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Show ALL Forums  > Off Topic  > What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?      Home login  
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 SAguy_06
Joined: 12/29/2005
Msg: 2
What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?Page 1 of 5    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Ben,
since you're the one with the inside knowledge, what are your recomendations.

you're right, I'm not on the inside; and I dont see the day to day workings.
 Beaugrand®™©
Joined: 3/24/2008
Msg: 5
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What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/12/2009 9:20:19 AM
The no-brainer answer is to build more prisons and hire more guards to alleviate overcrowding. I also think they could be more efficiently run. Of course, the corruption that presently exists has to be stopped.

Convicted felons could be "chipped" prior to parole. Businesses likely to be robbed could have chip-detecting equipment installed (this was mentioned in another thread). Parolees could have chip-detecting equipment installed in their residence so parole officials could track their movements. All chip-detecting equipment could be networked to more accurately track parolees.

Short-time, non-violent offenders could be housed in minimum-security "boot camps" or "work camps," using "work-release" programs in which the inmate leaves the camp to go to work, then checking back in after work hours. Those who break the rules could be transferred to more secure facilities.

Medium-security prisons for non-violent, longer-term inmates could be set up as campuses, with townhouse-like barracks, educational and work facilities, most functions run by "trustees" and a minimum number of salaried staff, and those mostly for supervisory functions. Again, rule-breakers could be transferred to "harder" prisons.

Obviously, some of the more violent offenders need to be segregated from society permanently. They could be exiled to prison islands located many miles offshore, food and other supplies air-dropped, left to fend for themselves: if they can't live by society's rules, let them create their own, no fences, no guards, no parole. Chum the surrounding waters routinely with shark bait...
These inmates would probably have to be volunteers.

Or played-out mines could be used as prisons. With access only through a single point, escape would be nearly impossible. This scenario, unfortunately, would involve having guards deployed within the prison.
 GeneralizingNow
Joined: 10/10/2007
Msg: 6
What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/12/2009 9:22:23 AM
Yep, first thing is to decide if our system of justice is reformatory or penal. They're trying to cover both bases, so doing a poor job of each of them.

Second thing is to change the drug laws. The casual user shouldn't be in jail (in Alabama it's a MIN 2-yr sentence for ANY possession of marijuana--right?). Isn't it something like 60% of all those incarcerated are drug related?

Third, fix the courts. I think generally cops do a good job of nabbing the bad guys, but then it gets all screwed up in the courts--they all seem to be playing a game rather than striving for "justice". When judges can BUY their "appointments", I have a HUGE problem. Many aren't even LAWYERS and probably aren't all THAT smart.

I would be all for capital punishment if I had more faith in the Law, which I don't. I don't believe certain types of rapists/molesters/murderers *can* be rehabilitated, and society certainly doesn't need them. Unfortunately, the rate on incarceration for people who get a crap lawyer is way too high, and it's not worth the risk to kill one innocent person.
==============
EDIT: Ooh, Beau--some great ideas!
 Beaugrand®™©
Joined: 3/24/2008
Msg: 9
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What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/12/2009 11:41:07 AM

(1) Execute all inmates on Death Row.

Expensive and impractical. It's also far from certain that all of the convicts on Death Row are actually guilty, so it's immoral.

(2) Execute all "Lifers".

Expensive, impractical, illegal, unconstitutional, and immoral.

(3) Execute all rapists and child molesters.

Expensive, impractical, illegal, unconstitutional, immoral, and also not entirely certain that all convicted of these crimes are actually guilty.

(4) Make the others do "Hard Time"; hard labor. In other words; work them to death.

Convicts should be doing constructive work, but "working them to death" brings about comparisons with Nazi concentration camps. Actually, all of the above would lead to abuses of the criminal justice system, and a repressive regime, with political "malcontents" imprisoned and likely executed for their political beliefs.
 Lacquered
Joined: 10/10/2006
Msg: 11
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What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/12/2009 1:34:53 PM
Arizona is running on a rehabilitate them plan at the moment.
you can google Arizona's Parallel Universe..... ehhh if you really want. There are inmates that will open up and accecpt the the programming and take the knowledge you give them and turn out to be productive citizens.
What do we do..... we continue on one day at a time.
Just think:
Even in the countrys with the most stringent laws, crime still happens!!!! Prisons are still full there too.
They just don't have as many!!!

What's your take on/solution to the problems I face every day at work... what would YOU do?

You go to work every day. Do the best job you can do. Don't be one of the @$$holes who think its their job to met out punishment, as prison is already their punishment.
Watch you six and come back and do it all again the next day.
And remember.......
Atleast you got job security!!!!
Dreams
 oddandy
Joined: 3/5/2008
Msg: 13
What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/12/2009 8:50:48 PM
I'd lobby to reform drug laws, given that studies show (and I'm sure you're aware) that 70+% of all prison inmates in this county are non-violent drug "offenders."

