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What IS the point of the prison system?

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posted on Mar, 9 2007 @ 11:57 AM
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It seems the prison system (in America anyway) isn't "correcting" or "rehabilitating" the true criminals that walk through its gates and only serves to make the relatively light offenders heavier and more professional by throwing them in along with the more serious ones.

And of course the conditions aren't the same in every prison but they tend to range from:

--Harsh, brutal living conditions that resemble POW camps in they're standards of housing and treating inmates.

--Comfortable, "fully featured" correctional facilities that have better living conditions than most poor neighborhoods.

And there's also solitary confinement, which is basically a form of slow, mental torture IMO.


What is the purpose of sending people to prisons?
What should happen? They should be discouraged by the experience?
Some do but many many more don't , and many get even worse thanks to it.

It's a solution that says basically "lets put criminals away in big detention centers for some time". So the criminal gets sent away for say....5 years and than gets back out again.

If the point's to punish him, why not simply torture him for a certain period (while leaving him physically capable)?

If the point's to correct him why aren't there many education classes in prisons? Or psychiatric treatment for all prisoners?

And in the case of a life-in-prison sentence, if the point's to 'put him away for good' , why not just kill him and get it over with? What value is there for living the rest of his life in prison on the tax payer's expense?

I understand that it's meant to be a system of punishment that's built so it violates the fewest possible civil rights, so that even if an innocent person gets convicted, he won't be abused for his misfortune. and that's actually kind of encouraging and right.

BUT, is it worth the price of massive failure in 'real' convictions and generally not as bad as a punishment for very dangerous criminals should be?
What should societies treatment of criminals be like?
-Punishment (cheap and discouraging but not socially contributing)
-Correction (socially ideal but expensive and varies from person to person)

Should criminals be treated the same way they treated they're victims (I think so)?




posted on Mar, 9 2007 @ 10:37 PM
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Should criminals be treated the same way they treated they're victims (I think so)?


Absolutely not!! That's just absurd!! Or perhaps I'm taking this too literally.

Are you saying that if someone shot someone else, they should be shot themselves?

Making one person suffer for making someone else suffer is not the point of a prison or any other judiciary organization.

I think prison's purpose is to discourage criminals from acting wrongly again.

And also it is a correction facility because their sentence and consequences are also based upon their behavior and improvement. Like if you talk back, misbehave or cause any trouble, your sentence will be englongated and vice versa.

Obviously I've never been put in jail for anything serious, so I can't really speak from experience, but I would imagine they're trying their damndest to make you think twice before acting again.



posted on Mar, 10 2007 @ 05:07 AM
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Originally posted by Paresthesia
And also it is a correction facility because their sentence and consequences are also based upon their behavior and improvement. Like if you talk back, misbehave or cause any trouble, your sentence will be englongated and vice versa.


You do realize they can behave normally in prison so they get out early or something, and still be the same person they were when they got in there?

Rewarding prisoners for good behavior doesn't "train" them for life afterwards, it just tell them how they should behave in prison.
It may turn around young inmates but it won't do much to "correct" predatory anti-social criminals that get treated like this.
Psychiatric therapy might though....



Making one person suffer for making someone else suffer is not the point of a prison or any other judiciary organization.

I think prison's purpose is to discourage criminals from acting wrongly again.


By not making them suffer for making someone else suffer? By not punishing them AT ALL?? Maybe I'm taking this too literally but some degree of immediate punishment must be applied, because if an individual goes and violets the law he's really not that into thinking ahead, certainly not enough in order to be discouraged by incarceration.

And this brings us back to my first post......
What in the prison discourages the criminals? And just how effective is it?
(Not much according to this this)

[edit on 10-3-2007 by HAL the bot]



posted on Mar, 10 2007 @ 10:46 AM
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If you ask me, the point of the prison system is to:

Get cheap labor out of people
Make money for those who run the prisons (both public and private prisons)
Breed more/more hardcore criminals for those who get out (there would be no criminal justice system without criminals)
Take minorities, especially black men, off the streets
To keep the American public fearful of crime, thus enabling the Feds to build up the American police state in plain view



posted on Mar, 10 2007 @ 03:09 PM
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Mass executions it is!*

Or do you have any other solutions?












