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Prison Industrial Complex and Us

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posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 11:00 AM
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Das Experiment: An Analysis


The incarceration numbers in the United States are truly shocking. There are currently more than 2.3 million people imprisoned in various cells (local, state, federal, juvenile, and military) across the country. Hard to believe, but this number exceeds the entire population of Houston.
So we can imagine our prison system as a massive, but sprawled, metropolis.
A break down of our incarcerated citizens--

www.prisonpolicy.org...

I doubt any of us are overly surprised when violence breaks out among the inmates of a penitentiary, but what should horrify and shock us all is the sadism and lawlessness that we find among the good guys-- the police forces, the prosecution teams, the judge and juries and finally the prison guards. When those appointed to enforce the law flout the law, and with the tacit approval of the public, only the flimsiest veil of justice can be achieved.

With this in mind, I would highly recommend watching “Das Experiment,” or even the Hollywood equivalent “The Experiment” for a riveting glimpse into our own psychological profiles. Based on the Stanford Prison Experiment, Das Experiment shows us how quickly civilization can break down and highlights the type of sadism which revels in enforcing unjust laws, by the book, and subjugating others to extreme humiliation. I have to warn you-- watching this movie is not a passive activity. You will be drawn in and made to feel highly uncomfortable, and in the long run, you will be made an unwilling participant in the experiment.

And, depending on where you stand on the moral line between vengeance and mercy, you might just fail your own moral test. Who am I to judge?
(I am one who failed my own moral test, that is who lol).

If you are unfamiliar with the Stanford Prison Experiment, I suggest you read up on it, for the implications are truly disturbing and I think we have to imagine that if the simulation approximates the reality of prison life in the U.S., we have a mess on our hands that we really need to attend to.
alumni.stanford.edu...

Other excellent reading includes Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, and even In the Belly of the Beast (written by a lifelong offender- incarcerated since 12 years old)-- two polar opposite perspectives which provide a deeper understanding of the effects of imprisonment on a person.

The movie brought to mind several points I read in other sources, namely Man’s Search for Meaning, the horrific account of Viktor Frankl’s experience in a Nazi death camp, from a psychological standpoint. Frankl, early on in his account, draws attention to the unexpected malice with which the Capos (prisoners turned trustees, appointed special privileges) treated their former fellows once given power. This concept fits in quite well with that of the Stanford Prison Experiment, and later depicted in Das Experiment. It would seem that there are many would-be sadists lurking, just waiting for the “permission” to humiliate others.

Another disturbing aspect of our nature highlighted in the film is the way in which many of us view the downtrodden with contempt, and that the more debased a human being is, the more likely others are to treat them with inhumanity. We see this in the general contempt many have for “the poor,” with the way many are more likely to excuse criminal behavior from one dressed sharply (an officer) than from a person shabbily dressed (ghetto youth). CS Lewis makes an excellent point that the better we treat people the more we like them, and that the inverse is also true. In mere Christianity, Lewis writes, “The Germans, perhaps, at first ill-treated the Jews because they hated them: afterwards they hated them much more because they had ill-treated them. The more cruel you are, the more you will hate; and the more you hate, the more cruel you will become — and so on in a vicious circle for ever.”

Frankl writes about that sting of humiliation and debasement, which pains more than physical harm. “Das Experiment” does an excellent job in depicting the indelible but invisible blows wrought by humiliating and dehumanizing others.

The film forces the viewer to endure humiliation, uncertainty, claustrophobia, and constant tension. Unpleasant as it sounds (and is), the denouement forces the viewer to choose between vengeance and mercy in a way that is unsatisfying to all. But also, in a very uncomfortable way, a part of us all.

Under extreme conditions, how would you fare?




posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 11:07 AM
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Prisons are a private business now, prisoners are product. Profits are foremost, the more prisoners the more profit.

Ergo... the uS has the highest prison population on the planet. Many languish for menial crimes, some are incarcerated for lengthy periods without charge or set trial date, sometimes for years.



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 11:45 AM
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Profit and prison should never be used in the same sentance. Most people who go to prison end up far worse off after their sentance is served.

a reply to: zosimov



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 11:45 AM
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originally posted by: intrptr

Prisons are a private business now, prisoners are product. Profits are foremost, the more prisoners the more profit.

Ergo... the uS has the highest prison population on the planet. Many languish for menial crimes, some are incarcerated for lengthy periods without charge or set trial date, sometimes for years.


I would enthusiastically rebut that....of, course. We have had record prisoners for a long time. Long before privatized prisons.