*poof* there goes your overcrowding problem. On a related note (and please do verify with Google,) the US has more people in prison per capita than any other nation in the world. Either we're a nation of thugs or the laws are fooked. What do you think?
 oddandy
Joined: 3/5/2008
Msg: 14
What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/12/2009 8:54:43 PM
Oscar:


"(1) Execute all inmates on Death Row.
(2) Execute all "Lifers".
(3) Execute all rapists and child molesters.
(4) Make the others do "Hard Time"; hard labor. In other words; work them to death.

These losers are a drain on the government. Time to cut our losses"




I thought this stuff was why we were superior to the russian communists.


and all that stuff that Beaugrande said is right on.


You've never smoked pot in your life? You've never come across a great deal and bought a large quantity? I hope not, 'cuz if so you just sentenced yourself to death. Most people in prison are not even "criminals" considering that 70+% of all prison inmates are nonviolent drug offenders (verify via Google.) And yeah, a pound of weed within 1000 yards of a school is a big-time felony. 3 strikes and you're out!
 chameleonf
Joined: 12/22/2008
Msg: 19
What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/13/2009 2:40:54 PM
I'd love to see the Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona system instituted everywhere.
 oddandy
Joined: 3/5/2008
Msg: 20
What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/13/2009 6:47:01 PM
Someone said:


7. DRUG CRIMES ARE STILL CRIMES!!!! Stop making excuses for drug users who commit crimes. Put them in a rehab type environment and help them GET OFF THE DRUGS. If they commited a violent crime while on drugs, treat them as you would a sober person who commited the same crime... THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!!!!!!!


Crime, by definition, requires a VICTIM. I'm smokin' a nice one as I read these forums tonight...grown by a guy I've known for 16 years on his property. I've got over 1/4 lb of the shit in my freezer. Where's my victim? To whom shall I pay "restitution" and for what "loss?"

"Vices are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property. Crimes are those acts by which one man harms the person or property of another. Vices are simply the errors which a man makes in his search after his own happiness. Unlike crimes, they imply no malice toward others, and no interference with their persons or property.

In vices, the very essence of crime --- that is, the design to injure the person or property of another --- is wanting.
- Lysander Spooner, "Vices are not Crimes"
 Beaugrand®™©
Joined: 3/24/2008
Msg: 21
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What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/13/2009 9:19:08 PM

1. If a person is accused of a capital crime, ALL means available should be required to establish guilt or innocence. This means polygraph, voice stress analyser, drug induced hypnosis, truth inducing drugs (truth serum) and any other method short of torture should be used in ALL capital cases.


Unfortunately, the present system of "justice" concerns itself with gaining convictions, not establishing guilt or innocence. That question is left for juries to decide, based on information ("evidence") provided by the state, and how much defense lawyer the defendant can afford. That effectively guarantees that the well-heeled crooks get away with crimes, while the dirt-poor pawns do the time.


2. If a person is convicted of a capital crime, there should be only one appeal allowed, and if denied, sentence should be carried out SWIFTLY. If the above mentioned method(s) are employed, there would be NO reason to drag out the appeal process because of doubt of guilt or innocence because there would be no doubt.


As long as human beings are involved in collecting and analyzing evidence, there is a chance for errors, and NO conviction will ever be 100% certain. Those appeals are in place for good reasons, such as judicial incompetence or prosecutorial misconduct.


3. The death penalty DOES NOT DETER CRIME. It has been proven over and over that this is true. The death penalty DOES PREVENT REPEAT OFFENDERS. This too has been proven.


Can't argue with that, however-


4. Property crimes should be repaid to the victim at a rate of at least 100 to 1(assuming it is a non-violent crime). This may seem steep to some, but if you had to repay your victim $100.00 dollars for every $1.00 you stole from him, you might think twice about stealing.


Unfortunately, most convicted criminals are the poor losers who can't afford a decent defense lawyer, and haven't got the means to mail their victims an apology on a postcard. Prison is also a pathetic failure at teaching any ethical lessons, although it's quite effective at turning inept criminals into expert ones.


5. Making CRIMINALS work at less than desirable jobs for low wages IS NOT WRONG. Crime MUST be punished and prison can't be a pleasant place, if it is there is no punishment, no one dreads going to prison.


As long as those $5-a-day prison wages aren't taking jobs away from honest people on the outside. Actually, a behavior modification that rewards "good" behavior works better than a system that punishes "bad" behavior, although there do need to be immediate and appropriate consequences for undesirable behaviors.


