Hmmm.

http://www.npr.org/2011/12/15/143736447/death-sentences-drop-to-historic-lows

I oppose the death penalty solely on the grounds that our jury system does not lead to perfect results. Innocent people can and do end up on death row. We can pay someone wrongly imprisoned for 20 years a few million and say "sorry". You can't make up for killing them. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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digitalbeachbum wrote:

The prison system in the US is fucked up. It's been privatized and made in to a business. Judges and cops are on the take, sending people to prison just to make a profit

 

I totally agree with that one.

For instance, some of the alternative drug programs in this city cost 200 dollars a month, plus paying for drug tests to participate. I know because of a co-worker that entered into one to save his job and avoid jail. But guess what ? No money ? No job ? = No program and prison.

And prison IS a big corporate business.

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EXC wrote: The problem is

EXC wrote:
The problem is just like with schools, we don't pay for positive results. We instead pay to keep the current system in place. The prision industry gets more money if they fail at rehab than if they suceeed. So where is any incentive to change?

Prisons work in the same way schools do, if there are no prisoners there is less funding so they must maintain a healthy population to keep the money rolling in.

 

harleysportster wrote:
I guarantee you that if the system was to try and find alternatives for people that have serious drug problems, that you would cut the prison population in half.

Somewhere between 2.3m/3million of the US population are behind bars – half of that figure are non-violent drug offenders who are self-medicating and have (allegedly) verifiable behavioural issues. 

  

cj wrote:
Any attempts at "reform" are largely impotent from under staffing and under funding.  We are perfectly willing to pay for more guards and bigger prisons.  But we aren't willing to believe it would be less expensive to pay for an apartment, food, medical insurance AND full ride at Harvard for a year than to put the schmuck in prison for the same year.

Statistics have indicated that the cost of keeping a prisoner in prison for one year exceeds the cost of educating prisoners for one year by a 10 to 1 ratio but reforms that educate and rehabilitate have been cut severely in the past ten years. The concept of prison reform has been replaced by policies that are punitive and in favor of long sentences if not permanent incarceration (Three-strikes law).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-strikes_law

 

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digitalbeachbum wrote:
Extreme point of view. Some one arrested in 1895 for being gay? How about a mass murderer? Some one worthy of being punished?

Doesn't matter. Reinforcement > punishment.

The World of Psychology, 5th edition wrote:

B.F. Skinner argued that punishment does not extinguish an undesirable behaviour; rather, it suppresses that behaviour when the punishing agent is present. But the behaviour is likely to continue

Quote:
Controlling behaviour by punishment has a number of potential disadvantages. The person punished often becomes fearful and feels angry and hostile toward the punisher. These reactions may be accompanied by a desire to avoid or escape from the punisher, or to find a way to retaliate.

Punishment is a stupid method of justice. Psychology has proven it as less effective than anything else.

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The World of

The World of Psychology;
Samuel E Wood
Ellen Green Wood
Eileen Wood; Wilfred Laurier University
Serge Desmarais; University of Guelph

Pearson Education, Canada
Psychology textbook

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digitalbeachbum wrote:So

digitalbeachbum wrote:

So people like Charles Manson? Reform or in prison for the rest of his life?

I'd say life and with out any privileges we have in society.

 

Big discussion on this issue.  Many people who are insane - literally, criminally insane - are put in prison because the jury knows they can specify life without parole unlike sending them to a psychiatric hospital where they might be released some day by some "bleeding heart" psychiatrist.  (I'm taking forensic psych this term, the instructor has been a practicing forensic psych for the last 35+ years.  He believes they should be locked up for life.)

My question in return is - which will cost less?  Teaching someone how to live a normal, productive, tax-paying life or someone costing us 10s of 1000s of tax dollars to keep them incarcerated for the rest of their lives? 

Most people would rather pay to have them incarcerated.  Most people believe revenge is the answer.  Most people say that this is what is best for the victim.  I haven't got a clue as to the "right" answer.  I just know that it is more expensive to incarcerate them. 

