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The Prison System - Is it too Cruel?

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posted on May, 15 2009 @ 04:46 PM
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reply to post by andy1033
 


True indeed for me. The police harrased me constantly as a youth because I was different. If they want you they get you. and once your got, all the more reason to keep trying to get you. I managed to avoid prison time for along time. I dont deny I broke the law, but it's like the chicken and the egg, who made who?

I didn't grow up in poverty and i'm not disadvantaged mentaly(acording to me). I am now as I have always been, curious about the way things work and ever in search of truth. Even the truth about the truth I might already think is the truth! That is the reason I'm on this web site and also the reason I can't conform to the way the powers that be want me to be.

Thus I retire to the fact I must obey a multitude of laws, statutes and ordinances or face the overwhelming might of the government. Simply put I must do the things out here as I did in prison.
Go to work
Eat
Sleep
Go to the store
Exercise
Obey

I said before our prisons are a microcosm of our society. To live in relative peace you must avoid placing yourself under the jackboot of the authorities.




posted on May, 15 2009 @ 05:01 PM
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You ask a good question, which is hard for people to answer with an open mind unless they have been in prison themselves or have a loved one in prison. It is easy for someone to say it's not cruel if they have been in the prison system. Yes, some crimes do seem to deserve a harsh punishment. But some prisons go above and beyond that harsh punishment, dehumanizing inmates so much that what do you think happens when they are released? More crime and back to prison. It's a money-making system. So the ones who can make changes (more re-hab programs and such), won't. Yes, some prisons are easy, and it's not a big deal to do the time. But other prisons are hell-holes.
By the way, my husband is an innocent man in prison. And yes, I mean innocent of all his charges. (not "I shouldn't have gotten caught.") If people don't think that innocent people are thrown in prison and get the same cruel punishment as all the others, that's just crazy. There have been so many exonerations lately of innocent men, just fron DNA testing alone. We are in the unfortunate situation of no DNA to test, which is about the only thing looked at when deciding innocence. The system is sadly broken, and even though a lot of people truly think cruel punishment is deserving of criminals, innocent men and women have to suffer through it also.
I am sorry, I know the innocent in prison was not the topic, but that is part of the situation too.



posted on May, 15 2009 @ 05:03 PM
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True, bad things happen in prison, but so it is in society.
Go observe a 100 "Cell" apartment complex for a while in a below average neighborhood. Not "Ghetto" just "not rich".

Now picture everyone dressed alike, everyone the same sex, everyone over 20.

There you have a "prison" of sorts. Not that there are bars and such, Its just there is more space and a little more freedom.

The police patrol, there are fights and vandalism and robery, but not constantly. The average "Inmate" sits and conversates with others, goes to work, store, sleeps, .......

My point is that there are more similarities with the world you know and the prison system than diferences. Its just that the prisons are "superconcentrated".



posted on May, 15 2009 @ 07:39 PM
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It's easy to say that they are in prison because they broke "the law." But what about bad laws? What if a law was passed that made it illegal to collect rainwater? Would it be right to be sent to jail for it?

Would everyone be saying they deserved to be put in jail for collecting rainwater?



posted on May, 15 2009 @ 09:23 PM
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I was wondering when that question would pop up.

It seems to me that there are three things that society throughout the ages realy frowned upon.

Injuring or killing members of your society.
Destroying possessions of your society.
And stealing possessions from members of your society.

Every other law, statute or ordinance is subject to debate.
Heck, even the three major laws become requirements when warring with other societies.

One can easily argue no one should be jailed unless convicted of such a crime as these.
But then where would that end?
My psyche was injured by someones loud music?
Why make and sell the speakers?

The last I heard our (Americas) incarceration rate was 10 times that of China. Obviously we are not as free as we would think. We are the most incarcerated nation on the planet, yet we boast freedom.