6. Make the punishment fit the crime. Make the punishment harsh so people will not want to break the law.


The punishment should absolutely be appropriate to the severity of the crime. Making jaywalking a capital crime isn't going to eliminate jaywalking.


7. DRUG CRIMES ARE STILL CRIMES!!!! Stop making excuses for drug users who commit crimes. Put them in a rehab type environment and help them GET OFF THE DRUGS. If they commited a violent crime while on drugs, treat them as you would a sober person who commited the same crime... THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE!!!!!!!


Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is no excuse for committing crimes, but drug rehab programs are less than 5% effective.


8. If a person commits crimes while in prison, they should be treated as "Free World Crimes" and the person should be tried and convicted for them as such and sentenced in the same manner .


Some states do this already.


9. If a person injurs a corrections officer while serving time, they should be tried for this "crime" and if proven guilty BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT AND TO A MORAL CERTAINTY...they should be EXECUTED. If the officer was doing his/her job, within the guidelines thereof, inmates should know the consequences for hurting them and the consequences should be DIRE!!!!


As stated before, punishment for crimes should be immediate and appropriate. Executing an inmate for assaulting a guard would be inappropriate, and there is great potential for unscrupulous guards to exploit this, by faking assaults, falsely convicting an innocent inmate, and having them murdered "legally" by the state.


10. NO inmate should be allowed to leave prison without first obtaining a GED and learning a trade/ graduating college. If a person leaves prison with no marketable skill, there is an almost 100% chance they will be back in prison in less than 1 year. This is the "Rehabilitation" part of incarceration and it has to go hand in hand with the "Punishment" part.


I totally agree with this. Furthermore, I don't believe any convicted felon should be granted any kind of parole or early release without obtaining a GED, at minimum, or college credits toward a degree.


11. Prison should become more difficult for repeat offenders rather than easier. Apparently they liked prison the first time, make the second and any subsuquent trips there less and less pleasant.


I agree with tis as well. Repeat offenders should receive longer sentences at more secure facilities, and early release requirements made more challenging.


12. Realize that some criminals WILL NEVER BE REHABILITATED. These individuals MUST be locked away FOREVER. If these people continue to commit crimes within the prison system... They Should Be Executed. God can deal with them, WE CAN'T!!!!!
Corrections is a dirty job dealing with the very worst of humankind. It is largely a thankless job but one that must be done. Society must be protected from those individuals who refuse to obey the rules set forth. There will always be some crime no matter how harsh the punishment for breaking the rules may be.


I like the idea of dumping those who are truly beyond redemption on a very remote island (I was thinking one of the more remote, uninhabited Aleutians), supplies airdropped once a month or so. If they can't abide by our rules, let them make their own society.
 oddandy
Joined: 3/5/2008
Msg: 25
What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/14/2009 5:32:15 AM

So drug offenses have no victims? A good number of the folks on public assistance in this area are staunch drug users. I'd say their "victims" are the overburdened taxpayers, not to mention the victims of property crimes who are victimized AGAIN by having what they worked for taken so druggies can get their next fix.


Really I'm talking about marijuana, whereas I'm quite confident that the "druggies on welfare" are almost all on crack/heroin/etc. As I said in my previous example, if I smoke pot my buddy grew on his property, there is indeed no victim. Can you point out the victim in this situation? Also, as any doctor will tell you, alcohol is addicting, weed is not. Further, where is the marijuana-related violence, deaths, etc as compared to alcohol? Hell, my own doctor tells me he wishes I'd just smoke pot and not drink at all "if I'm going to insist on altering my consciousness."

Further, can you explain to me why there is little to no drug-related crime in countries where harder drugs are decriminalized? I agree - the victims are the taxpayers, but you're pointing the finger of blame in the wrong direction. The illicitness of most drugs is what causes a black market for the product(s), black markets having the effect of both greatly inflating the rice and of attracting less-than-scrupulous characters. This lesson was taught to us during prohibition, but Americans are too damn stupid to learn from previous mistakes.
 maxxoccupancy
Joined: 2/5/2007
Msg: 26
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What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/14/2009 9:33:04 AM
Stop putting people in prison for drug use, gun ownership, paperwork/tax errors, etc. There are just too many laws. When I would visit the State Legislature in Washington (and now New Hampshire), legislators didn't read the bills. People go to prison, and our elected officials deny voting for legislation that they didn't even read. nhliberty.org is working to stop some of these bills in NH, but we also rate our reps, so we know which ones to vote out.
 oddandy
Joined: 3/5/2008
Msg: 30
What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/16/2009 1:28:45 PM
juls73110 said:


REALLY?! drug use? half the crimes these criminals commit they are high on drugs when they do it! be it murder - robbery - assualt whatever! they are on some kind of drugs.


