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. #31
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    Re: Prison reform

    Quote Originally Posted by Glinda View Post
    I don't know. House arrest seems pretty damned cushy. Is house arrest the usual sentence for those convicted of massive investor fraud?
    No, but if we're talking about changing the usual sentence, it seems like a good place to start.


    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).
    In NYC possession of up to 30 or so grams is only a "violation" that comes with a $100 ticket.

    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.
    Interestingly enough, all of those types of criminals are more rehab-able than your average thief.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ethereal View Post
    I was specific to violent criminals. Prisoners with a history of violence or gang affiliations should never be allowed to commingle openly with one another. Your misplaced compassion for their mental health puts others in grave danger. The "yard" is rife with gang fights, attempted assassinations, violent assaults, drug dealing, and is usually the flash point for most prison riots. The idea that dozens of people with a predilection for violence should be allowed to openly and freely associate with one another is ludicrous in the extreme. There are other ways for prisoners to interact and socialize.
    I have to believe that there's a reason why they don't do this, and I would assume it's because they've considered it and determined that the benefits would be outweighed by the costs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    While I agree with the corporal punishment and rape aspect being wrong(and not as much of a problem as people think I don't believe), outside of that, I have no sympathy for the criminal. If you commit a crime, you should be subject to the punishment the law calls for. When you make the decision to commit an act illegal in the US, you are responsible for any punishment you receive. Saying "oh, but it's not a violent crime", or "no one was hurt" gets no sympathy from me. You chose to accept the risk in exchange for the reward.
    But that's the point that kandahar is making - people should get the punishment they receive, which is time in prison. That does not include being raped/stabbed.
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

  2. #32
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    Re: Prison reform

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    I have to believe that there's a reason why they don't do this, and I would assume it's because they've considered it and determined that the benefits would be outweighed by the costs.
    No doubt you could be right, but I have a sneaking suspision it has nothing to do with efficacy and more to do with prisoner's rights advocates. Why do you suppose prisons have cable TV?

  3. #33
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    Re: Prison reform

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post

    But that's the point that kandahar is making - people should get the punishment they receive, which is time in prison. That does not include being raped/stabbed.
    Right, but the problem is not as bad as portrayed I don't think, and the fact there are some problems with prisons does not mean we should somehow let people get away with breaking the law. Decriminalizing is not a solution for prisons, improving prisons is.

  4. #34
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    Re: Prison reform

    I'm so glad nobody has picked none. Prison reform is an often overlooked political position that needs to be addressed. I voted for all of the reforms except for freeing the druggies. That was simply because the free druggie option was too vague. I only believe in the legalization of marijuana. Any people who offended that law should be set free. People illegally selling any hardcore substance such as heroine, cocaine, etc. should be kept locked up. People caught using the substances should be set free and put on programs to keep them off the drugs.
    "All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language...No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." - John Donne

  5. #35
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    Re: Prison reform

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    Right, but the problem is not as bad as portrayed I don't think, and the fact there are some problems with prisons does not mean we should somehow let people get away with breaking the law. Decriminalizing is not a solution for prisons, improving prisons is.
    If you change the law, then it's not breaking it anymore.

    And decriminalizing very minor things might be a way of improving prisons while also improving society and saving money.
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

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    Re: Prison reform

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    If you change the law, then it's not breaking it anymore.

    And decriminalizing very minor things might be a way of improving prisons while also improving society and saving money.
    You first sentence is an obvious truth no one has questioned.

    Your second sentence is something I think of in a different way. There is nothing wrong with re-examining laws and deciding which are needed and not. We should not do this with fixing prisons in mind...ir, the penal system should respond to the needs of the society, not the other way around.

  7. #37
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    Re: Prison reform

    Quote Originally Posted by Redress View Post
    You first sentence is an obvious truth no one has questioned.

    Your second sentence is something I think of in a different way. There is nothing wrong with re-examining laws and deciding which are needed and not. We should not do this with fixing prisons in mind...ir, the penal system should respond to the needs of the society, not the other way around.
    But the two are inextricably intertwined. The crime rate, spending, and the general welfare of society are directly related to both how the prison system is run and what activities are criminalized (and how).