I think the prisons are a money making machine, But just think of the people who go to court every day and DON'T get locked up. Tons of money from people who DON'T WANT TO BE LOCKED UP.



posted on May, 15 2009 @ 09:29 PM
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I was in the denton county jail for a few months in 23 hour lock down so I only had one hour a day out to take a shower, wash my clothes(in the sink with a bar of soap)..and watch t.v. other than that I was in the cell the whole time, it wasn't all that bad except for the shower was completely rusted and would flood up to like 2 feet so you would be standing in two feet of nasty water, it sucked but I deserved to be there, but there are many things they need to fix, some of the conditions are not nice.



posted on May, 17 2009 @ 03:01 PM
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In my humble opinion, cramming "criminals" together in an attempt to rehabilitate them is anything but pragmatic. In fact, when future generations look back, it may be the greatest paradox of our civilization. It's quite enigmatic when one truly thinks about how foolhardy of an idea it truly is. Institutionalizing criminal minds with other like minds is a beautiful example of just how flawed humanity's logic really is.

But it gets better.

We're going to take away their civil rights. We're going to take away their right to partake in the democratic process. Their right to own a firearm, and as an added bonus, we're going to make it tougher to get a job in the future. Furthermore, we still expect them to make the choice to be a model citizen in a society they are nay longer a part of, or we're going to put them back in an institution with the only people who have any respect for them.

The thing that makes prison cruel is that our society could care less if these people actually get better. Ask any employer who they'd pick if they had an application from someone with a record, and someone without. Good thing the one with a record just got out of prison, where he honed his skills and is now more capable of theft without detection. Otherwise he might starve, and we know that would be a travesty...

We rehabilitate them, but provide minimal outlets for success once they are released. The recidivism rate is absolutely ridiculous. However, it is to be expected when our idea of rehabilitation is sending you to a place with other sick people.

Think about it like this:

Sending offenders to prison is like sending people that have runny noses to a house full of the Swine Flu. There may have been a chance to save if they could have seen a doctor. However, the easiest way to handle undesirables is to quarantine(institutionalize) them.

I went to jail at the age of 19. While I was there I witnessed corruption amongst the correction officers. Drugs were trafficked from the corrections officers to an inmate in my pod, who then dispersed them to the population.

I was a short-timer. Only serving a week. I had an inmate approach me with a "business venture." Asking me to sell drugs for him on the outside when I was released and send him a cut. I simply told him that I planned to stay out of jail for the rest of my life. I had inmates ask me to smuggle stuff in if I were to come back. I had inmates ask me to make communications for them when I got out. The types of communications that get people locked up for conspiracy. It was easy for me to refuse all these offers, but for many it is quite difficult.

The thing that made it easiest was the fact that I was a short-timer. I could totally understand why someone who will be stuck on the inside for a long time falls into the traps of corruption. The more hardened of a criminal you are, the more respect other inmates have for you. In the penal system, respect is spelled, S-A-F-E-T-Y.

The cruelty of the penal system is an expectation for the sick to get healthy while spending all of their time with the sick.

Dillon



posted on May, 17 2009 @ 03:44 PM
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There is also a problem of what to do with violent youthful offenders. I cringe every time I hear a 14 year old boy is being tried as an adult. This is the same country that states they are a minor and cannot drink, smoke, vote and many other restrictions set upon them as being to immature. That thinking goes out the door when they commit a crime, stating they knew what they were doing.

While I do agree most teens know right from wrong, part of me still thinks they need to treated differently than adults. I still have hope they can be reformed, and maybe it is because I worked with troubled teens in the past.

Many states warehouse the teens until they are 18 and then transfer the violent ones to an adult prison for the rest of their lives. Other boys that live in the prison system are released with little or no skill or education. I think it should be made clear that what is available to reform juveniles and other prisoners vary from state to state. Many states have few programs while other states have an education system to help prisoners.

