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Is Prison Better Then Poverty?

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posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 07:09 PM
So, contemplating the problems with felons because I am a felon in the United States has lead me to some serious questions. The first big question I have recently come across is this;

Is prison better then poverty?

Let's start with this article I found from Reuters below.

The article is actually about felons voting, but it highlights some major issues that I want to address...

There are an estimated 20 million felons in the United States, including 1.5 million now in prison, according to statistics provided by Uggen. About 5.6 million of them are forbidden to vote by state laws. Depending on where they were convicted, the other 13.4 million have either had their voting rights restored or never lost them, even when incarcerated.

Ok, so in our free democratic republic we won't allow people to vote even though issues directly affect them, even more so then probably the average citizen. However this is not the issue I really want to talk about, the issue I really want to address is, do people think that going to prison is a better option then living in sustained poverty?

At first glance, my answer based upon statistical analysis would be YES, Americans think its better to take a chance and end up in prison then to live a life of poverty.

Its no secret that most felons come from poor, minority communities. It is however very hard to find statistics on this issue federally. Isn't that weird? Its like they dont want us to know how big of a problem it really is.

Lets look at another statistic...recidivism.

67.5% of prisoners released in 1994 were rearrested within 3 years, an increase over the 62.5% found for those released in 1983

This is an older statistic but with the recent uptick in private prisons and downturn in the economy we can assume that the numbers have gotten worse.

So we have established that there are a lot of people in here that have been through the system. Now lets look at another part of our equation to better come to an understanding.

The obvious comparison we need to make now is a comparison to life outside of prison vs. life inside of prison.

Human Rights Watch

Prisoners and detainees in many local, state and federal facilities, including those run by private contractors, confront conditions that are abusive, degrading and dangerous. Soaring prison populations due to harsh sentencing laws—which legislators have been reluctant to change—and immigrant detention policies coupled with tight budgets have left governments unwilling to make the investments in staff and resources necessary to ensure safe and humane conditions of confinement. Such failures violate the human rights of all persons deprived of their liberty to be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and to be free from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

So its degrading, and dangerous. So it seems as though we have a very tough system with very inhuman treatment according to the Human Rights Watch people. So how bad are conditions on the streets if thats BETTER then whats happening in the neighborhood?


Neighborhoods with poor-quality housing, few resources, and unsafe conditions impose stress, which can lead to depression. The stress imposed by adverse neighborhoods increases depression above and beyond the effects of the individual's own personal stressors, such as poverty and negative events within the family or work-place. Furthermore, adverse neighborhoods appear to intensify the harmful impact of personal stressors and interfere with the formation of bonds between people, again increasing risk for depression.

It seems like they have the same conditions no matter what right? Well, with a few exceptions... those being, food, shelter, job if you please, and a shower.

So essentially, its an easier lifestyle in prison then it is out of prison in abject poverty.

We really need to rethink how we do things. It shouldn't be better in prison then it is out of prison. Where is this going to lead, is this going to lead to a Hunger Games scenario where we are begging for a prison-esque system that will eventually be better then regular life due to the growing divide between the haves and have nots?

edit on 20142America/Chicagoq000000America/Chicago3128142014 by onequestion because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 07:18 PM
Good thread topic! I've never been to prison, but honestly, I've heard of people( homeless)getting locked up on purpose before winter moves in, so they could have shelter & food through the winter. Although I've heard Texas, & some overseas prisons can be really harsh??

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 07:26 PM
Ask this guy. Timothy Alsip, Oregon Homeless Man, Robs Bank For $1, Asks To Go To Jail To Access Healthcare

Or this guy. Homeless Portland man robs a bank for a place to stay: federal prison

Or this guy. Man Robs Bank To Receive Free Healthcare In Jail

Or this guy. Man ‘robs’ bank so he can go back to jail

They are all different people and they are only the ones I could fine in five minutes on Google by searching "Man robs banks asks for prison". Kinda says a lot when people would rather be locked up then struggle. That is some serious desperation.
edit on 7-2-2014 by Mamatus because: gw

+5 more 
posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 07:29 PM
The problem is that you have a bunch of people who made poor decisions when they were in school. They didn't get an education because that would have been "acting white" (don't blame me, I'm using their own term for it; I taught inner city). Most of them hook up with gangs because they need some kind of father authority in their lives, and going to prison for the gang is a big deal.

You earn your bona fides in prison. It's not a knock to go back, more than once.

On the other end, you are talking about people who have substandard educations and are fit for only the lowest level of jobs which aren't widely available right now. They may not have the chops to make it in those positions because they lack the job etiquette necessary to maintain employment, capable of doing the work or not. In this market, it's the kiss of death. Does prison start to look attractive in those circumstances? Would it if you are paying child support out of that meager paycheck?

What keeps you from going back when you get out only to discover that you now have a mark on your record that makes you even more unemployable than your previous circumstances?

It kills your soul to teach inner city. There are so many kids who are so bright, but the culture they're being raised in has killed them before they even have a chance to know they're dead (literally and figuratively).

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 07:42 PM
reply to post by ketsuko

Your right on target with that one, I think you closed the discussion.

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 07:43 PM
I can possibly understand someone who is homeless with absolutely nothing (no family, not able to get into a shelter, having to bare intolerable winter conditions etc.) purposely getting incarcerated but man...not being able to interact intimately with women real women has got to be the biggest drawback.