Can you please provide a source for your 50% statistic, or did you just make that up?
 TOMic bomb
Joined: 10/5/2008
Msg: 33
What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/16/2009 6:15:17 PM
build more prisons and keep the bad ones in as long as possible. they'll probably never rehabilitate so it'll be a revolving door for them.
stop being so nice to the lifers. a/c, tv, all medical benefits. stick them away in a cell and let them rot.
 JLarsson
Joined: 7/11/2007
Msg: 35
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What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/18/2009 1:05:10 PM
Multi issues here even boiled down.
Overcrowding is easy. The war on drugs failed. Take prison time off the plate for possession, sales, cultivation of drugs. Prison should be for serious crimes against persons, property and the state.
Violence. Violence begets violence. You might want to start to explore the possiblities of a direct supervision modle. This is ideal for medium to low risk inmates. The more frequent the interactions between an officer and inmates the less violence between the two and the more the officer is able to spot growing issues and hadle them.

Joe C/O in FL
 Rythmn
Joined: 1/21/2006
Msg: 41
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What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/20/2009 12:54:01 AM
this is a good topic OP. jails and prisons vary by state. in this state, they vary be region. i cannot address the sociopathic types, but i'll give you the slice of pie, that i've come across--which is a significant percent. also, like you to keep in mind that in this state, due to budget cuts, they've been letting many of the prisoner's out onto the streets with limited followup.

my experience has been with foster youth. it varies here by county. some of the counties are legit. for many, foster care is an industry and where money is to be made. lots of attorneys, social workers, judges and especially group home owners --each with their hand in the foster care "till" via legitimate jobs and roles. very few accomplish anything besides pushing paper and tooting their egos in court. nothing happens "for" the kids. the jail and prison system then becomes an extension of "all that". i know many middle income and rich familes who bail and buy their birth kids out of the system for doing way more than what many have done "within".

studies here have shown that a good number of those in prison, in addition to being the disenfranchised, have mental health issues. many have turned to the drugs and alcohol you cite, as a means to "self-medicate" and that in turn leads to the more serious crimes. here there is also gang activity. look at several generations of mafia and nowadays you see the descendants in legitimate business and positions. these kids may also have that chance, but will it also have to take generations? here in northern CA, the gangs are more local and not the international kind you see on tv with drug lords, etc. most are killing within their own ethnic groups.

here, many prevention programs have redirected these kids before adulthood by showing them the road to a legitimate piece of the middle class pie and also by giving them the skills and the access. still, there are not enough programs in proportion to the kids. there are also a number of mental health and behavioral courts which give many on the road to prison, one last chance. often, they have had to reach a bottom, in order to accept these programs. many have been "jailed" numerous times. there is also racial profiling once they go on the streets again. many cannot keep up with school and jobs, because they are always being harrassed and then are fired for having to go fight the bureaucracies. i've seen this with my own eyes and there are investigations into it. so, it becomes a vicious circle.

the mental health courts with the surounding wrap around services have proven successful, but there is not enough money for them. studies have shown, once out of jail, many of these kids have no housing or skills. the past few months of economic crisis has made it worse. no rehab and more dumping onto the streets. the vicious circle is getting wider and will ecompass the ones who choose not to "look". politically it pays to build more prisons, because that puts out construction jobs. it has nothing to do with stopping crime. that is why the country had so many empty hospitals and health insurance premiums skysrocketed. same scenario. jobs for the short term and no health care for the long term.

i have a foster kid in one of these mental health programs. foster care "refused" to help me help him when i started seven years ago. the social workers preferrred to throw him in group homes. i was too demanding. my county had all sorts of services for this kid. but his county refused to pay for them. their style was to inhabit group homes and keep the bucks in the county with their cronies, the group home owners. my county had proven track records in working more with the foster families. however, these families were not making money off the kids. the other county had even foster placement as a source of personal income. so, with legal restraints, i had to let this kid go back to his county. without wrap around, i could not stay up 24/7. i was also prevented from getting him the higher level psych care that he needed.

after several years of this, FINALLY someone listened to my pleas as i remained an advocate. he was already on the streets and had committed many offenses. someone finally read his story and he had given me permission to let it be known. he was offered prison or mental health court. he took the latter, is now on anti anxiety meds, in the high school program on a college campus i had arranged three years ago, is on the way to college, still w/o housing, but tutoring elementary and middle school kids in an after care program. i have no clue, how they let him do that, except he is supervised and kids have always loved him.

they say he is doing a good job and the math tutor money i shelled out to teach him, is being now invested multi-fold. he feels he has worth. he also teaches art. however, he is far from "cured"and brought me all sorts of personal drama only a few days ago. soooooooooo, it takes a village of giving, as opposed to an industry of taking and preying upon these kids, who in turn, prey upon society.

