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Old 02-25-2013, 09:08 AM #1
Umami
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Prison Reform

So I've posted articles about the corrupting effects of prison privatization before (http://www.justicepolicy.org/news/2615), but this is different. There is a prison in Norway where prisoners learn how to be functioning members of society while locked up.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/20...ed-like-people

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It always seemed to me while I was in jail that the real prison scandal was the horrendous rate of reoffending among released prisoners. In 2007, 14 prisons in England and Wales had reconvictions rates of more than 70%. At an average cost of 40,000 a year for each prisoner, this amounts to a huge investment in failure – and a total lack of consideration for potential future victims of released prisoners. That's the reason I'm keen to have a look at what has been hailed as the world's first "human ecological prison".

...

Through Nilsen's window I can see the church, the school and the library. Life for the prisoners is as normal as it is possible to be in a prison. It feels rather like a religious commune; there is a sense of peace about the place, although the absence of women (apart from some uniformed guards) and children is noticeable. Nilsen has coined a phrase for his prison: "an arena of developing responsibility." He pours me a cup of tea.

"In closed prisons we keep them locked up for some years and then let them back out, not having had any real responsibility for working or cooking. In the law, being sent to prison is nothing to do with putting you in a terrible prison to make you suffer. The punishment is that you lose your freedom. If we treat people like animals when they are in prison they are likely to behave like animals. Here we pay attention to you as human beings."
What obstacles (not political) would prevent this from working in the US, if any?
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:36 AM #2
SevenGold-IV
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Culture is the largest obstacle. Many gangs have a cult like atmosphere and effectively brainwash members into lifelong loyalty. They also use prisons to network and recruit new members.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:40 AM #3
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Our current system only makes sense if you plan on never releasing these individuals back into society. If time served is considered a payment of one's debt to society, forcing each offender to wear a scarlet letter making them un-hireable is equally misguided. There is a significant financial burden placed on the released which even an entry level job could not support, let alone the mere costs of living. However, our justice system is such that it effectively shackles all offenders to entry level work. Despite pretenses of "rehabilitation."
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:28 AM #4
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I had this argument with the kid who rents out my basement last week. People like Joe Arpaio who humiliate people who are incarcerated for something like an ounce of pot need to be dealt with. Rape, murder, assault, yea, I can understand the desert thing, but for drugs? Give me a ****ing break.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:34 AM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamamartianchurch View Post
Our current system only makes sense if you plan on never releasing these individuals back into society. If time served is considered a payment of one's debt to society, forcing each offender to wear a scarlet letter making them un-hireable is equally misguided. There is a significant financial burden placed on the released which even an entry level job could not support, let alone the mere costs of living. However, our justice system is such that it effectively shackles all offenders to entry level work. Despite pretenses of "rehabilitation."
Exactly. We are not in the business of rehabilitation, and if we're going to release people from prison when their sentence is up that needs to change.
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:05 PM #6
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Exactly. We are not in the business of rehabilitation, and if we're going to release people from prison when their sentence is up that needs to change.
How effective do you think this type of imprisonment and rehabilitation would be on gang bangers? If there were some in such a prison and they had a similarly low rescidivism rate, I could see possibilities. On the other hand, this also brings up Martian's old thread about the role of the penal system and whether it does/should include a compenent of revenge for victims and families of victims. I don't think those folks would see this as acheiving anything close to that.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:23 PM #7
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How effective do you think this type of imprisonment and rehabilitation would be on gang bangers? If there were some in such a prison and they had a similarly low rescidivism rate, I could see possibilities. On the other hand, this also brings up Martian's old thread about the role of the penal system and whether it does/should include a compenent of revenge for victims and families of victims. I don't think those folks would see this as acheiving anything close to that.
Don't rule out martial discipline as a form of rehabilitation. I don't feel that the serenity option is always the best route. Especially for violent types. Suppression isn't as good a solution as control. Which can come from mental and physical discipline.

If we decide to go the rehabilitation route. We cannot say, well we give him ten years then he's out. You need to keep them only as long as it takes to correct the individual. Ones debt to society may be paid in many ways. Imprisonment is not the only option and should only be reserved for the worst cases. At that point however, executions must be seriously considered.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:08 PM #8
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I don't see the problem, more people in prison means less of a support base the democrats have in 2016.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:41 PM #9
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Don't rule out martial discipline as a form of rehabilitation. I don't feel that the serenity option is always the best route.
I agree on the second. However, my feeling that penal labor is acceptable may be outdated in today's soft society. As for martial discipline, I understand the concept, but I am not convinced that training criminals to be better soldiers will rehabilitate them more than prepare them to be more adept criminals.

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If we decide to go the rehabilitation route. We cannot say, well we give him ten years then he's out.
I agree that transistioning convicts into becoming/returning to being productive members of society is needed.
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:33 PM #10
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That's the thing about it. If you are going to say, once a criminal, always a criminal, than we shouldn't be releasing people from prison. As it stands, criminal behavior is reinforced by our current "just cage 'em" model. The behavior is further reinforced upon released by wearing the mark of a criminal which will bar you from holding any decent line of work. I'm willing to give something else a try.
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:15 AM #11
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Those illegals we released should of been dropped off on the Yucatan Peninsula.
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