    If I were to argue that we should decriminalize marijuana because there are hundreds of thousands of people in jail for it, that's a response to the needs of society.
    Last edited by RightinNYC; 05-23-09 at 07:11 PM.
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

  8. #38
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    Re: Prison reform

    I think prisons should be treated the same way schools are treated. The better performance they have the more funding they should get. Then we should go further. If their performance does not improve then shut them down and build new ones. Guard and warden pays raises should go by how many assaults happen every year in their prisons. That will give them an incentive to minimize inmate on inmate violence.

    The biggest source of violence in U.S. prisons is drugs. The more drugs in a prison. The more violence you're bound to see. This should also be taken into consideration when paying guards and wardens.

    As far as white collar/non-violent crime goes. I don't think it should receive harsh prison terms. The people who commit them should be allowed to pay back and if they can't they should be put to work for the government for X number of years. Doing something like cleaning streets or building roads. If they don't want that. Off to jail.

    I didn't vote on the one for drugs for a reason : I don't believe somebody who is moving 10-15 metric tons of heroin into the U.S. should get away with it when heroin kills thousands of people. The same goes for somebody who's creating drugs that are directly responsible for killing people.
    Last edited by Hatuey; 05-23-09 at 07:44 PM.
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  9. #39
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    Re: Prison reform

    Quote Originally Posted by Hatuey View Post
    I think prisons should be treated the same way schools are treated. The better performance they have the more funding they should get. Then we should go further. If their performance does not improve then shut them down and build new ones. Guard and warden pays raises should go by how many assaults happen every year in their prisons. That will give them an incentive to minimize inmate on inmate violence.

    The biggest source of violence in U.S. prisons is drugs. The more drugs in a prison. The more violence you're bound to see. This should also be taken into consideration when paying guards and wardens.

    As far as white collar/non-violent crime goes. I don't think it should receive harsh prison terms. The people who commit them should be allowed to pay back and if they can't they should be put to work for the government for X number of years. Doing something like cleaning streets or building roads. If they don't want that. Off to jail.

    I didn't vote on the one for drugs for a reason : I don't believe somebody who is moving 10-15 metric tons of heroin into the U.S. should get away with it when heroin kills thousands of people. The same goes for somebody who's creating drugs that are directly responsible for killing people.
    I like the idea of focusing money the way the school system does.

    Guards' and wardens' behavior should definitely be checked into regularly. There is a lot of unnecessary violence prevalent in the prison systems committed by the guards. This is easily witnessed in the Stanford Prison Experiment conducted at Stanford University with college students:

    Our planned two-week investigation into the psychology of prison life had to be ended prematurely after only six days because of what the situation was doing to the college students who participated. In only a few days, our guards became sadistic and our prisoners became depressed and showed signs of extreme stress.
    Apparently the guards became degrading and violent. If you want to learn more go to: this website.

    Of course, a lot of the violence would dissipate with proper prison reform.

    I agree with you about the drug offenders who produce, sell, or smuggle any drug. It sort of reminds me of the AMC show "Breaking Bad".
    "All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language...No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." - John Donne

  10. #40
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    Re: Prison reform

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanitas View Post
    I agree with you about the drug offenders who produce, sell, or smuggle any drug. It sort of reminds me of the AMC show "Breaking Bad".
    Well marijuana is produced. I don't think the mere production of a drug should be grounds for sending somebody to jail. Hard drugs? That is a different story. I have never heard of a marijuana or shrooms overdose. I've heard of ecstasy overdoses, heroin overdoses, crack overdoses etc. I doubt many people here would be anywhere near okay with a company that produces a product which is directly responsible for the deaths of thousands. If cigarettes could kill you after a single use do you know how illegal they would be?

    Now bring up how drugs like meth don't kill people and I'll show you how when morticians write down causes of death. They don't write down "choice". They write down : "Crystalmeth overdose".

    Before anybody decides to bring up a car analogy think about this. What do you think the government would do to a company who's product was built with 0 safety precautions or any kind? That is exactly what drugs like heroin and cocaine are. They are drugs who do not guarantee any kind of safety. Name me a single car that meets not a single standard of safety for it's driver? As much as Libertarians like to deny it. It is not in anybody's interest to allow public access to hard drugs regardless of how regulated they are. Pure & Simple.

    Create versions of these drugs that can not give people overdoses while maintaining the high and I'll be on their side. Until then. Tough luck.
    Last edited by Hatuey; 05-23-09 at 09:55 PM.
    I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. - MLK

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