Jail. Justice. Etc.

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playhavock
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Jail. Justice. Etc.

Post #1

Post by playhavock »

Jail is ment to be one thing - but it is not that thing it SHOULD be. Justice seems - very uneven and - more then offen it is not. A man robs a bank for 10 bucks will goto jail for years but a man who enbezels from his compiny will only go for 1 year or something. Whats up with that? The punnishments do not fit the crime.

Jail should be the last resort, in my view. What is needed that I think would be better is required programs that one must compleat depending on the crime commited. For those who must be seprated from soctiy for our own protection - you could still have the same programs there.

So, like - someome steels money - okay we all know thats a bad thing, they need to repay the person or persons who they stole that money from - if the money is gone theyn they have to do work in the program that will make money for those people, untill it is all payed off.

If they stole something, a car, objects - whatever - return them, if they are in the same condition, they get a program about why steeling is not alowed, we help them have a job so they do not have to steel, or something like that.

For crimes like rape - I think we should have phycoligysts work with them - something went wrong in there brain that they did this most likely - can we cure them of this - would removing there genetals be a just thing to do - I think that , yes - it would be. We could do it surgicaly and it would be a huge punishment to avoid, they could never do that crime again.

And so on, we could find - I think, punnishmenets that fit the crime as well as programs to help people to grow as persons. Mainly getting rid of the reasions why people commit crime seems to be key, but that might require a whole new socitry I supose. Still - its worth talking about I think.

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McCulloch
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Post #2

Post by McCulloch »

In order to address this question, we must think carefully about the purpose of the penal system.
  • Retribution
    To me this is the least productive purpose of the penal system. Making someone suffer for their bad acts just to appease our sense of justice serves no positive good.
  • Rehabilitation
    Rehabilitation should be the goal of the entire justice system. If we could find a way to prevent people from doing bad acts again, that would be a successful outcome. I am not sure that prison has been the most successful at achieving this outcome. In fact, prisons can be just a school for criminal behavior.
  • Restitution
    Restitution is a noble idea and should be done as much as possible and feasible. If it is possible, the victims of crime should be restored to their pre-crime state. But we all can find examples where this is of course, not possible. Prisons serve no value with regard to restitution.
  • Deterrent
    There are people who have a weak moral system. Apparently, the only thing preventing them from wrongdoing is the probability of being caught and punished for their misdeeds. The threat of prison can serve as an effective deterrent only if the perpetrators believe that the probability of being caught and punished is high.
  • Protection
    There are some people who's behavior is so pathological that it is prudent that the rest of society be protected from them. This, I see, is the primary need for jails and prisons.
Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
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playhavock
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Jail

Post #3

Post by playhavock »

I am having someone I know put there unique input into this. Here it is.


Hi, I am a person playhavock knows. I spent nearly seven years in federal prison, so I have a unique perspective on this subject. To add to what McCulloch wrote, I offer the following:
Retribution
I completely agree that retribution is not a workable reason for prisons to exist. This is sort of the "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" mentality, and retribution (or revenge) rarely does any good for the society as a whole. It might satisfy the victim, but the perpetrator then has no ability to return to being a productive member of society.
Rehabilitation
This would be great - if, indeed rehabilitation were occurring. But although it's called a "Correctional Institution," no correction happens. Ever. No prisoner must take classes on why what they did was considered wrong, nor on how to prevent themselves from doing it again. Nothing.

As McCulloch noticed, prisons seem to function as places where people can learn to be better criminals, rather than being better citizens.

Furthermore, prison separates people from their families. They are no longer able to provide for themselves or their family; they often cannot see their family or speak to them on the phone. The family is impacted as much as, if not more than, the person being incarcerated. Often, divorce is the result; after all, what person wants to wait five or ten years for their loved one to come back to them? That is, if they can 'look past' what it was they did.
Restitution
Restitution does happen, but it's really hard on the person paying it. Most prison jobs pay about $3.00 per month. You have to buy your own sneakers (or else wear boots all the time), and that's a $30.00 purchase. Any other purchases of things not provided by the prison work the same way. If your family sends you money to help you buy such things, then money is taken from that to pay restitution.

It's a form of extortion, in a way; if the person isn't making anything, then this debt will follow them forever. They can't even get rid of it in bankruptcy. They are chained forever with this debt.
Deterrent
No. Very, very few people see prison as a deterrent. Most that consider criminal activity believe either that they won't get caught, or that nobody's going to care about them - because they're just a small fish in a vast ocean. Some will try it anyway, because the lure of the crime is greater than their fear of prison. Others simply don't care.
Protection
Finally, there are a few for whom prison is a must. These people are a danger to society.

However, in my experience, these people are the exception to the rule. Most of the people I met were good, honest, worthy people who simply did very, very stupid things. Some crimes were 'worse' than others by society's view, but in prison, all are equal, ad hoc.

As a last word:

Some type of ongoing rehabilitation program, where the person is able to stay in the community and with their family, is far preferable to the prison system. Put the person on probation, perhaps with electronic monitoring. Teach them what they need to know; give them the skills (and the desire) to do right.

