View Poll Results: Which of the following reforms do our prisons need?

Voters
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  • Non-violent crimes should not typically result in a prison sentence

    19 51.35%
  • The government should take more action to ensure prisoners don't hurt or rape each other

    26 70.27%
  • The government should take more action to curtail gang activity and racialist activity in prisons

    26 70.27%
  • Drugs should be legalized and all nonviolent drug offenders should be freed from prison

    20 54.05%
  • None; prisoners are sub-human scum who don't deserve even the most basic rights

    0 0%
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Thread: Prison reform

  1. #11
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    Re: Prison reform

    Man, you left out a galaxy of possible choices.
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  2. #12
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    Re: Prison reform

    I voted for "The government should take more action to curtail gang activity and racialist activity in prisons", which seems to be pretty universal and half of "Drugs should be legalized and all nonviolent drug offenders should be freed from prison". I don't necessarily agree that drugs should be legalized, but that nonviolent drug offenders really don't belong behind bars, they deserve to receive treatment to beat their addiction, not hard time that will simply exacerbate the problem.

    As far as I'm concerned, prison needs to do three things to be effective:

    1) It needs to protect society.
    2) It needs to punish the guilty.
    3) It needs to prepare the criminal for eventual return to society.

    If it doesn't do all three of the above, said criminal should not be in prison, there are alternative means to achieve a satisfactory end.
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  3. #13
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    Re: Prison reform

    Serious question - what's up with the word "racialist"? I'd never heard it until a few months ago, and now it's popping up everywhere. Is it the hot new term for racist, or is there a slightly different connotation?
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  4. #14
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    Re: Prison reform

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    Serious question - what's up with the word "racialist"? I'd never heard it until a few months ago, and now it's popping up everywhere. Is it the hot new term for racist, or is there a slightly different connotation?
    I think its pc term so racist can feel better about themselves.
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  5. #15
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    Re: Prison reform

    I am astounded, and a bit dismayed, to find myself at least partially in agreement with Kandahar.

    Yes, we'd do better to put most non-violent offenders into some other sort of punishment... some kind of repayment program where they have to recompense their victim's losses for example.

    Drug users who haven't committed any other crime... they'd be better off in a detox program really.

    Now, prisons are not, on the whole, as bad as he's making them out to be. Well, some are, but most aren't. That's been my experience anyway.

    I think reform in sentencing needs to go hand-in-hand with this. If someone is probably able to be rehabilitated, they shouldn't spend 20 years in prison locked up with hardened criminals and learning more bad habits. OTOH, if someone is a danger to society and unlikely to reform, they need to be locked up for life and never get out.

    To sum up, we could do better than we're doing.

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  6. #16
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    Re: Prison reform

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Why is locking people up in a tiny little cage with rapists the default punishment for any misdeed? Bernie Madoff is not a threat to anyone if he's under house arrest instead of in prison.
    I don't know. House arrest seems pretty damned cushy. Is house arrest the usual sentence for those convicted of massive investor fraud?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Drug crimes are the best example of the injustice of our "justice system." But they aren't the only example. If people aren't posing a physical threat to other people, there is no reason to put them in a cage.
    In general, I agree, but there are drug crimes and there are drug crimes. The guy caught with an eighth in his pocket is entirely different than the guy caught with a cigarette boat full of bud off the Florida Keys. Still, there has to be some sort of punishment for breaking a possession law... (or, we could decriminalize bud for personal use, but I suppose that's asking too much).

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Prisons should be reserved for rapists, child molesters, robbers, murderers, and some assailants. Beyond that, there aren't very many common crimes where putting them in a cage is necessary.
    In my world that bolded part up there would read: "Execution should be reserved for rapists, child molesters, murderers, and some robbers/assailants, and we don't use it often enough."

    Provocative? Yes! (I'm complicated that way.) I have compassion for most folks, but not for that list up there. And that sort of plays into your argument that we shouldn't be housing the deadly violent types with those who don't pose a physical threat to others - neither of us thinks they belong together, but I'd remove them from all equations entirely and forever. This also frees up prison space and resources that would be better used on those that have at least a chance of rehabilitation, and lessens the chance of inmate-on-inmate violence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    We don't have to give them a phone, tv, computer, video games, and all kinds of toys. But I don't think it's too much to ask that we not let them rape each other and beat each other senseless, and that we don't lock them in cages unless they truly need to be isolated from society for society's protection.
    We agree again. Our prisons are entirely too crowded and inmates spend vast amounts of time doing nothing. I say (after we free all the guys busted for personal possession!) we should put them to work. Hard work. Earning at least some of their keep by growing their own food, paving roads on chain gangs, cleaning up after natural disasters, building levees, and so on. The benefits are huge - a lot of work gets done for cheap, the prisoners earn a little money and self worth. Finally, they get so much exercise that at the end of the day all they have the energy to do is sleep. No rapes in the shower room. No staying up all night to dig your way out with a spoon. No murdering your cellie in his bunk.