*Kidding



posted on Mar, 11 2007 @ 05:54 AM
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I'm all for radical reforms of the prison service, I think as a civilised democracy we have an obligation to help rehabilitate those who have done wrong and also target those who are likely to turn to crime because of their socio-economic background. However no matter what good ideas are brought to the table any well meant intentions fall to nothing if there is no sense that prison serves to punish the offender with an appropriate sentence, that the lenght and conditions of that sentence should act as a detterent and that primarily prisons exist to keep wrong doers away from the general public. If that fact isn't realised it just leads to criminals losing all fear of the law and taking advantage and the public losing faith in it.



posted on Mar, 11 2007 @ 09:01 AM
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I've been in a prison. I had 3 months of an inside look at how it works in a small town in Texas.
You'd be surprised how many people actually get a rush from being incarcerated. It fulfills something in them - the need for attention, a sense of self identity, drama....and many of the guards "play along" with the inmates, further catering to their delusions of criminal glory and power.

In prison - one can be "the big man/woman". It's a game for a lot of them. That also applies to the guards.

Mental health problems? You bet. On both sides of the cell door.



posted on Mar, 11 2007 @ 03:33 PM
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Prison should be to remove those from society who do not want to live by the common rules we all live by.

Prison should be about punishment and be the nastiest place we can make it so those who go in and finish their sentence, never want to return.

All this liberal nonsense about helping them is not what most decent people want to hear. If Government and those liberals asked the people what prison should be about, I think they would not like what they heard.

Prison should be a place, none of us want to go to. And for those serious criminals. Execute them.



posted on Mar, 11 2007 @ 03:35 PM
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3 months?! what did you do?

Fascinating account EYES!
If we have anyone else who's been "inside" please share with us your experience.

This truly sheds light on the whole phycological aspect of imprisonment, and further demonstrates how it can cause mental deterioration, rather then improvement.

I for one never imagined how strong the whole "role-play" thing gets....
It's really creepy.
And it brings up the prospect of psychiatric treatment for the guards, as well.
How rigorous are the screenings for becoming a prison guard anyway?



posted on Mar, 11 2007 @ 04:00 PM
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Originally posted by Freedom ERP
Prison should be about punishment and be the nastiest place we can make it so those who go in and finish their sentence, never want to return.


In my mind, making the legal system all about punishment won't be so useful in the long term social benefit.

Prisoners are people too, and many of them have suffered through great hardships simply for being born. These lash out against society because they were deprived of the minimal caring and love most of us get and that every human needs in order to grow into a normal person.

It is in fact an attention issue for many of them, and by punishing them, by giving them more reasons to hate and less good things to lose or hold on to, you'll essentially harden them and turn them into worse anti-social individuals.

Most prisoners should be treated with a measure of caring but some won't respond until years into they're sentence, or until they're isolated or something.

Social problems aren't so simple. Every individual involved is a unique person, so collective reference to these issues isn't usually practical or optimal. (Then again, nothing really ever is with these things..)

[edit on 11-3-2007 by HAL the bot]



posted on Mar, 11 2007 @ 04:14 PM
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I believe I will chime in on this one:
In the past when it was first introduced, it was a means for the offender to do pennance. Back then, there was no modern convience, and the rules were stricter. From what I have heard, both from some ex convicts and a few prison employees, as well as documentarys, there needs to be a change in how to deal with prisoners in prisons and jails. Being cruel and torture is out, but how does letting a prisoner watch TV or giving him what would amount to entertainment, a means to reform, or based off of the current violence, allow him to have contact with the outside to continue on with his criminal carreer. Prisons should be, in my opinion, a physically uncomfortable to the prisoner and have no ammenities. If they are going to pay a debt to society, go back to the chain gang and have them work their debt off. But work on having them do reform. Outside contact needs to be limited, as to prevent incidents where someone on the outside gets killed because of a vendetta, or even causing problems in other prisons. It needs to go back to, if you go to jail or prison you are there to do penance and improve yourself to become a member of society and not to return.