For some people, we - not me, not you, not the psychologists - do not know how to "cure" them, rehabilitate them, teach them to lead that normal life.  And my professor believes that it is a choice they make to hurt others and we should have no feelings of empathy for those people.  I am more of the "mad dog" school of philosophy.  If they can not be cured, if they are a danger to others, even though I am not fond of the idea of a death penalty - they should be executed.  Just executing them is an option.  To reduce costs, the determination of "suitable for death penalty" and the appeals process need to be reviewed for costs and timeliness.  That is, it should be more reliable and at the same time brief.  No room for error and less jink around legally.

But there are many others who can be taught and I think they should be. 

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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Peggotty wrote:Statistics

Peggotty wrote:

Statistics have indicated that the cost of keeping a prisoner in prison for one year exceeds the cost of educating prisoners for one year by a 10 to 1 ratio but reforms that educate and rehabilitate have been cut severely in the past ten years. The concept of prison reform has been replaced by policies that are punitive and in favor of long sentences if not permanent incarceration (Three-strikes law).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-strikes_law

 

Exactly.  I have personally voted against any and every 3 strikes law that ever turned up on the ballot where I have lived.  It is ridiculous, has no deterrent affect, and is overly expensive to put some pot head behind bars from their mid-twenties until they die at age 70+ or more. 

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

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Peggotty wrote

DP


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DP?

EXC wrote:

DP

DP?? I've noticed DP and TP written on posts. Could someone please explain what they mean?

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Peggotty wrote:EXC

Peggotty wrote:

EXC wrote:

DP

DP?? I've noticed DP and TP written on posts. Could someone please explain what they mean?

DP=Double Post

TP= Triple Post

Sometimes, people's computers can run a little slow or not respond at first to the Post button, and for some reason a response can appear two or three times on the same page.

So, in order to keep people from seeing your response two or three times, people just hit the edit button, delete the multiple posts, and type in DP or TP, just to let everyone know their response posted more than once.

Hope this helps Smiling

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Double/triple posts

okay thanks Smiling


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digitalbeachbum wrote:I

digitalbeachbum wrote:
I think reform is worthless.

 
First there has to be an idea that improvement of any human being is possible and then we can begin to think that improvement may even have a place in ‘justice’. If not we’re just saying ‘I’m good you’re bad, so stay out of my sight.’

Vastet wrote:
”Controlling behaviour by punishment has a number of potential disadvantages. The person punished often becomes fearful and feels angry and hostile toward the punisher. These reactions may be accompanied by a desire to avoid or escape from the punisher, or to find a way to retaliate.” - The World of Psychology
Punishment is a stupid method of justice. Psychology has proven it as less effective than anything else.


Our ‘justice system’ is based on punishment.  There are drugs, sex and brutal power structures in prisons and little positive role modelling.  How can that kind of environment make a better person or produce anything but inhuman beings?


 

cj wrote:
But there are many others who can be taught and I think they should be. 


The idea of prison reform is an oxymoron because if our prisons are brutal and the people who live inside have to learn to cope with violence (whether or not they were violent to begin with), they have to become violent in order to survive.  Drug addicts (almost half of prisoners) and petty criminals are put in with hard-core psychopaths and rapists.  How can we expect reform given these conditions?


The word ‘reform’ implying an actual improvement in the thing (or person) ‘reformed’.


cj wrote:
Most of these people don't know how to hold a job or live like a civilized person and they aren't learning how in prison…. Positive reinforcement works - punishment does not work.


If inmates don’t get paid anything for the jobs they do and we want them to change, as a starting point we need to at least encourage them to have a reason to get up in the morning by encouraging a work ethic (getting paid for working 8 hours in a laundry or canteen etc) which would provide them with more options when released.
 