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  7. #17
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    Re: Prison reform

    Decriminalization/legalization of many drugs is the first start. Commuting the sentences of all non-violent drug offenders would be the next step.

    Drug and educational rehabilitation must be taken more seriously. I think an option of for punishment of offenders who commit crimes where the use of drugs are a factor should be placed in a rehabilitation program. Recidivism is a huge factor with regards to convicts, we will more than likely deal with them again.

    When you examine the cost of punishing an offender and weigh not only the monetary costs but the human costs involved you will quickly see that rehabilitation programs offer the greatest hope of turning criminal around and are the most cost effective means of addressing the problem. Turning them into productive members of society as opposed to repeatedly dealing with later on down the line is the preferable option, yet we fail to invest nearly enough resources in this area. I've dealt with literally dozens of offenders that have been arrested more than ten times, in the county jail just as many times, and sent to prison at least two or more times. The vast majority are drug offenders. The associated cost is just outrageous. If we could have short circuited that cycle in just a third of them society would have seen a major lessening of the burden.

    I don't know how we address gang related issues in prison any more than we are. I have ideas on this that involved segregating younger first time prisoners in a rehab intensive anti-gang program, but the facilities for this kind of thing would need to be built. Prisoners run the society within the prison, this is unarguable. The best you can do is keep know gang and racial enemies segregated, but in reality all this does is help quell the gang rivalry. It proliferates the reliance on gang affiliation for survival, however. And how do you measure the true crimineogenic effect of prison life upon inmates? Prison society, as it exists today, builds smarter, tougher criminals for the most part. Certainly some inmates leave prison and don't offend again, but more often that not inmates will go on to reoffend, for a number of reasons.

    I think that it's important that we invest money in keeping non-violent offenders separated from violent offenders. Rehabilitation efforts hold the most hope for many of these people.

    Prison is primarily about segregating offenders from society as a means of protecting society "right now." But in my mind it's an exercise in futility under the current design. The mission needs to be two fold, protect society now and in the future by rehabilitating these people as best we can. Knowingly taking a bull**** bravado attitude and saying "**** them, they are criminal scum" is completely ignorant and only exacerbates the problem. If we don't take steps to solve these problems one inmate at a time we will deal with these problems over and over again, one offender at a time.
    Last edited by Lerxst; 05-23-09 at 11:48 AM.
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  8. #18
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    Re: Prison reform

    Most prison sentences are stupid.

    For smaller offenses, such as dui, drunk and disorderly, et cetera....bring back public floggings and the stocks.

    Embezzlers and fraudsters should spend a period in involuntary servitude to the people they wronged.

    The violent ones that constitute a physical danger should be dumped in a penal colony somewhere...find a nice remote island where they can be dropped off, food drops every month, then let them do whatever the hell they want to each other.

  9. #19
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    Re: Prison reform

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    Most prison sentences are stupid.

    For smaller offenses, such as dui, drunk and disorderly, et cetera....bring back public floggings and the stocks.
    Floggings? For drunk and disorderly? DUI is deadly and deserves harsh sentences, but there's nothing wrong with simple fines (definitely more cost-efficient than the stocks).

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    Embezzlers and fraudsters should spend a period in involuntary servitude to the people they wronged.
    That sounds like it wouldn't lead to abuse at all. Not.

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post
    The violent ones that constitute a physical danger should be dumped in a penal colony somewhere...find a nice remote island where they can be dropped off, food drops every month, then let them do whatever the hell they want to each other.
    So instead of giving some nineteen-year-old robber the chance to redeem himself and lead a new life, you'd rather just throw him to the lions?
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  10. #20
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    Re: Prison reform

    Quote Originally Posted by Edify_Always_In_All_Ways View Post
    So instead of giving some nineteen-year-old robber the chance to redeem himself and lead a new life, you'd rather just throw him to the lions?
    Depends...how violent is he?

    A guy who goes waving a gun around in a stop-and-rob so he can clean out the cash register to pay for his next fix....no, I'm not terribly interested in redeeming him. I am much more interested in keeping the cashier on the graveyard shift safe.

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