Those are ma thoughts.



posted on Mar, 11 2007 @ 04:19 PM
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Hal - I'll be happy to answer questions about what happened that caused me to be there in U2U.

Some of it is intensely personal and I don't wish to derail the thread...but I'll tell you this much. For someone who suffers from a ten year history of a mental disorder, being subjected to jail is one of the worst things that can happen.

No one took me seriously - or my concerns - because "everyone pulls that kind of talk in here".



posted on Mar, 11 2007 @ 07:21 PM
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This is a great question, and frankly one that I believe goes unnoticed too often. Ultimately, the goal of our current "system" is to hold offenders accountable by offering a "stiff" punishment. The stiffer the punishment, the more accountability. We all know that life does not work like that. If a child misbehaves, a smack on the ass really does nothing to resolve the issue. It is negative reinforcement that we hope will deter the individual from participating in the same anti-social behaviour. Prisoners can sit in their cells and do as they please over the duration of their time. Where is the accountability in that? If someone breaks into my home, or my car, or assaults, murders, etc., my family, we are the victims. Not the state! Currently, the system views the state as the victim and expects restitution to be provided to the state. Little to no restitution is ever provided to the victim. They are left with what is left of their life and forced to deal with it on their own terms. All the while we paint the state as the poor, innocent victim.

I'm currently involved with a Restorative Justice program that is based on accountability. However, we go about it in a completely different manner. A stiff punishment does not equate to accountability. We take victims, offenders, and the community, and sit them down for a face-to-face interaction, in hopes of coming to amends. If a home is broken into, the home owner is a victim, the neighbours are victims, it is really a two pronged issue. However, our current system sees the state as the victim. Anti-social behaviours are all geared towards the state, and not the actual victim, who deserves restitution. With our organization, who mainly deals with youth, hold individuals accountable through extrajudicial measures. Whether it is formal apologies, community service, face-to-face interactions with the victims, and attempts to provide the necessary restitution to the victim of the offense. All of these are where we lie our emphasis, not this narrow-minded approach that dishing out life sentences is some indication of our Utopian ways.

What I love about the organization that I am involved with, is that we offer a voice to the victims, and the community. In our current system, we do not offer much of a voice to the victim, and the community really has no say in the ordeal. Victims have their impact statements which may influence the proceedings, but we can only assume the degree that it comes into play. With us, we negotiate how we can come to amends, and the victims, and community, are given an opportunity to express how the situation has affected them.

At the end of the day, all parties tend to walk away satisfied with how things play out.



posted on Mar, 12 2007 @ 09:15 AM
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chissler,

I am not a fan of prisoners just sitting in their cells for 23 or 24 hours a day.

Let them do work to re-pay some of the debt to society. I firmly believe in chain gangs and having prisoners clearing the verges of roads and motorways. Doing the kind of work, many of us would not want to do.

As for restorative justice, more liberal do gooding. Prison should be a hard and nasty place that people should not want to return to. What should my taxes go to help criminals improve. I want criminals to pay society for their crimes and that means hard, unpleasant work.

And if a sentence is 10 years, that's what it is. 10 years!!



posted on Mar, 12 2007 @ 09:19 AM
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Originally posted by Freedom ERP
chissler,

I am not a fan of prisoners just sitting in their cells for 23 or 24 hours a day.

Let them do work to re-pay some of the debt to society. I firmly believe in chain gangs and having prisoners clearing the verges of roads and motorways. Doing the kind of work, many of us would not want to do.

As for restorative justice, more liberal do gooding. Prison should be a hard and nasty place that people should not want to return to. What should my taxes go to help criminals improve. I want criminals to pay society for their crimes and that means hard, unpleasant work.

And if a sentence is 10 years, that's what it is. 10 years!!


Ah but you see we are in agreement. I agree that prison should not be a cake walk, and that accountability needs to be what our primary goal is. I disagree with the notion that we allow prisoners to "sleep" through their sentence. Ten years, should be ten years. The only point that I am trying to emphasize is, a ten year sentence does not necessarily equate to accountability for the individual's offense.

