US Prison population and reform
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17-07-2015, 12:16 AM (This post was last modified: 17-07-2015 12:22 AM by RocketSurgeon76.)
RE: US Prison population and reform
Gatheist - Good way to generate psychopathic personality disorder, en masse. If you treat men like animals, they will become animals. I have seen it. And if you think our prisons are cushy in any way, you don't know what you're talking about.

Anjele - You're not wrong, but they already require work of all prisoners in most states, and state prisons make up the vast bulk of our prisoner population. Prison jobs are a joke, and worse, they are generally useless in terms of instilling a sense of self-respect and the benefit of actual "I worked hard and got something from it". It's simple slavery, in almost every case, degrading to the spirit and crushing to the man. I know your heart is in the right place, but even you have the "vengeance against the Evildoers" tone to your description; that is the worst thing to think/say/do, since the overwhelming majority of prisoners re-enter society someday, and treating them abusively or degradingly is a guaranteed way to make bitter, hateful people who have no wish to participate in society. The things that people consider "cushy" about prison are all bare-minimum things... e.g. we have TVs, but they're 13" mini-monitors, must be listened to on headphones at all times, and cost the prisoner (or more accurately, their family, since there are few if any truly paying jobs in a prison; $40/month is considered Big Money) $175. Most of the other "comforts" are at huge overcharge, as well, making those who own the supply companies huge profits. And, more to the point, the TVs and other distractions aren't there for the benefit of the prisoners, they're there as babysitters so inmates don't go stir-crazy and start stabbing guards. I assure you, had they taken those TVs from our facilities (as, every year it seems, some politician recommends doing), guards would have started dying before the week was out.

To answer your question, "Why should we give this to prisoners when my own kids can't go to school", I'll point out that the reason most people wind up in a criminal career isn't "inherent evil" or somesuch (there are those, of course, but not the majority), but a desperate poverty and lack of opportunity, education, and hope. Giving those things to prisoners to earn, along with a sense of decency and self-respect, is how you make sure your child isn't robbed on his way to class.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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17-07-2015, 12:33 AM
RE: US Prison population and reform
Oh yes, and I feel I must add:

Average cost of incarceration in the U.S. per prisoner per year is $31,286.
(See pdf report, page 11 of 28.)
http://www.vera.org/sites/default/files/...072512.pdf

Average cost of two semesters of fulltime college per student, including all fees, tuition, books, school supplies, necessary transportation, room, & food:
"In its most recent survey of college pricing, the College Board reports that a 'moderate' college budget for an in-state public college for the 2014–2015 academic year averaged $23,410."
http://www.collegedata.com/cs/content/co...leId=10064

So... I'm just sayin'.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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17-07-2015, 12:33 AM
RE: US Prison population and reform
(17-07-2015 12:16 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Gatheist - Good way to generate psychopathic personality disorder, en masse. If you treat men like animals, they will become animals. I have seen it. And if you think our prisons are cushy in any way, you don't know what you're talking about.

Anjele - You're not wrong, but they already require work of all prisoners in most states, and state prisons make up the vast bulk of our prisoner population. Prison jobs are a joke, and worse, they are generally useless in terms of instilling a sense of self-respect and the benefit of actual "I worked hard and got something from it". It's simple slavery, in almost every case, degrading to the spirit and crushing to the man. I know your heart is in the right place, but even you have the "vengeance against the Evildoers" tone to your description; that is the worst thing to think/say/do, since the overwhelming majority of prisoners re-enter society someday, and treating them abusively or degradingly is a guaranteed way to make bitter, hateful people who have no wish to participate in society. The things that people consider "cushy" about prison are all bare-minimum things... e.g. we have TVs, but they're 13" mini-monitors, must be listened to on headphones at all times, and cost the prisoner (or more accurately, their family, since there are few if any truly paying jobs in a prison; $40/month is considered Big Money) $175. Most of the other "comforts" are at huge overcharge, as well, making those who own the supply companies huge profits. And, more to the point, the TVs and other distractions aren't there for the benefit of the prisoners, they're there as babysitters so inmates don't go stir-crazy and start stabbing guards. I assure you, had they taken those TVs from our facilities (as, every year it seems, some politician recommends doing), guards would have started dying before the week was out.