The system has needed reform for a while. They are finally using DNA to help release some of the innocent people who have been held for most of their lives, and they need to find programs to try and rehabilitate the younger offenders.



posted on May, 17 2009 @ 04:27 PM
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All prison systems are cruel and are designed that way.

While I am opposed to the death penalty... I have to say that if I was sentenced to life in prison at one of those super max jobs where you spend 23 hours a day in solitary I would beg them to kill me instead.

THAT... despite my objection to the death penalty... is a far crueler, more sadistic punishment.

Compared to that death would be an act of mercy.



posted on May, 18 2009 @ 12:04 AM
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Originally posted by Namaste
In my humble opinion, cramming "criminals" together in an attempt to rehabilitate them is anything but pragmatic. In fact, when future generations look back, it may be the greatest paradox of our civilization. It's quite enigmatic when one truly thinks about how foolhardy of an idea it truly is. Institutionalizing criminal minds with other like minds is a beautiful example of just how flawed humanity's logic really is.

But it gets better.

We're going to take away their civil rights. We're going to take away their right to partake in the democratic process. Their right to own a firearm, and as an added bonus, we're going to make it tougher to get a job in the future. Furthermore, we still expect them to make the choice to be a model citizen in a society they are nay longer a part of, or we're going to put them back in an institution with the only people who have any respect for them.

The thing that makes prison cruel is that our society could care less if these people actually get better. Ask any employer who they'd pick if they had an application from someone with a record, and someone without. Good thing the one with a record just got out of prison, where he honed his skills and is now more capable of theft without detection. Otherwise he might starve, and we know that would be a travesty...


Couldn't have put it better myself. This is what saddens me most about our prison systems, these are souls crying out for help yet we forget about them it's like out of sight out of mind, it just ain't fair. We're meant to be compassionate creatures and yet we treat our own kind like dirt.

When we wake up to the fact that it is us who have failed most of these folk perhaps then we can make a difference and give inmates some sort of hope for the future.

I bet most inside don't want to re-offend but like you said what chances and opportunity do they have when they get out! It's actually harder not easier for them to return to normal society. And we have idiots that claim they chose it that way. I'd like to put those same people in a cage to be honest.

Most offenders have had it hard their whole life and if anything they deserve a break from the desperate lives they have led. By this I mean better conditions and more skills taught to them inside. We give them nothing to do inside imagine if we taught them to build, anything say for example a quarter of prisons built sculptures to be placed in public places, imagine how much more beautiful the world would be. Plus they'd leave prison with a greater sense of pride and responsibility. That's just one idea.



posted on May, 18 2009 @ 12:40 AM
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Jail isn't meant to be comfy.

Youth who are not repeat violent offenders should not be treated like hardened criminals and the ongoing primary focus of their stay should be citizen education and rehab and mitigation of testable disorders. Get them help for dealing with their very real likelihood of having learning or social disorders that have never been properly addressed. Their brains are still growing, and the parts of their brains that allow for proper ability to understand consequences, and control themselves are still developing. This must be understood in their treatment.

In adult jails rape should be unacceptable and made difficult because it is a known factor. Use of rape as a societal pancea to punish those who have offended "us" is utterly unacceptable.

The significantly mental ill should not be jailed with other inmates. They should still be jailed. They just should be in a different type of jail.

All people in jail who have a chance of parole should be subject to policy that IMPROVES their chances of getting out and being reformed. Using a methodology which assures that they will be undermined and unprepared for living a better life is bad for ALL OF US. Not just them. These people get out. They often have girlfriends, wives, children, that they need to be able to deal with in a manner which is not completely messed up by having had to rub shoulders with insane violent criminals.

These rehab programs should not be simply on a willing basis. There should be FURTHER help available for those who want to pursue more avenues. ALL inmates should be required to participate in these. If they are problematic, they should be subject to it in their cells on an individual basis. Either way, even if personal willingness is the key to transformation, all inmates should be made aware of what and how they could improve themselves so that it is not a mystery. It may not WORK for the non-participating ones, but at least the essential "program" will be known by their brain.