this kid was almost dead when they found him at at 10, by the way. he wasn't born bad. you don't seriously abuse a kid for ten years and then expect him to be whole. it takes a lot of services that are about "him" and not political jobs.

now with the budget cuts, he is awaiting housing. i pray they get it for him, before he ends up back on the wrong side of the streets. he is being put up by friends. if he were not a 24/7, i'd take him. i've done this for years and i am very tired. so i do my best and if i say so myself, they 've never seen an advocate like me in this particular county. if only, they had listened to me 7 years ago and given me the help i needed, this kid would not be in the system today at all. i have had other successes.

foster care and prison care is a source of major employment in some areas. just like hospitals. some places and some people attempt to get the job done right. too many stay within their job titles and don't fight for the bigger picture--they fear being fired. want to stop crime or at least a good part of it? reform foster care and mental health care and provide access for disenfranchised youth to get the h-ll out of the prisons they are in within society.

this kid i spoke of was imprisoned by a lunatic most of his life--ritually tortured. first visit, social services said all was well. too "busy" to take a better look! now, with the staffing rates, you cite, you are lucky to go the the toilet. how do you get your locals to see what is happening? well, start by letting them know that if the troubled kids of today are helped, get a job, become working members of society, then that behooves them. however, know that if people got better, there would be less jobs to keep them in prison. that is why i know who the drug dealers are, but the police can never find them. if they did and cleaned up the streets, they would have no jobs. a friend of mine calls this "middle class welfare". "we" prey off "them".

here in CA, poor children are having children. they are the state's future. they are the ones who will be buying the houses as people retire and want to cash in their assets. well, right now they can't afford squat. so the housing here is going to plummet, even after the economic upheaval of today--unless the current have's prepare these kids to take over and keep the area "up".

it's a tangled web we weave. it would be great to put those "jobs" to better use and better outcomes. then the prisons could house the true sociopaths and child molesters, et al. mind you, many of them get out before the kids who belong in mental health court!
 Ideoform
Joined: 9/23/2007
Msg: 47
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What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/23/2009 7:56:20 AM
OP, I think you are doing something about the problems in the prison system right here. Just getting people to think and talk about it is a step in dealing with it.

Problems tend to get worse when they aren't thought about, discussed and some kind of action taken. The very fact that society isolates prisoners from others is going to create some apathy toward a problem that occurs within a place they cannot see, and doesn't affect them directly in any immediately observable way.

I don't work in any area related to punishment/justice, except that I did work in the inner city as an organizer and volunteer.

But my opinion on solving any problem is to take a good hard look at it first. People of all types can observe what is happening... Perhaps a reality show about prison life at different levels of the prison system...people truly have no idea what is going on inside a world that is designed to isolate/protect. And what can hide can get worse. There is a recovery slogan--You are only as sick as your secrets. This goes for society, too. Our society is only as sick as it's secrets. Any "secret" is a temptation for corruption. In fact, criminals themselves benefit from this concept by taking special note of any secrets, and then trying to capitalize on what they find out. (Of course, then it's no longer a secret--but the worst kind of "secret" is one that only a criminal knows.)
 god_of_rock
Joined: 1/17/2009
Msg: 48
What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/23/2009 8:08:27 AM

So drug offenses have no victims? A good number of the folks on public assistance in this area are staunch drug users. I'd say their "victims" are the overburdened taxpayers, not to mention the victims of property crimes who are victimized AGAIN by having what they worked for taken so druggies can get their next fix.


but..putting people in prison costs far more than 'social programs', probably on the order of 10 X as much per year..estimates are around $100,000 per year to keep someone incarcerated.

also it's sort of a circular argument..people commit crimes to fuel their drug habits often BECAUSE the drugs are 'illegal & prohibited" which pushes up their street-level price at least 20-fold..if legal, heroin addicts could get their daily fix for a few cents, not $100.

and maybe they figure since they are labeled as 'criminals' for putting a substance in their body, they might as well do more crimes?

that was an argument I heard for repealing alcohol prohibition..it made so many people feel they were 'criminals' so they were encouraged to commit other 'crimes'.

anyhow too many people have a vested interest in keeping Drug Prohibition going so I doubt it will ever change in North America..it pays for a good lifestyle for : Organized crime figures, police, prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, prison guards, other court & law enforcement/prison staff, etc., etc.

the Mafia, Russian Mob, Triads, Cali Cartel & other Columbian, Mexican & South American drug lords, Afghani & Southeast Asian growers, European trans-shippers & handlers, and other organized crime groups thank gov't very much for outlawing and continuing the "war on drugs" ..that has enabled them to establish themselves as fabulously wealthy..
 Ideoform
Joined: 9/23/2007
Msg: 50
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What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/23/2009 9:58:04 AM
Framing the problem helps by breaking it up into parts that each are assailable...rather than seeing a huge web of interconnected problems. Prisons are the end result of society's failures in a number of areas. You are dealing with the sad ending of stories that begin far from where you are.