Yes, they ARE products. Products of the public Union Sectors prison system that engenders rape murder and integration into ethnic groups for personal survival. That has been our lot for generations. Privatized prisons at least allows for safer facilities for prisoners and I have seen zero examples of prisoner abuse in the private system.

Sans the Public Sector Union agreements, wages, pensions and the like, the private system saves money.

It's not the private system that is incarcerating these people either. It's the legal system. I would say that the private system is an improvement, not that it's hard to improve what we've laughingly called our 'rehabilitation system'....
edit on 17-3-2018 by nwtrucker because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 12:06 PM
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originally posted by: nwtrucker


It's not the private system that is incarcerating these people either. It's the legal system.


One major problem is where these two overlap (Cheney and cronies).

But I think you make some very good points.
edit on 17-3-2018 by zosimov because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 12:21 PM
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I don't blame the prison problem on profit.

We have a crime problem that people profit from.

Not a profit problem that people commit crime for.



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 12:25 PM
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Okay my friends, while a debate on for-profit prisons is certainly a good one, and one that needs to be had...
anyone care to comment on the OP?




posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 12:45 PM
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a reply to: zosimov

As the saying goes "Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely"

Many of these guards and cops, due to them having authority, get corrupted by the power they have over people.



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 12:55 PM
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a reply to: starwarsisreal

Exactly one of the impulses I was hoping to explore with this topic. And a very relevent topic that applies to other realms of society as well (politics, entertainment, etc).

Thanks starwars! I have to step out for a bit but hope to have some engaging discussion exploring our own darker impulses (it's quite easy to blame "The Man" or "the criminal" but to examine our OWN psyche....)

Have a great day!



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 01:07 PM
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a reply to: zosimov

As a result of being victimized, many victims in turn became brutal.

It reminds me of how Hitler treated the Slavs in his war in the east.

By brutalizing them, he causes the Russians to be so brutal in response which led to tragedies such as the rape of Berlin.

Brutalizing the Slavs was one of the reasons why Nazi Germany lost to the Soviets.

I highly recommend reading the book "Ostkrieg Hitler's War of Extermination in the East"
edit on 3/17/2018 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 01:19 PM
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I do agree that we are too quick to jail some people, but I also think we have a lot people in prison simply because we have a lot of criminals. I think in order to explore this topic fairly, you have to look at it from all angles.

I think we have a lot of criminals because we have a severe breakdown of the family over the past 40 years, namely the social acceptance of single mothers a la baby mamas. We've literally mainstreamed a ghetto / redneck sub culture that breeds criminality and social dysfunction. The prison system is a symptom, not the actual problem imho.

In order to fix the prison system, you have to get to the root causes. Very few people are thrown in jail "just because". I'm a mid 40s black male. I've never been arrested and never jailed. My only interaction with the criminal justice system is arguing a traffic violation in court. If you don't do street sh*t, you don't go to jail. It really is that simple.

I grew up with a lot of people who are in prison now. Every single one of them did something that deserves jail time.




edit on 17-3-2018 by Edumakated because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 01:37 PM
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a reply to: Edumakated

It also has a lot to do with failed drug policies enacted by Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton.

Many people, instead of being rehabilitated simply got thrown into prison.

When they got released from prison, many of the inmates are denied food stamps and jobs which led them to join gangs out of desperation. While sure a lot joined because they wanted to, others joined because they don't have any other choice.

Also the rise of neoliberalism made it worse.

One of the reasons why the 1992 LA riots happened was because many black people lost their jobs due to factories in LA being shut down and going overseas.

This along with gangsta culture made crime rates worse.

I would say a combination of different things led to the mess today.
edit on 3/17/2018 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 01:45 PM
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originally posted by: starwarsisreal
a reply to: Edumakated

It also has a lot to do with failed drug policies enacted by Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton.

Many people, instead of being rehabilitated simply got thrown into prison.

When they got released from prison, many of the inmates are denied food stamps and jobs which led them to join gangs out of desperation.

Also the rise of neoliberalism made it worse.

One of the reasons why the 1992 LA riots happened was because many black people lost their jobs due to factories in LA being shut down and going overseas.

This along with gangsta culture made crime rates worse.

I would say a combination of different things led to mess today.


I do think the drug war is a utter and complete failure. I'd rather the effort and money we spend going towards real rehabilitation. I can support drug legalization mainly because I think it would help lower the crime rate by removing a lot of the profits out of hustling.

There are most certainly a lot of factors, but I don't think it is some devious PIC just throwing a bunch of innocents in jail.



