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Is jail the new welfare system?

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posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 08:36 PM
The Atlantic suggests so in an article titled "Mass Incarceration Has Become the New Welfare"

When Ta-Nehisi Coates says that America’s bloated and enormously expensive dependence on imprisonment has created a “social service program … for a whole class of people,” he hits the nail on the head. Perhaps correctional expenditures—police, courts, jails, prisons, halfway houses, parole offices, and all the rest—are better classified as “welfare” expenditures.

Mass incarceration is not just (or even mainly) a response to crime, but rather a perverse form of social spending that uses state power to address a host of social problems at the back end, from poverty to drug addiction to misbehavior in school. These are problems that voters, taxpayers, and politicians—especially white voters, taxpayers, and politicians—seem unwilling to address in any other way.

The incarceration rate in the US is mindboggling - you have the largest prison population in the world - peaking at about 2.8 million in 2008, and now "down" to about 2.2 million - about 0.7% of the total population.

Even china has fewer prisoners - with a population 3-4 times the size! Even accounting for possible other forms of punishment in china that's pretty impressive!!

About 3% of the US population was in prison, or on probation, or on parole, in 2008 - it's a bit lower now apparently (from wiki link data and links)

So is The Atlantic right?

Does this boil down to an "alternative welfare system" that is "acceptable" to the remaining public and politicians???

posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 08:45 PM
As an American, I pretty much agree with the Atlantic and that article. It is something I have wondered about for a long time. One example is homelessness. I can only speak for the city I live in, Denver. We have a pretty large homeless population that is way under-reported in my opinion. And trust me, I live in the "hood". I see it everyday. Lots of homeless people commit crimes just so they can go to jail or prison. 3 meals, showers, workouts, you can even learn a trade in there. So why not.
I think it's a good thing they give prisoners skills that they can use in the real world. But often, our regular (not talking about max security) prisons are better than the environments these people were in prior to going there. Stability, mental help, spiritual help. Oh and everything is clean and tidy. Sounds pretty great if you were starving on the street. Or grew up in poverty with abuse.

I feel like they should make prisons the most horrible, awful, place you could possibly ever want to go. Maaaaybe we would have less criminals if the punishment matched the crime. But that's just me.

Let's also not forget that our prisons are just a big money making machine. Our whole legal system is.

posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 08:46 PM

Does this boil down to an "alternative welfare system" that is "acceptable" to the remaining public and politicians???

Well I can see one side never letting a good crisis go to waste to spread the wealth around.

So I guess yeah.

posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 08:53 PM
a reply to: alishainwonderland

Uh have you ever been to jail? The way you describe it makes it seem like a resort lol. No one besides maybe a small percentage of homeless would WANT to be in jail. I can say this from experience can you?

posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 09:14 PM
"" Is jail the new welfare system? ""

Well not really .....

The 35.4 Percent: 109,631,000 on Welfare

And I think the "not in jail" welfare system might be the "new jail" for many.

posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 10:04 PM
a reply to: Aloysius the Gaul

Great thread and a serious problem.

Considering that the criminal justice system is thoroughly intertwined with social services I would consider this to be a full scale experiment of social engineering and socialist behavioral modification techniques.

In my opinion, even when the state has bodily control over its subjects and the full authorization to compel, it cannot produce desirable results.

Are these not the very people that psychologists say they can help? How much more control could be had over this group of people?

posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 10:21 PM
a reply to: Aloysius the Gaul

Seeing as it's hard to get a job with a prison record, someone can go to prison for a minor drug offense and when they get out they turn to crime for income.

Which creates repeat offenders.

I think there should be more programs in place to help these people remain gainfully employed after incarceration.

And I don't mean just minimum wage jobs, either. Who would work for that when you can make much more from illegal activities?

posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 10:26 PM
a reply to: xuenchen

Good point!!

posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 10:54 PM
a reply to: Aloysius the Gaul

Greetings- For My 1000th POST:

It is also important to mention that many jails and prisons now are "Private" run by corporations like CCA™ What this has caused is in lieu of getting a PTA (Promise To Appear) folks are now booked into these jails and that booking includes a "booking fee" which is then transferred to the tax payer.

I can also address this from a Law Enforcement angle. I was working before and during "The Crack War" a tangent of the bigger boondoggle "War on Drugs" During the Crack War, a majority of Urban males (read: black or 'other' ; non-voter) received PRISON while the sub-Urban males (read: white or affluent; voter) received PROBATION. Is this because the Urban made even more $$$ than those running the game? These Urban males received sentences up to 25 years so they're just now getting out of their incarceration. This is a $3B/year industry and "They" need bodies for the fees/bed fees and they need workers to make their "Prison Denims"

The aforementioned was dealing with both coc aine hydrochloride or "Powder" and coc aine base- "Rock/crack" When the seller 'rocks' it up they get even more product to sell. How You can tell if You reside where there is a "Private Jail" check the local newspaper and see how many are getting booked on 'misdemeanors' when they once got released on a citation/PTA. In 2001 Afghanistan supplied 7% of the world's opium. Since 'The War' that number has increased to 86+%. Is there a rash of heroin usage in Your area? How about opiate based pain meds?

This is an excellent movie that describes this to a "T". The movie covers that over 90% of folks that are incarcerated are there on a "Plea Bargain" this usually means an alleged Suspect hasn't the funds to hire a lawyer so they are provided a Public Defender and in some States this is NOT free, although it is supposed to be.