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Vastet wrote:digitalbeachbum

Vastet wrote:
digitalbeachbum wrote:
Extreme point of view. Some one arrested in 1895 for being gay? How about a mass murderer? Some one worthy of being punished?
Doesn't matter. Reinforcement > punishment.
The World of Psychology, 5th edition wrote:
B.F. Skinner argued that punishment does not extinguish an undesirable behaviour; rather, it suppresses that behaviour when the punishing agent is present. But the behaviour is likely to continue
Quote:
Controlling behaviour by punishment has a number of potential disadvantages. The person punished often becomes fearful and feels angry and hostile toward the punisher. These reactions may be accompanied by a desire to avoid or escape from the punisher, or to find a way to retaliate.
Punishment is a stupid method of justice. Psychology has proven it as less effective than anything else.

That's one opinion.

 


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Much the way gravity is an

Much the way gravity is an opinion.

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Peggotty wrote:Prisons work

Peggotty wrote:

Prisons work in the same way schools do, if there are no prisoners there is less funding so they must maintain a healthy population to keep the money rolling in.

The concept of prison reform has been replaced by policies that are punitive and in favor of long sentences if not permanent incarceration (Three-strikes law).

This is where both the political left and right both get it wrong. The left wants to throw more money at a failed system that uses the money to create even more people dependant on the money like prision guard unions. They support a system of perverse incentives that make the problems worse.

The right just wants to put more people into cruel, overcrowded jails that reform very few with eye for an eye justice. Neither group wants to use science and reason to solve this.

I think since the government is broke, the only answer is semi-private business that can apply science and technology to the problem of reform. But they only get paid when people stay out of jail and in jobs.
 

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen


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EXC wrote:I think since the

EXC wrote:
I think since the government is broke, the only answer is semi-private business that can apply science and technology to the problem of reform. But they only get paid when people stay out of jail and in jobs.


Yes but if the choice is between corporations moving to the third world or opening up shop behind bars it would make sense to impose regulations.

 

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Peggotty

Peggotty wrote:

digitalbeachbum wrote:
I think reform is worthless.

 
First there has to be an idea that improvement of any human being is possible and then we can begin to think that improvement may even have a place in ‘justice’. If not we’re just saying ‘I’m good you’re bad, so stay out of my sight.’

First there has to be the individual who wants to conform to the parameters of society.

Some people will view the rules and regulations as not applying to them. Nothing we do for reform will assist them. They must be incarcerated for life because they will never change.


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Query:

How do we differentiate between those who are willing to reform and those who aren't when we give neither the opportunity to demonstrate either? 

When you say it like that you make it sound so Sinister...


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And equally important, what

And equally important, what do we do when the 'criminal' has superior ethics than society? Julian Assange is a hero, but he's locked up in a South American embassy in the UK just because he exposed the US governments illegal and immoral tactics, and rationally fears for his life and livelihood. Many people, I'm certain, in China and Russia and the US and UK and Israel and many other countries are in prison because of their ethics being superior to those of the state.

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Sinphanius wrote:How do we

Sinphanius wrote:

How do we differentiate between those who are willing to reform and those who aren't when we give neither the opportunity to demonstrate either? 

There would need to be a board of review or along this line (maybe a jury made up of people from society). Past history would also play a part, many could be tested to show condition of their mental status.


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Vastet wrote:And equally

Vastet wrote:
And equally important, what do we do when the 'criminal' has superior ethics than society? Julian Assange is a hero, but he's locked up in a South

I do not find Julian Assange a hero, but every one has an opinion.

Define "ethics"?


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http://www.merriam-webster.co

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethic

He's a hero for free speech and government transparency whether you like it or not.

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Vastet

Vastet wrote:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethic He's a hero for free speech and government transparency whether you like it or not.

Is there a line that can be crossed? Free Speech isn't about total freedom to speak your mind. There are limits.


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In my opinion there is no

In my opinion there is no line. Even inciting violence can be productive and good. All speech should be protected.

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Vastet wrote:In my opinion

Vastet wrote:
In my opinion there is no line. Even inciting violence can be productive and good. All speech should be protected.