Restorative Justice, Liberal do gooding? I strongly disagree, but I do respect your opinion. RJ is emphasized on youth, as it should be. And I believe it's cause is just.



posted on Mar, 12 2007 @ 09:26 AM
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Originally posted by chissler

Restorative Justice, Liberal do gooding? I strongly disagree, but I do respect your opinion. RJ is emphasized on youth, as it should be. And I believe it's cause is just.


For the first or second offence, I can see the merit of RJ. But for habitully criminals, how far do you go with RJ?



posted on Mar, 12 2007 @ 09:29 AM
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Originally posted by Freedom ERP
For the first or second offence, I can see the merit of RJ. But for habitully criminals, how far do you go with RJ?


Great question.

RJ is geared towards individuals who are willing to admit their wrongdoing, and do whatever they can to provide restitution directly to the victim. We are not interested in dealing with individuals who are not prepared to take responsibility for what they have done. With that said, are clients referred to RJ more than once? Yes. Do we frown upon it? Yes. But some people deserve a second, a third, and maybe even a forth chance. We would not allow the system to be abused by individuals who contiously break the law with no regard for the safety of others. These individuals need to do some hard time and understand that anti-social behaviours are not acceptable. But for those who have made a mistake, we are here to hold them accountable while giving them a second chance in life.

We emphasize on youth and tend to deal with minor to moderate offenses. Murder, manslaughter, sexual based offenses, etc., are not touched by RJ.



posted on Mar, 12 2007 @ 09:43 AM
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I've always considered the purpose of prison, and our justice system (in an ideal society) was to protect society from harm in the most efficient, and least destructive way possible.

In that, rehabilitation is the best way to deal with the issue. If someone is truly rehabilitated, then they no longer pose a danger to society, and can then be put back into the machine, without expending any more governmental resources. If someone isn't able to be rehabilitated in the their initial time in prison, then their crimes are dealt with on an individual basis, and their sentence increases with each crime in an attempt to further rehabilitate.

This isn't a matter of bleeding heart liberalism, this is about the best possible way to protect society as a whole. This includes the offenders. What good could they possibly do cooped up in a cell all day.

I'm all for putting them to work while they are behind bars. Since they can't contribute to society in any other way due to being incarcerated, they should contribute in any way they can.

And, for the record, Death should never be an option until we can be 100% accurate on all convictions.



posted on Mar, 12 2007 @ 10:52 AM
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O.K. chissler. RJ sounds great, it really does, but it's not a systemic solution IMO.

Society is a system. Run by the state. When an individual breaks societies laws, he is tried by the state because the community is usually not a very objective crowd, and it cannot be allowed to be the "court" no matter how right it is.

The state-run justice system was made to deal with this whole justice and proven guilt business so that you don't have to, and so that angry communities don't lynch innocent people. It's good for finding out who's guilty, but after that...
Plus, there's the other and of that scale, where criminals get to walk if they express regret before the community, while feeling no regret at all. You break a law, you're punished. Not matter how guilty you feel.
Some community connection can be implemented however, to provide that restitution you were talking about.

Now about prisoners being put to work, why deprive jobs from unemployed people? especially for prisoners who will never use they're paycheck to buy goods, and thus bring more money into the market, making the economy grow.
It's not a very socially (and economically) effective solution.

And yes, complete rehabilitation is the best possible solution. But so is a world without crimes. It's all but impossible at the moment.
Just like we can't "rehabilitate" someone who's broken up with his girlfriend, we simply don't Know how to fully eradicate people's various motives for breaking the law. So even if we do spend a lot of money on building a rehabilitation system for all prisoners, we still can't release them sense we have no way of knowing if we did in fact make them productive members of society or they're just pretending.



posted on Mar, 12 2007 @ 10:54 AM
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If rehabilitation doesn't work, then the only response is life imprisonment, or death for all crimes. Otherwise someone may go out and steal again, or do drugs again, or whatever.



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