In closing: It is a racket..


posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 10:58 PM
"Jail" (Prison) is the new work camp. Slave labor in the modern age.

posted on Sep, 16 2015 @ 11:19 PM
a reply to: JimNasium

Your comment on opium is spot on. Had afriend over there who said all he did was guard poppy fields. Crazy world we live in. Good to know if social security goes bust, there is always the option of jail to take care of me. Lol

posted on Sep, 17 2015 @ 12:14 AM
a reply to: Aloysius the Gaul

Being on the other side of the pond I only know what I read and see on the tv. But what's been obvious is that you have a huge industry built around the prison system which is funded by the best payer in the world who never defaults, e.g. tax payers money - the milk and honey for the exploitative who have found a bountiful pond to sup on.

Doesn't the prison service also serve in New York State or somewhere else like that as a huge block vote? I remember reading about that little benefit also.

Many of the prisons are put in for making money and the courts obviously love to go along with this scam, I would imagine is a very good backhander. But in fairness how many of the inmates actually deserve a custodial service - I won't go into the black/white argument cos that's another topic.

posted on Sep, 17 2015 @ 12:21 AM
a reply to: alishainwonderland

I get the impression you think 'Ah Hotel Prison, how nice". But have you ever lost your freedom or been expected to live in a virtual cage?

There are a lot of people with absolutely no personal experience of what they have a strong opinion about. Nothing wrong with strong views but these figures for incarceration surely should bother you - a higher proportion than China, which we associate with huge numbers of political prisoners just stuffed into jail to get them out of circulation. Odd to say the least in the 'Land of the Free'.

You might also wonder about those who are actually innocent of a crime but guilty of being caught in an unjust court. Surely they don't deserve your bread, water and chains only view?

Many people also think that prison should be about rehabilitation for the majority of inmates - like in the UK I expect loudly talked about by politicians, however rarely if ever delivered by them, who have committed far greater crimes and corruption during their political careers than any prisoner, yet escaped the jail they deserve.

posted on Sep, 17 2015 @ 02:41 AM
Type of welfare? Possibly. but I don't know anyone jumping inline to get in. I most definitely think we have a mass-incarceration problem in the united states. I think this justice system as a whole is a profit driven joke/circus. Prison is not a place to go, to get off the street? ha as another poster said. Some of the residents are very manipulative, aggressive, predators. and most homeless will be taken advantage of, simply just prey. I think, if anything the prison system is substituting as a Mental Health Facility, without the help.

posted on Sep, 17 2015 @ 03:00 AM
The work houses of Britain in the 18th and 19th century were considered somewhere to treat the sickness of poverty. Think Oliver Twist. I'm surprised they haven't returned sooner. I imagine it's a conservative s wet dream. Punishing the poor with enforced labour in return for a daily slop of gruel. Just don't ask for more.
edit on 17-9-2015 by woodwardjnr because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 17 2015 @ 03:05 AM
Rehabilitation model for most offenses, harsher punishments for some, cut out the drug nonsense as those people are sick and it's like locking someone up for pneumonia. It's also like locking someone up for having a six pack in the car in many circumstances.

The prison system is screwy here. It needs to be addressed. I got a day in jail (I got to pick the day, cop drove me home) and a fine for driving drunk, never even lost my license. If you can pay to play there are basically no repercussions other than financial. If you can't afford it, you may wind up in jail or starving. Some people become felons and are screwed for life for something far more benign. It's retarded. let the punishment fit the crime.

I don't really see it as a welfare alternative though, just a problem.
edit on 1720150920151 by Domo1 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 17 2015 @ 03:12 AM
Prison is nothing more than big business these days,it maximizes profits for its investors at the expense of the people ....and that has largely been achieved through the war on drugs....

The people running the show are very deserving of the punishments they are dishing out

posted on Sep, 17 2015 @ 03:18 AM
America really is an awesome country, theirs lots of aspects to the United States that citizens should obviously be very proud of. But, that obsession with law and order in the US, is nothing short of a total disgrace! I just got to say.

That notorious hard line approach to the 'war on drugs' is obviously a huge part of the problem. I wish I could say it was the whole problem, but the fact is its just not. The hard line 'war on drugs' approach is probably only just over 50% of the problem.

I watch all those American cop shows and my jaw just drops every single time and I'm always in total astonishment of the petty crap that police whack the cuffs on people for, then drag them off to jail.... It's just crazy.

But anyway... Every American should educate themselves and watch this documentary 'War on Drugs- Prison Industrial Complex'

The documentary is over 15 years old, but is just as relevant now as it was then. It'll just completely blow the mind of anyone who takes the hour an a half out of there life to actually watch it.

posted on Sep, 17 2015 @ 03:54 AM
perhaps someone would like to explain why the welfare system is a bad thing. And please, if sombody does it explain why, dont bother with all the diatribe the media has trained you to regurigitate. Please try and provide reasons which most of us are unlikly to have heard a 1000 times before.

I would prefer if they would also tell me:

Have they heard of corporate welfare?
Do they know how much money is spent on corporate welfare each year
Do they they think that corporate welfare is also bad? and if so why?


posted on Sep, 18 2015 @ 12:48 PM
Great thread ! I know here where I live the legal system is a money racket preying mostly on the poor and unfortunate. Once you get into trouble and in the system it is almost impossible to get out of it until they have taken everything they can possibly squeeze out of you. Almost any crime and your are forced into a court referral program that drug tests you on demand at their whim daily. It cost you 25.00 each time they have you come in. once a month you have to report for a mandatory test - 25.00 plus 25.00 monthly reporting fee. Depending on what you are in trouble for you might have to go to anger management classes or parenting classes on one of the many of the other programs that are all ran by private companies contracted by the city or the county and they just suck you dry. All the while the court is demanding their fines and court costs. One small town not far from here was was completely shut down last year because they were all so corrupt.

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