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 01:50 PM
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a reply to: Edumakated

There are people that do benefit from the prison labor though.

I read somewhere that in Angola Prison (which is down by Louisiana) many of the prisoners worked in the cotton fields which happened to be owned by the descendants of slave owners.

There's a lot of groups that seek to profit from the current system.



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 01:56 PM
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originally posted by: starwarsisreal
a reply to: Edumakated

There are people that do benefit from the prison labor though.

I read somewhere that in Angola Prison (which is down by Louisiana) many of the prisoners worked in the cotton fields which happened to be owned by the descendants of slave owners.

There's a lot of groups that seek to profit from the current system.


no doubt. I don't believe prisons should supply labor to any company other than providing labor for necessary government projects. For example, I have no problem with prisoners cleaning up trash on highways or making license plates. However, I don't believe prisoners should be acting as employees for a private company.



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 02:19 PM
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a reply to: starwarsisreal

Another interesting concept that came up in "Das Experiment"-- our impulse to avenge evil acts measured against the danger of becoming that which we hate.

How many people could/actually do "turn the other cheek"?

Does mercy or forgiveness for certain acts leave us unsatisfied?

Does vengence really satiate our need for justice?

In the light of the above, what is justice and how can we achieve it?


And finally this: are we willing to excuse immoral acts when the law allows for them or when the law is behind it?


edit on 17-3-2018 by zosimov because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 02:26 PM
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a reply to: Edumakated

I absolutely agree that poverty, in conjunction with a general disdain for the family unit (it is pervasive in our culture- not just the baby mama, but the boss leaving his family for the secretary etc) has led to a break down that has affected nearly every one.

Fragmented and absent family leads to at-risk behavior and breaking laws which are disproportionately enforced in poorer neighborhoods.

One major point I meant to convey in my OP is the criminal element (and maybe even certain impulses leading "normal" people to harm or humiliate others) which exists on the side of the law, and whether we tend to find more excuses for this kind of crime.

edit on 17-3-2018 by zosimov because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 02:58 PM
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a reply to: zosimov

That's the thing, its far easier to give in to the Dark Side.

As for justice it has very different meaning for others. There those who believe justice means being the judge, jury, and executioner.

On your last question, I once read somewhere that in family courts even if the judge disagrees that the mother is unfit for the kids, he or she is still obligated to hand custody to the child even though the father is the better parent since the family courts tend to favor the mother over the father.

It sucks but a lot of it is not due to female supremacy but because many of the laws were created back when only the father get the jobs while the mother stay at home.




Although many men eligible for spousal support turn down the option simply on macho pride and a sense of own financial freedom, consider the father that turns down a possible alimony award he’s entitled to in order to smooth over a custody dispute. That’s not to say it’s their fault either because the bigger issue comes from the actual laws themselves. Even if you have a completely unbiased judge, the judge can only do what the law of their locality allows them to do.


familyblog.legalmatch.com...
edit on 3/17/2018 by starwarsisreal because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 03:02 PM
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originally posted by: nwtrucker

originally posted by: intrptr

Prisons are a private business now, prisoners are product. Profits are foremost, the more prisoners the more profit.

Ergo... the uS has the highest prison population on the planet. Many languish for menial crimes, some are incarcerated for lengthy periods without charge or set trial date, sometimes for years.


I would enthusiastically rebut that....of, course. We have had record prisoners for a long time. Long before privatized prisons.

Yes, they ARE products. Products of the public Union Sectors prison system that engenders rape murder and integration into ethnic groups for personal survival. That has been our lot for generations. Privatized prisons at least allows for safer facilities for prisoners and I have seen zero examples of prisoner abuse in the private system.

Sans the Public Sector Union agreements, wages, pensions and the like, the private system saves money.

It's not the private system that is incarcerating these people either. It's the legal system. I would say that the private system is an improvement, not that it's hard to improve what we've laughingly called our 'rehabilitation system'....


All fine points and would agree thats great,but the private prison systems also has lobbyists and funds the continued criminalization for the use of marijuana. SURELY YOU CAN SEE WHERE THAT KIND OF INFLUENCE needs to be curtailed or eliminated all together.



posted on Mar, 17 2018 @ 03:20 PM
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Prison only breeds better criminals.
Rehabilitation my ass.
I've done three months in county for a charge that was dismissed.
ALL CAPS. F-YOU-C-K THE PRISON SYSTEM.
It took some time to reintegrate in society.
I was turned loose with no job, no home...no pot to piss in.
Not even a simple apology for their screw up.



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