LadyGrey, on Thursday, September 11th, 2008, 9:52 AM, said:
I think this is probably one of the best threads ever on FCP.There are so many different approaches to prison, especially when it comes to the rehabilitation vs punishment and all the different methods. I would like to see a brief (or detailed if you feel so inclined) comment on each of these ideas:1. Prisoners are criminals, and should be made to work in order to pay for their keep in prison. They should be forced to do manual labour or some other productive work every day as if it were their job. This would benefit the community and society, prevent the view of prison as a 'free ride', and stop inmates from wasting their time in prison.
They already do have to "work". I got really lucky in that I have a knack for mechanical things and got a relatively easy job, but yes, 99.9% of all inmates "work" very hard. For the early part of my sentence, I was growing foods for institutional use. I have a feeling your prisons are very different over there, if inmates aren't working.
(WARNING: LONG. CLIFFS NOTES: CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM BROKEN, CREATING LIFELONG CRIMINALS RATHER THAN CORRECTING POOR DECISION MAKING OR ANTI SOCIAL BEHAVIORS. INSTITUTIONAL OPPOSITION TO OFFENDER REHABILITATION, ACTUALLY CODIFIED IN FEDERAL LAW.)
2. Criminals often turn to crime due to a disadvantaged background, and as such they need to learn during their time in prison, so that when they are released they will have a better chance at gainful employment, as well as a better understanding of the world. They should be forced to attend classes, or complete correspondence courses in order to obtain certificates of higher education, be it a High School Diploma, College Degree, or a specialised course.
At some point in the 1990's, congress eliminated Pell grants for inmates- because after all... THEY'RE FELONS! WHY IN GODS NAME SHOULD WE BE EDUCATING PRISONERS! CUZ'N THEY'RE PRISONERS AN' KUN-VICK-TED FELUNZ AN' EDUCATION IS BAD FOR THEM!To make it even worse, kids who are convicted of drug selling charges during their college years- even relatively minor ones- are made permanently ineligible for a whole host of Federal student aid after release (or, even if they've never served any time at all and just got probation). The original thinking was that getting rid of federal student loans for people convicted of selling drugs during their college years would help to eliminate drugs on campus. A collateral consequence of this most hideous and short-sighted policy (which has obviously has 0 practical effect other than to allow politicians in a few miserably sanctimonious "Bible" states like Kansas to add more hollow blabber to their "war on drugs" rhetoric) was that low income people convicted of drug charges, in addition to facing almost insurmountable employment charges, can never afford education either, even if they truly want to better their lives. In your country (Britain, I assume?), most convictions become "spent" after a period of time, where the offender eventually regains their basic civil rights if they keep their nose clean and their records are sealed as a matter of procedure. In this country, many states (and the Feds) have no expungement procedure whatsoever, meaning that a person is never allowed to get on with their life and remains unemployable forever if they happen to be born in the wrong state, or, convicted in Federal court. I've referred to the "philosophical change" in justice philosophy that occurred in the 1960's a couple times in this thread;In the 1950's, 60's and into the 1970's, the US saw a dramatic increase in crime (particularly in urban areas) for numerous reasons. Certain industries were in decline, the economy was wildly fluctuating, drug use became far more pervasive, social norms were shifting, etc. Prior to this, the general incarceration emphasis was "corrections". Prisons had machine shops, wood shops, trades teachers- if you found yourself in prison, the idea was to return you to society a better, repaired man (there were some grave exceptions to this- some old prisons in the South were positively horrendous places, but for most everywhere else, the emphasis was on "corrections" along side of the punishments that are attendant with losing your freedom and being locked up with a bunch of bad guys)It's a topic that many theses have been written about, so safe to say, I can't tackle it all in this post... Fast forward a few decades; a few decades of public disgust with rising crime, a few decades of "get tough" politicians promising to make prisons worse places for the sake of punishment, a few decades of ratcheting up the consequences for minor offenses, a few decades of lowering the bar for what constitutes a felony and here we are; a nation that incarcerates more people per-capita than any other country. A nation that doesn't give a second thought or moments pause to totally ruining a mans life over a mistake that used to be a $50 fine. A country that takes a kid who made a stupid decision at 19 and holds it over to when he's 40's, telling him that as a result of his decision two decades earlier- prior to his brain being fully formed- he cannot obtain good employment... We've f
ucked up criminal justice so, so bad. We let the worst amongst us dictate criminal justice philosophy by appealing to our base emotions and fears, rather than allowing the brightest amongst us to figure out the best possible solution. Like I said, I am 100% pro death penalty. I am 100% for INCREASED
penalties for certain crimes... but those cases represent the real outliers on the spectrum of prisons and prisoners. To give you a visual example of what I'm talking about...
At present, over 1% of our entire population is in jail. Repeat- We're a nation of over 300,000,000 people, with a full 1% of them incarcerated. For the past few decades, we could ignore the massive failings of the incarceration system, since people who had served time in prison were still such distant anomalies that no one had to give them much thought, since their voices were few and they were Scarlett lettered anyway. We're rapidly approaching the point where we have to reform this. There's a lot of speculation why we don't- prison industry is a hundreds-of-billions business that supports many poor communities, has peripheral positive impact on industry, etc. That, and there's always those morally right retards who insist that disadvantages for ox-offenders are simply "consequences of their own actions and you should've thought of that before yuo sold that pot!1!1!!1one!!"____Replying to the others...