You can stop the flow of people coming to prisons. They aren't all the same. Part of the problem is that people are put in prison for many reasons. Previous posters have already begun the discussion by categorizing prisoners by their crime. This can also be seen as categorizing by the law that they broke.

The law creates the prisoner as much as the prisoner himself does.

The law simply says that this act cannot be ignored...and that this is society's chosen consequence. Unfortunately, we have a hammer and this makes everything looks like a nail. The only nuances left after the person is convicted is the length of stay in the prison, and the type of prison. All the various formulas for parole are just variations on the same single consequence: length of time where a person looses his/her freedom.

It is ironic to note that in a country that values freedom above almost any other political idea, we have disallowed freedom from so many of our voting-age adults that we have one of the largest prison populations of any developed country.

Each conviction is the result of a law, a person found to be breaking the law, and the people who influenced this person. The person brings his or her own physiology, motivation and values (or lack of.)

Addiction is a huge problem.

Drugs are not the problem; in themselves they are "neutral." It is the addiction, compulsion and the law's rigidity in dealing with a problem that has many levels. If drugs create a mental problem that causes a person to loose their judgement, and commit a crime with long-term consequences for a short-term, temporary fix for emotional problems/addiction/withdrawal then a long-term consequence will not deter the crime. This is not the same as saying that the punishment should fit the crime, (which is a good idea, but can be more time-c0nsuming to implement.) Its just a fact that an addicted brain isn't going to respond to our justice system the way society hopes. And repeating something that doesn't work, over and over, is a definition of insanity...

Here's a thought experiment:
Let's imagine we are a group of people that want to make a lot of money, and we don't have any value-system preventing us from doing things that are unethical to get it. In other words, we want to find an "easy" way to make money, (we don't have some other talent to sell, or we are desperate or aren't thinking straight.) We can organise ourselves enough to agree to work together, but not well enough for whatever reason to do this by starting a legitimate business or something.

Let's say we are willing to do the "safer" part of some illegal activity, like bookkeeping, calling people, recruiting people, transportation, etc. Let's recruit others to get people to steal for us. How do you get sane, healthy people to jeapordize their lives and families to steal for someone else? You don't. You drug them.

You don't just give them any drug--like something for pain. You give them something that they get short-term relief from all those feelings of responsibility and anxiety for performance of work. But the best choice is this drug that doesn't just relieve anxiety or pain. It relieves the person of their better judgment, too. And once they have committed this crime, you offer protection from the consequences if they keep on stealing for you. But if they get caught--they are on their own.

The drugs aren't the problem. They are a tool. A weapon.
They are shackles in pill form.

Its the system that they support. It's a lot like slavery. Its a way of getting/forcing people to steal for others. If you only put the people in jail who take the drugs, the ones who get wealthy from this system will just find others to do the same thing. You, your child, your friends. Whoever is in a vulnerable position to be bribed into beginning down this road. The mentally ill, the illiterate, the powerless, the ones with poor mental capacity, those who can't find work...these vulnerable people populate our jails. Yet the ones who trapped them/enslaved them are free to do business again. And they get paid so well for this--anyone who has money tends to "look more normal" and seem more "worthy" than the rest of us--yet money itself has no inherent ethics or values. Its just easier to act/look normal if you can buy the things that make a person seem more normal, and aren't desperate.

I wish money/material things could distinguish between people who earned it fair and square, and those who didn't. Now that would be something.
 chameleonf
Joined: 12/22/2008
Msg: 52
What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/23/2009 10:55:28 AM
Not sure what you mean by your last comment nebula. Are you saying that people who work in prisons cause people to break the law in order to maintain their position and that's why the jails are so full?

I do understand "some" of your reasoning with respect to crime and punishment with respect to users of pot. It's much like the problems encountered with prohibition and alcohol many years ago. I take more issue with the people who traffic in the heavier drugs who should more properly be in prison than the person who recreationally uses a lower grade of drugs such as pot. It becomes a money issue, which in turn creates further crimes based on money. In and of itself, it's likely less harmful than the widespread use of alcohol. That being said, those who drink and do crimes while under the influence, as well as those who do drugs and do crimes while under the influence of it have the distinct choice to use in the first place. They took the risk that their behaviour while under the influence would get them in trouble.