I'd have to say that I agree.

I demand the right to say I am an Atheist and an Anti-Theist.

If speech is limited, who is going to decide what can be said, the context of what can/can not be said, and when it can be said ?

Much as I hate Westboro, they have the right to speak.....and I have the right to counter them.

Metaphorically speaking, I believe in the rule of talk shit get hit.

For instance, I am well aware that when I express my opinions, living in the Bible Belt, that I am going to receive backlash. I am prepared for that when I express my opinions. However, when someone expresses bullshit, I generally call them on it as a general rule.

Thing that causes a lot of problems, IMO, is that I encounter a lot of people that think it is perfectly ok to bash people, but they get highly pissed off and offended when someone counters it.

For instance, I had this guy not too long ago, that said to me "You fucking Atheists want to take away our right to speak."

"Not at all." was my answer. "I ride by four or five billboards every morning that promises me hellfire and damnation or begs me to turn to  jesus. Yet, one Atheist billboard and all you Christians freak the fuck out."

My point sailed right over his head.

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Vastet wrote: Even inciting

Vastet wrote:
Even inciting violence can be productive and good.

Which makes me think of an interesting question that was raised on Facebook not too long ago.

There is this local preacher, that claims it is ok to be a bigot, so long as the Bible backs it up. (He was talking about gays).

Now, a lot of his (and other local preachers) is backed up by a lot of fiery vehement rhetoric.

Anyway, the discussion veered off into the question of "If some young dudes from his church, go out and kick a gay man to death, should that preacher be held partially responsible for it ?".

Some said yes and others said no.

Some argued that if the young men were old enough to make a decision that was there choice, and others argued that the preacher's green light on okaying hatred of gays contribute.

Now, I DO remember reading an article about some White Supremacist leader that got bankrupted for inciting skinheads to violence. He got a monetary settlement against him when some skinheads kicked an Ethiopian student to death.

However, I think the context of this leader's preaching, was actually urging skinheads to go out and commit violence.

So it could be apples and oranges.

Sorry for wandering off of the topic of the original thread.

One two many cups of coffe has got me typeative this morning.

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digitalbeachbum wrote:First

digitalbeachbum wrote:
First there has to be the individual who wants to conform to the parameters of society.
Some people will view the rules and regulations as not applying to them. Nothing we do for reform will assist them. They must be incarcerated for life because they will never change.


I think some of the milder sociopaths can be ‘managed’  but that’s about all, so this category should remain behind bars.


Sinphanius wrote:
How do we differentiate between those who are willing to reform and those who aren't when we give neither the opportunity to demonstrate either?


The 45% that are in for drugs and petty crimes could be put into rehab at least for a couple of years which would clear a lot of space.


harleysportster wrote:
And prison IS a big corporate business.


Inmates have always been used for cheap labor but America has overtaken China to have the largest percent of its population behind bars (one adult in 100), currently 9% are in private prisons. Private companies can also ‘lease’ prisoners from the state for $3 a day, making them the ultimate flexible, inexpensive work force.
 

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harleysportster wrote:There

harleysportster wrote:
There is this~snip

You've hit on part of the reason incitement laws came to be. I'll say straight up that, emotionally, I don't much like the idea of a ringleader getting away with shit just because he never got his own hands dirty. And yet, the 'just following orders' line is bullshit. If I stand on a soapbox telling people to burn someone alive, and those people actually do it, then those people are ultimately responsible. Maybe they wouldn't have without my presence, but the fact that they did shows they were quite willing to. All they needed was a little push. And who can travel time to say with certainty that they wouldn't have if I'd not been there? Maybe they would have done worse without the focus they were given. Maybe 10 people would have been burned alive. Maybe none. But those who merely need a peers permission or consent to do acts of violence are ticking time bombs themselves.

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Vastet wrote:In my opinion

Vastet wrote:
In my opinion there is no line. Even inciting violence can be productive and good. All speech should be protected.

All speech? Really?