The doors that are closed to felons are so many and are closed so hard as to make it nearly impossible to find decent jobs and places to live. Like the woman in "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, felons are marked for life. There is no way to get rid of the felon label. There is no way to reestablish one's rights in being able to vote or possess a firearm. Simply put, you're stuck with the perception that "once a felon, always a felon" is true.

I believe that your criminal history should be a protected category under Title VI, just as race, religion and sexual preference are. I don't believe that felons should be given a carte blanche to hold just any job, i.e., a person with a financial crime shouldn't be working for a financial institution; a person with a sex crime shouldn't be working with children, etc. But for these limited exceptions, I don't think employers should be allowed to ask about your background. If you're ready, willing, and able to work, the fact that you committed a crime shouldn't enter into consideration.

It has always been the idea that someone who went to prison has "paid for their crime." Yet this is not the reality. One of my friends called it "the system that keeps on punishing," and that statement has proven true over and over again.

The criminal justice system is broken. People get sentences that are too low or too high. Evidence is ignored. Defense lawyers are buddy-buddy with the prosecutors. Important issues aren't raised. The people charged are expected to somehow be legal experts for themselves - overnight.

There should be a better system, but what it is I can't yet describe. I have a few ideas, but those can be discussed later. For now, I'll leave this as this is.

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Post #4

Post by bluethread »

playhavock wrote:
I completely agree that retribution is not a workable reason for prisons to exist. This is sort of the "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" mentality, . . .
Just a thought. In the Scriptures, it is my understanding that phrase is an idiom refering more to equity than retribution, ie. the punishment for taking an eye is the equivalent of an eye, generally clarified in the context.

Most of HaTorah is focused on restitution or the protection of society.

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Post #5

Post by playhavock »

Okay, so my question is - what if anything - can be done to solve these issues- as I understand it, law change is very slow, almost imposible to change. The prisions make money - lots of money - as the short lived show "30 days" that highligheted the issue in 30 days in jail (It was online no longer online so I cant link to it) now- a minidocumatary might have flaws in it, but I assume most of what it said is more then likely true - that the state makes money on a prision is probley true, and that there is little, to no, incentive to change things. I can see this as being very true. I also see it as a non-thing. You have zero to do. Nothing. Thats... just being put in the corrner but for grown ups.

First, I think that de-crimilising meny things would actualy make sence, on a practical level. If say, prostution was not a crime - and those who wanted to do this, were screened and run though whatever process, and clients were simulary screened and such, you could make it much safer and the state could run it - and make money off of said thing to pay some of the dept that is owed. (side note yes I am in favor of the state running things to make its own money)

Now, this would get rid of the streetwalker issue as doing that would not be a "thing" why risk yourself in that way when you can get a job ligitmetly? No reasion. It would not make it more attractive - as very few people WANT to do that work (most do it as a last resort) so we can change that, if we have more oppertunys for women (and men) we lessen the amount of people who WANT to do that work (and there are some who do)

Simulary for drugs, I am not in favor of any abusue of illegal narcotics - or legal ones for that matter - but some people go out of there way to get high - so offer them this ablity but as safe as it can be. Legalise it - make places that one goes to get it, they take it there, classes to detox are offered. Warnings about what will or can happen are displayed. And so on.

Smoking of any kind would be alowed only in these places - no more sales of cigs alowed anywhere else - I think that this would lessen (evenutaly) the amouunt of people who smoke, smoking kills so meny people and second hand smoke is also deadly. I'm tired of walking around smokers - in my view they are interfering with my air and I should be able to have air that is not interfered with. I know we can not illegalise it - but if we put it in with other things - someone has to go way out of there way to get it, smoke, and so on, then they might just quit rather then go to the trouble.

But, aside from possible changes to socity - that might not be realistic or happen at all, what could we change with jail itself - who would we write to, pention to do this? What would the first steps be?

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Post #6

Post by McCulloch »

Yes, I agree that decriminalizing some activities such as certain drug use (see the Twenty-first Amendment), blasphemy, abortion, homosexuality, prostitution and others would go some way to reducing injustice. I don't share playhavock pessimism. We have decriminalized quite a number of former felonies and I am sure that there are more to come.

However, the larger issue is what to do about activities which really do harm others or society in general? When people are in non-compliance with certain laws, what actions should be taken? I believe that the current judicial / penal system shows a lack of imagination. What possible good did it do to put Martha Steward in jail jail for lying to officials about insider trading, conspiracy, obstruction of an agency proceeding, and making false statements to federal investigators?

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Post #7

Post by playhavock »

I guess it did not do any good. I dont see that placing people in jail causes others to fear going to jail more. So, the whole punnish system is out of wack in the first place. What about rewards for good? When I was younger, I notced that kids who behaved badly, then became good got rewared, where as, those who were good from the start got no reward at all. WHAT THE.... of course this was my perseption at the time - but still, if I think I noticed it - if it was a thing, that... is just way wrong. Off kilter. Totaly.
But, I want to know what steps to take to actualy begin to try to change things - like, where does one start - a pentition? A letter to congress? Run for a poltical office and change it from within? Start a revulation? Since this is about "solving" problems I want to figure out where one begins with solving this issue.
O_o;?

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Post #8

Post by bluethread »

Sting 'em up. It'll teach 'em a lesson. :2gun:

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