As for government being involved in the drug trade and some of the stupid things they have done, you'll find "stupid" in every walk of life; unfortunately, some are licensed to be stupid. The prisons are full of stupid people - and so should the licensed ones be when crimes of a higher magnitude are commited than someone using or growing pot recreationally for their own personal use.
 Ideoform
Joined: 9/23/2007
Msg: 53
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What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/23/2009 11:21:26 AM

"those who drink and do crimes while under the influence, as well as those who do drugs and do crimes while under the influence of it have the distinct choice to use in the first place. They took the risk that their behaviour while under the influence would get them in trouble."


This element of choice means we do have to have consequences for people who are careless, or make poor choices. However, because teens have less developed brains for making intelligent choices, teens are targeted by people who are selling the heavily-addictive drugs. The ones that are so expensive, like cocaine, that often the addict has to commit a crime to get more of it. That is a whole other level of addiction.

The difference between alcohol (and perhaps pot) addiction, is that it is cheap enough that the addicted person doesn't feel impelled to steal to get enough of it. (These addictions can cause UNintentional crimes in the form of poor choices, loss of jobs, anger issues (alcohol), and vehicular homicide.)

Addiction isn't treated by punishment. Punishment is an additional consequence beyond the ones the addicted person is already experiencing. Often, however, prison time doesn't change the path of the addiction. It may even make it worse (a steeper decline in functional behavior.)

Not many things can truly, reliably treat addiction.

I think that beyond attempting various forms of treatment, which is admirable, prevention would be a great value.

Preventing people from profiting on ensnaring gullible, angst-ridden teenagers into addiction would be a good start. People tend to focus on the teenager who did some stupid thing (without some reckless teenagers, nothing new in this world would ever be attempted.) But the act of laying a trap for vulnerable young people is true evil. The chemical ruination of their minds is a huge loss to society, who then has to deal with the mess for the rest of that young person's life.

We can innoculate our teenagers to avoid drugs, and to try to make better choices. But making good choices is something they are still learning to do, and do not reliably do well.
 Samurai41
Joined: 4/29/2008
Msg: 54
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What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/23/2009 11:23:58 AM
make more crimes punishable by death

bring back prison FARMS

get rid of conjugal visits, cable tv and gyms

make prison a BAD place and people wont want to go there.
 chameleonf
Joined: 12/22/2008
Msg: 55
What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/23/2009 12:05:51 PM
Preventing people from profiting on ensnaring gullible, angst-ridden teenagers into addiction would be a good start. People tend to focus on the teenager who did some stupid thing (without some reckless teenagers, nothing new in this world would ever be attempted.) But the act of laying a trap for vulnerable young people is true evil. The chemical ruination of their minds is a huge loss to society, who then has to deal with the mess for the rest of that young person's life.


And is why I said that the trafficer should be pursued. However, it's not the addiction that is being punished, it is the crime of the user who is being punished.

If you want to talk about teenagers and becoming addicted and making poor choices and excusing their behaviour because of their underdeveloped brains, we allow them to drive vehicles and many also drive irresponsibly to the point of causing death and carnage. They are apparently given the opportunity to make the choice at that age to drive responsibly and many don't. Suddenly, when it comes to addiction, the responsibility factor goes out the window and brain development is brought up. They are responsible enough to know that if you pull a gun, chances are it's going to either kill or seriously hurt someone. Most have enough brain development to understand that concept - they also know that if you start using heavy drugs, you're bound to get addicted and do stupid stuff. Prisons aren't punishing an addiction, they are punishing the crime for the poor choices made when using drugs which can be traced back to the poor choice of ever having tried drugs in the first place to the point of becoming addicted, be it addicted to alcohol or addicted to drugs. Whether it be a teenager or an adult. I agree that prisons should concentrate on rehabilitation along with punishment. I do, however, dislike the insanity defense for those who aren't in their right mind for doing a crime because of a drug. We've become a society where it's too easy to blame someone else or something else for poor choices, no matter the age.
 Ideoform
Joined: 9/23/2007
Msg: 56
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What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/23/2009 12:12:37 PM

"Who else thinks there are sinister reasons for drugs being illegal?"


Just to be very clear, I am not for legalizing drugs.

I am saying that there have got to be better ways for us to wage the war on drugs than what we are currently doing. Because, for one thing, we have put an awful lot of people in prison--a whole small country's worth--and still the drugs continue to capture the minds of our people.

I say, make the things illegal that illegality will fix.

For instance, one of the m0st highly addicting drugs there is--is already legal in our country. Cigarettes. Yet we are now passing laws as to when, where and how this addiction is carried out based on its effects on society. This addiciton has medical consequences, and affects those around the addicted person. Addiction to cigarettes is down. Part of this is due to the fact that we held the people who profited from the addiction accountable for its marketing practices (another one who began marketing to young teens.) Part of it is due to the fact that we all are using day-to-day consequences in the form of banning the practice of the addiction from public spaces. By using laws to change public behavior in this way, it makes it less likely for people to think of it as "cool" to do it, and more just a public "nusiance." (And a costly public medial expense.)