There should be a special designation for repeat violent/heinious offenders. These people should not be housed with some person who went a bit off their rocker and commited some crime in a moment of "passion." While I have no love for the jackass who shoots his wife because he lost his freaking tenuous hold of his marbles, he isn't anywhere near the same as the guy who violent raped several children. These people are both offenders. They are both violent. One of them has the POTENTIAL to be let out and go on to live a life that isn't a big ol' burden to everyone they happen to meet. The other has almost no chance of being anything but a nasty heinous offender. Not splitting that difference undermines the chances of rehabilitating the one who could.



[edit on 2009/5/18 by Aeons]

[edit on 2009/5/18 by Aeons]



posted on May, 18 2009 @ 09:10 AM
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Just so you all know I rarely respond to these threads but we've heard from former inmates so you might as well hear from an officer.

There are so many misconceptions going on out there. People don't really know what prison is all about.

For those who think we should be harder on inmates then we are I would remind you that the punishment is losing your freedom for however long. It isn't my job to make that harder. It is however my job to keep them safe and ensure they get whatever it is they have coming good or bad. In my facility the only ones who are locked down 23 hours out of 24 is either death row or those inmates who have proven beyond all doubt that they are dangerous to others. For those we have a step down program designed to return them to general population.

The inmates I work with will tell you straight up they deserve to be there. TVs in cells are purchased by the inmates with money they either earn or are sent by their families. Phone calls are collect; state doesn't pay with the exception of phone calls made to families after a death so the inmate can talk to their families.

We provide extensive mental health counseling, addiction treatment, anger management, victim awareness, and many different job training options. Should we receive an inmate without a high school diploma they are required to take the GED. We provide opportunities for curio, drawing, leather work, beading and such as that. We also provide extensive recreation opportunities.

My job includes being the first responder to medical emergencies, providing the initial mental health contact (we refer those to a mental health pro), mail delivery, security functions, managing mainline, supervising inmate work crews, delivering property, and in my spare time we interact with the inmates on a more personal level. Even a convicted murderer likes to have his family pictures admired or his artwork appreciated.

We are caught in the middle; on one side some want prison to be harsher and other say oh dear you're too hard on them. Reality neither viewpoint is realistic. We outline the rules clearly and expect them to be followed there are consequences for actions. Locking them down or taking away all privileges is counter-productive and would almost certainly cause an increase in violence against staff and inmates alike. Believe me we have enough of that already. Being softer would also almost certainly cause an upswing in violence. This is prison and perceived weakness will be used against you.

The bottom line is I treat inmates with dignity and respect and expect the same in return. Believe it or not even an inmate who has committed a horrific crime has a honor code he or she will not break.



posted on May, 18 2009 @ 10:04 AM
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I wish all units were as you say and guards were considerate.

Another thing to consider about cruel punishment is that not all states have the same laws regarding prisons. So in some states it does seem like inmates have it easy, with tv's in their cells and other privileges. Texas does not allow tv's in their cells. At least I haven't heard of any units that do. They watch two tv's in the dayroom and have to read the closed caption because it is too noisy to hear the tv. And the smaller the unit, the less there is for the inmates to do. My husband is in a smaller unit, and they have no classes or activities. GED is about the only class, besides anger management classes and such, and only those with short sentences are allowed to take it, all others are bumped to the end of the list and stay there. There is nothing for the men to do unless they have a job in the kitchen, garden, or laundry room.



posted on May, 18 2009 @ 10:33 AM
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reply to post by Marle
 


The best advice I can give to you to give to your husband, is to not expect anything. Deal with what is, not what you think should be. that can ease your mind some.

An example is Rec is at 1:00. At 1:30 you're still inside with 50 inmates asking "when's Rec?". Start doing pushups at 1:01.
Don't plan on anything except a monkeywrench in your plans.
After 5 years the thing most obvious to me is the attempt to break routine.
The guards dont want you comfortable in THEIR routine because the chance of attempted escape is greater when the inmates know whats coming next.

