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What IS the point of the prison system?

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posted on Mar, 12 2007 @ 12:31 PM
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Originally posted by Rasobasi420
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.


I'm just saying we can't found a penal system based on rehabilitation. Or punishment. It should be a balance of the two. Only unlike todays system it should WORK.




posted on Mar, 12 2007 @ 12:49 PM
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From my point of view, the prison system has several purposes.

First, to let people know that if they violate laws and get caught that they will get a big timeout from society. Perhaps it may cause somone to think, am I willing to give up the next 5 years of my life for what I'm about to do.

Second, for those people who actually commit a crime, this is the introduction to the rest of their life if they continue along this path.

Third, it is a place to keep violent people away from the rest of society. That's right, it's a place to put those people who cannot control their violent tendencies. Third strike and you're their for the rest of your life.



posted on Mar, 12 2007 @ 05:19 PM
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Originally posted by chissler

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.


Second time I could just see but third and fourth times?? You say RJ is about the client (what an 'interest' way to describe them) taking responsibility. How can being caught and processed the third and fourth time be taking responsibility?



posted on Mar, 12 2007 @ 05:25 PM
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Originally posted by Freedom ERP
Second time I could just see but third and fourth times?? You say RJ is about the client (what an 'interest' way to describe them) taking responsibility. How can being caught and processed the third and fourth time be taking responsibility?


What I am trying to acknowledge is the underlying message that if a client was referred to the program for a third, or forth time, we would not be as idealistic as in the initial phase. The first referral leaves the sky as the limit. With the second one, it is understandable that mistakes can happen and we still have plenty of room to maneuver. But when you run into the third, and forth referral, it is quite clear at that point that this is not the direction this individual should be going about this.

It is very, very rare to ever see an individual get a third referral to RJ. I hope you do not have the impression that it is the norm, as it is quite the contrary.

The local branch that I am currently working with has a success rate of 92%. That means 92% of the individuals that come through the door straighten their life out and refrain from participating in anti-social behaviours.

92%! Our current system would only dream of a success rate that high.



posted on Mar, 12 2007 @ 09:20 PM
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Originally posted by HAL the bot
Society is a system. Run by the state.


This is a true statement to a point. Society and the state are different entities. The state is instituted to control society, but they have different sets of rules and punishments.

One can run afoul of the law and somehow remain endeared to society and one can offend society and suffer dire consequences without breaking the law.



posted on Mar, 13 2007 @ 01:59 PM
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Originally posted by GradyPhilpott

Originally posted by HAL the bot
Society is a system. Run by the state.


This is a true statement to a point. Society and the state are different entities. The state is instituted to control society, but they have different sets of rules and punishments.


The point of that statement was to indicate the fact that the state is responsible for dealing justice. Society can't run itself so it gives the authority to make decisions (except from electing certain positions within the state) to the state, so it doesn't matter (or shouldn't matter) what society wants or thinks about crimes and punishment, because that's the responsibility of the state.

Prisons are an institution of the state. And that's what we're dealing with here. "Street justice", while being a factor isn't accountable, and thus not something we can hold accountable and demand to change it to improve societies life.



posted on Mar, 13 2007 @ 02:16 PM
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It seems you are ignoring the reciprocal relationship between the state and society, at least as it exists in a true democratic republic, not one of those cheesy communist affairs that throws around the terms democratic and republic a little too freely.

In our system of government, what society thinks of crime and punishment is very important and what the public thinks can become law. Not overnight, mind you, as it is designed to be methodical, but given due process, the will of the public will prevail.

[edit on 2007/3/13 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on Mar, 13 2007 @ 04:02 PM
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I agree with Grady.

The law is a list of social norms that we, as citizens, are expected to abide by. They are not norms because they are the law, they are the law because they are norms.



posted on Dec, 4 2007 @ 01:41 PM
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If we agree that the current penal system does not, in general, work why is such a stretch to propose alternative methodologies? Especially if those methodologies get at the root of the crime and or seek to educate the perpetrator on the impact of the crime. Restorative justice (RJ) attempts to do this by allowing the person committing the crime to see not only the direct impact of the crime but also the ripple effect. For a low level example, not only did stealing that CD deprive Madonna of income, but her musicians, backup singers, studio technicians. The teenager at the cash register got fired for not noticing the theft so the college application fee was not sent in. The alarm went off as the thieve left the store - so office Benjamin raced to the scene causing a minor accident at the corner of Smith & Firth Rds. Janie was late to pick up her son at the sitters' as a result of filling in an accident report at the scene, causing the sitter to miss her son Joey's 1st grade play. Joey starts to cry when he does not see his Mom and then 23 other players collapse in nervousness and fear. Joey, the next Anthony Hopkins loses his taste for the stage.

How can the thief make amends or even begin to understand the gravity of the crime if s/he sees it strictly as a theft from super-rich Madonna?

Dumb example - but it gives light to the fact that one is hardly repentant to all who are harmed by anything stupid or criminal we might do. Further, it might take more than once for anyone (criminal or not) to understand that their action or lack of action impacts far more people than the "victim" and themselves. This is especially true for persons who have habitually blamed society, their parents, or whatever for things that they have done.
hasomewhat or entirely insane), we all can learn from our mistakes- particularly if we are aware of the impact.

Liberal rhetoric? Perhaps. But, RJ is known to work even with skeptics. What is the harm in trying it in every case where violent crime is not involved? Some offenders may wind up back in jail. But even if a few make it out of prison the rewards will have great, long-lasting impact on our society. The alternative of locking up petty thieves and the like with "hardened" criminals indicates we believe in dangerous criminals mentoring low level criminals. RJ is relatively cheap and has the potential of saving people and dollars. I am not saying all RJ produces miracles but I have witnessed too many turnarounds to drop the notion that it is a better alternative.



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 12:15 AM
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Originally posted by Freedom ERP
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.


From what I've read and been told by people with experience in prison I understand that nobody wants to just sit in their cell 23 hours a day. This happens when a prisoner is put on "administrative segregation," e.g. they are locked down because they have mental issues or are a disciplinary problem. They have no other person in their cell to talk to and usually no tv or radio and nothing to do all day but go stir crazy. It's a punishment, not a privilege.

Having a job in prison--food service, prison industries, maintenance, groundskeeping, cleaning, etc.--is a privilege eagerly sought. It structures the day, gives the prisoner purposeful activity and sometimes gives them a little bit of money (a very little bit) to save, send home or spend in the commissary. It is a reward for acceptable behavior.

The heyday of the concept of rehabilitation was in the 1950's and 60's. At that time there was optimism that criminal behavior could be treated and cured, much like a mental illness or a disease. At least since the 80's the "get tough" attitude has prevailed in popular opinion and many people are more cynical about the possibility of safely returning inmates to society. This is because of the rates of recidivism, because some inmates adapt so well to prison culture that they can't function outside, and because there is no known cure for those we call sociopaths, or anti-social personalities, though they're only a fraction of a prison's population.

I would like to see more effort expended toward finding truly effective methods of rehabilitation. To that end I support educational programs that help prepare inmates to make a living when they get out.I think psychotherapy can be a useful tool but people can successfully con the therapist. Chissler's program seems like something new and promising.

I agree that prison should be a place that no one wants to return to. But if we as a society cannot safely return a significant number of inmates to live productive lives in the outside world then we have failed miserably.

[edit on 12-12-2007 by Sestias]



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