In this way, the laws, and the public discussion of the laws as they went into effect (plus the fact that we had a huge corporate scapegoat) better connect the act of purchasing and using a cigarette to alter one's physiology, with the true consequences of these actions. Not just the "threat" of prison. The cost to society of lung cancer, lost wages, its effect on the non-addicted people around the addicted people, etc.

Perhaps more concern with how the laws are discussed, agreed on, enacted, and enforced will help with other addictions, too. In this case, with cigarettes, we focused less on the drug itself, and more on changing people's behavior without ruining their lives.

Laws need to take into account not only the level of addiction, but also the kind of damage it does to the human brain and body, and the kind of behaviors the addictions evoke from people. If you take a drug like pot, which mainly seems to affect motivation, but doesn't generally cause violence, and you try to compare it to cocaine, which can cause many more social problems, people will have trouble not only enforcing the laws, but the system will become open to corruption based on the necessity of many of the system's workers to use their own judgement as to how to implement the law fairly.

If the laws are not publicly agreed on to be fair, or seem inherently unfair, they will be much less effective in changing public behavior.

Right now, we have this one big tool--prison. It's like a cliff. You can get close to the cliff with all sorts of "iffy" behaviors that its not worth it to pass a law over... but once you cross that line, that social boundary, you fall in.

If there were a big cliff in my neighborhood like that, I can imagine lots of signs posted around it, with "DANGER" on them, and fences, gates, security guards, cameras even to slow people down from getting too close to the edge. But if all you have is this pleasant field, and just as you get close, boom! there's this big drop....now that's not really working.

With cigarettes we let the people who profited from the addiction to tell us the danger to ourselves. Not such a good idea. So everyone was smoking away, in movies, on TV, at home, around children, even in hosptials. And then, boom! Somehow you would just happen to "get" cancer. That's the cliff.

Our laws can do the warning, too. Don't smoke in public...use seatbelts...don't serve alcohol to someone driving...

Cocaine is an anesthetic. It used to be available to any health care worker with sticky fingers. Now it's kept in locked cabinets... but really, there is money to be made in telling people its this "cool" thing that only movie stars and famous atheletes can afford to use...so we have absolutely no public way of saying its wrong for people to dump cocaine onto socialites or at expensive parites (which they probably organized themselves--just to dump the cocaine onto people with money) for free, until they become addicted to it. Addicted in the fanciest, coolest, most admired way--but its still addiction all dressed up to look like something it's not.

We have to be careful as a society, to notice whenever any addiction, of any kind is making lots of money for someone. Because these "someone's" are going to target young people at some point, and then whatever it is will seem important to "fit in."

We market addiction sometimes. Now that would be a law I could see...that it's illegal to advertise something addictive or to create an addictive process where one didn't exist before. This is going to be tricky, because gambling, weight loss, plastic surgery, certain foods, are addictive. Hmmm, perhaps the laws could be more specific; around making money strictly on the addictive aspect of any commodity...and specifically if it is aimed at young/vulnerable people for the purpose of creating an addiction early on before their brains are fully developed enough to resist the marketing. Tougher to prove, but in the process of proving it, a company might decide to change the way they do business to avoid the liability hassle.

There's a really good reason for having a "drinking age." This is because young people just don't have the judgement to use an addictive substance wisely (well, is it wise to begin with? Or just a choice that adults can make more knowingly than a child?)
 Samurai41
Joined: 4/29/2008
Msg: 59
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What would you do about the problems in the prison systems?
Posted: 2/24/2009 9:22:01 AM
I have had THREE close relatives do federal time.

have you?

Every single one of them said it was easy

not fun, but easy, and every one of them said they would go back in, and not worry about it.

Two of them did mulitple terms.

Prisons are a joke compared to what they used to be. and guess what, people did less crime, and less people went to prison when it was a BAD place.

it used to be, every Texas prison was a farm, they all made a profit, the inmates were simply too TIRED to cause much trouble, and people rarely re-offended.

now? it is the exact opposite.

rehab, therapy, job skills what a load of garbage. the rate of people going BACK to prison has sky rocketed since those stupid programs were put in place.

All that touchy feely hippie liberal crap is a fantasy, it doesnt work, and pretending that the criminal is a noble being, simply denied access to the good things in life is wishfull thinking at it's worst..

Criminals are BAD PEOPLE and they choose to do BAD THINGS, in part because they do not fear the consequences of thier actions.

it doesnt matter wether drugs should be illegal, they ARE. Choose to break the law, you take your chances.
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