Worst case least make sure the crime involves money, that way if you get away, maybe you could make something positive out of the money obtained. If not, then at least you'll have the food and shelter you so desperately desired behind bars.

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 07:46 PM
reply to post by ketsuko

Wow ketsuko. Good points.

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 07:48 PM
reply to post by Mamatus

Yeah, somethings not right with our culture.

What happened to the weakest link analogy?

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 08:11 PM
reply to post by onequestion

This is an amazing post, and I'm working on a book about this.

I'm a highly educated adult male who had TBIs and PTSD and ended up in jail because of multiple alcohol related incidents with those as root causes.

I was not the norm. Big, educated white male who was making plus 100K a year. But there I was. Among....good people. And a lot of them admitted to me that they were there because it was "3 hots and a cot"

I was in jail in an affluent city where they had cable. When I got out my girlfriend told me she overheard those going in talking about how nice it would be to have a bed, cable TV and 3 squares a day. (I can tell you theres nothing square about those meals)

You get fed, you sleep, you watch TV. A lot like being a kid. There's challenges, but indeed its better than being homeless. As a matter of fact one of our "tank mates" was a homeless guy who was grousing about going back to his tent.

Good post my friend.

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 08:12 PM
reply to post by onequestion

Being in prison is NOT better than poverty for one reason only.

Being poor or in poverty at least you can still hold your head up high and die with dignity. Being poor is NO shame at all. Being a decent person is what really counts.

Being a criminal is shameful and criminals have NO dignity. Regardless of whatever BS excuse they use for their conviction they will die with no honor at all.

I have actively made criminals lives harder on the street, as they deserve. No second chances.

But I have respect for homeless and poor people. except the one who blame everyone else except themselves.

I have zero respect for criminals - and rightly give them the respect the have brought upon themselves.

edit on 7-2-2014 by projectbane because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 08:14 PM
I suppose prison could look attractive under the following circumstances.

1. Might be a better route to go then using a public assisted nursing home.
2. You are alone and suffering from dementia or alzheimer's . The problem would be remembering or knowing to commit the crime and would old person go to prison or would they be placed back in a nursing home?

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 08:53 PM
well in prison you get free food and free medical,some even get free love
,some people become institutionalised. and do not know how to live any other way...

i would hate to go to prison myself and i know people who have and their stories confirm that for me,maybe for some homeless people the possibility of abuse and assault in prison may be no different to doing it hard on the streets at least inside they get some basic human needs

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 08:55 PM

reply to post by onequestion

Being a criminal is shameful and criminals have NO dignity. Regardless of whatever BS excuse they use for their conviction they will die with no honor at all.


I have zero respect for criminals - and rightly give them the respect the have brought upon themselves.

edit on 7-2-2014 by projectbane because: (no reason given)

You shouldn't base your moral sense on the whims of paid politicians. Some laws are unjust. Some people have valid reasons for breaking a law. If you had to commit a minor crime to keep your child alive, would you do it? If so, would you lose all self respect? In some countries, a woman who drives a car is a criminal. In others, homosexual behavior is a crime. Laws are not made by gods. They are made by fallible human beings.
edit on 7-2-2014 by zazen because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 09:00 PM
instead of prison maybe a FEMA residence . less violence ?

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 09:07 PM
reply to post by projectbane

It must be nice to be perfect... You have absolutely no idea what being a criminal means. Our society refuses to deal with mental illness as a result of criminal behavior. I would bet you I have more highly educated but I'm a convicted criminal. With all due respect be careful of your words, Sir.

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 09:11 PM
reply to post by ketsuko

I hate to disagree but i have to

I attended a school that was 95+ % minority

We are no different

I have a trade

That was taken from me by the state

Which led to poverty and homelessness

Which led to me being a criminal

So they could stick me in a prison

So some private prison company could turn a buck

Now i haven't actually been to prison

But that is the cycle they want you in

And once you get to that last part ( prison)

It makes everything that came before that much easier for the government to repeat

Because now it is harder to get that job

Easier to go into poverty

Easier to commit that crime

Etc etc

All a circle jerk between

Government police and business

We are just money makers

And with homelessness being outlawed just living is making me a criminal

Eta this interview is a must watch

It shows what cattle we the people have become to private prison system
edit on pm220142809America/ChicagoFri, 07 Feb 2014 21:16:02 -0600_2u by Another_Nut because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 09:18 PM
No. Poverty does not leave a permanent record. Self fullfilling prophecy there... Let's give a poor person a record and see how long till they come begging back. But honestly if you are either homeless or in jail it's because you want to be there.

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 09:29 PM
reply to post by marbles87

Ignorant statement of the year award goes to...

Do you really believe that?

I am working and homeless

Get a handle on the real world

And come back when you have to make it on your own
edit on pm220142809America/ChicagoFri, 07 Feb 2014 21:34:38 -0600_2000000 by Another_Nut because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 09:30 PM
This was common practice among "hobos" in Europe before WWII: get incarcerated for minor "crimes" during winter. It says a lot about society and if its happening again in 21. century USA ... well, do your math.

posted on Feb, 7 2014 @ 09:46 PM

A "Liberal Paradise" would be a place where everybody has guaranteed employment, free comprehensive healthcare, free education, free food, free housing, free clothing, free utilities, and only Law Enforcement has guns.

And believe it or not, such a place does indeed exist ……It's called a prison.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

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