Buy barely what you need from the store, then you're not a target for bums and theives. And if you are robbed, (most of the time sneakily not to your face) you dont loose much.

EXERCISE VIGOROUSLY FOR 1 HOUR EACH DAY! with 1 day off a week.

Dont socialise with officers, they aren't your friends but they arent your enemies either, be respectfull to them cause you might need them one day. If you over socialise with them you will be percieved a "snitch".



posted on May, 18 2009 @ 10:47 AM
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reply to post by Tyler 720
 



It sounds like you did your time and you are out. I sincerely hope you had a chance to start over once out. I know it is hard to find a job when you first get out but it sounds like you "kept your nose clean" and did your time.

Thank you for your candid responses.



posted on May, 18 2009 @ 10:55 AM
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Originally posted by pharaohmoan
let us not forget that many of these people are not there because they are "bad" people, but rather are there for the most part due to societies failings.


The opposite is true I think. Most people in jail are bad people that deserve to be there. I don't buy that it is a failure of society that put those people in jail.

Plenty of people have had bad childhoods, abusive relationships, poor education and do not end up as criminals. That is just a cop out. Prision should not be comfy as some people have mentioned. It should be quite uncomfortable and something that you would want to do everything possible to avoid.



posted on May, 18 2009 @ 11:09 AM
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reply to post by mhinsey
 


Thank you, I was very lucky my sister was my "release plan" and she let me stay with her until I got on my feet (It took 2 months for me).

I also looked out for myself BEFORE I got locked up. I was granted bail and while on bail (knowing I was doomed to prison) I worked full time, filed taxes, cut automatic billing and generaly "shut my life down" and liquidated everything to my bank account (Ha Ha about 1000 dollars)

Still thats way more than most. I,ve been employed steady until 1 month ago, But I would say thats "normal" now Ha Ha.



posted on May, 18 2009 @ 11:27 AM
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reply to post by Erasurehead
 


Everyone has choices and just about everyone in prison broke some kind of law.

I'm not realy sure how to put this and I realy still don't know what to make of it.

I've discused prison and life with numerous people and the one thing that always struck me as being curious was how old black men would always say how they grew up wanting to be locked up. It seems they saw their uncles, brothers, cousins, fathers return home after a few years of prison life bigger, stronger, wiser, more sexualy attractive. And they wanted this status and saw prison as desireable.

In the city I live in there are neighborhoods of mostly blacks where signs are posted stating "This is a known drug area, If you do not have proof of residence, you will be arrested for trespassing".

I'm not an educated man but that seems they grew up in a prison to begin with, Indeed througout this thread I've tried to point out the similarities between "free" life and "prison" life.

It is my observation that the more free one percieves oneself to be, the harder prison life seems.
The other side of the coin is if you have or percieve yourself to have less freedom, the easier prison life seems.



posted on May, 20 2009 @ 08:54 AM
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Too cruel? Prisons aren't cruel enough! I can't believe you think they are cruel. These inmates get fed, a roof over their head, gym access, ect, something that many people who never broke the law or hurt anyone get!

I think prisons are entirely TOO nice and comfortable. They actually need to make prison a stricter, darker, more uncomfortable and unpleasant place, one that people will loathe returning to.



posted on May, 20 2009 @ 09:00 AM
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Originally posted by Skadi_the_Evil_Elf
Too cruel? Prisons aren't cruel enough! I can't believe you think they are cruel. These inmates get fed, a roof over their head, gym access, ect, something that many people who never broke the law or hurt anyone get!

I think prisons are entirely TOO nice and comfortable. They actually need to make prison a stricter, darker, more uncomfortable and unpleasant place, one that people will loathe returning to.


Then may karma show you how wrong you truly are!



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