To answer your question, "Why should we give this to prisoners when my own kids can't go to school", I'll point out that the reason most people wind up in a criminal career isn't "inherent evil" or somesuch (there are those, of course, but not the majority), but a desperate poverty and lack of opportunity, education, and hope. Giving those things to prisoners to earn, along with a sense of decency and self-respect, is how you make sure your child isn't robbed on his way to class.

You aren't wrong either...however, there are people who never spend a day in prison who are degraded and abused. What I was trying to say is that the majority of people in prison broke a law...the matter at hand is if the sentence is in line with the crime.

I am sorry that prison is boring, I am sure it sucks. I like being able to get in car any time and go where I want to go, that's why I made the effort to not run afoul of the law. My younger daughter had a couple of male friends who had shit lives and ended up serving time in juvie and then on to big boy jail. I wrote to one of them constantly while he was 'out of town' and accepted the other one into the family for the time he and my daughter dated. I am happy to say that both are now (in their early 30s) doing well, working and raising their sons and leaving that crap behind. Funny thing is one as known now as Gaston Jesus cause of his long, curly hair and the other looks just like Jesse from Breaking Bad. I hold no grudges because they screwed up when they were young.

As for vengeance - I can only say that I am good with that in the case of people who hurt kids or commit other heinous crimes. Certainly not for someone who had some weed in their pocket.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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17-07-2015, 12:56 AM
RE: US Prison population and reform
(17-07-2015 12:33 AM)Anjele Wrote:  You aren't wrong either...however, there are people who never spend a day in prison who are degraded and abused. What I was trying to say is that the majority of people in prison broke a law...the matter at hand is if the sentence is in line with the crime.

That's a bit of a red herring, since I'm talking about officially-sanctioned abuse, dished out at the hands of the Government, in the name of the People. Yes, 9/10 of the people in prison are guilty as hell, and I would agree that the main issue is that we think huge, harsh sentences are the right form of vengeance. I think -- no, I know -- that this attitude does far more harm than good, if the goal is protection of law and order and the public safety, unless we're prepared to keep all prisoners locked up forever.

(17-07-2015 12:33 AM)Anjele Wrote:  I am sorry that prison is boring, I am sure it sucks. I like being able to get in car any time and go where I want to go, that's why I made the effort to not run afoul of the law. ... I hold no grudges because they screwed up when they were young.

Boredom is actually the least of the issues in prison, though the ways inmates fill the boredom is most definitely an issue. That's part of the issue with gangs, which are almost religion-like in their ability to recruit and alter the minds of the young and mentally susceptible (not strong-willed) into horrible mockeries of a human being... a human being who will someday live near you. Enjoy! You helped to manufacture this creature. Sad

I won't get into all the horrors of prison, because honestly I don't really want to relive them, even in my mind. Boredom is a gift, because it means you're not on alert for being robbed, raped, or otherwise assaulted, usually for no good reason-- perhaps one of the gangs is initiating a new member, and they tell him to go "make his bones" and prove he can fight on-orders, by picking a random target. Or maybe the 75% who are desperately poor see that you have some canteen, and they want to force you to give it up to them. Or maybe they're a raping psychopath. Or maybe you just said "hi" in the wrong way to the wrong mentally-unstable guy, and he's been fuming about it for the last 6 hours, ready to come "take you out" when an opportunity arises. So you never allow your guard to slip, just like soldiers in combat deployments, until you barely sleep anymore, and are a walking case of PTSD. I know I am. Sad

The closest thing I really felt to boredom was the terrible ache for the arms of my Beloved, and seeing my son grow up without me. You might think that's just because I was innocent, but almost every guy in there is a father, and has his child's (and if she's still with him, which is rare, his Beloved's) picture at finger's reach anywhere he goes.

The grudge-holding is the biggest problem, since it makes re-entry into society all but impossible. Yes, possible, but typically only if the inmate is smart, sane, and has a good support system (family, etc). The System does its best to keep its cash crop recycling, via the Parole Officer system and its impossible requirements, when they have a "ringer" or someone they wish to harrass/return.

(17-07-2015 12:33 AM)Anjele Wrote:  As for vengeance - I can only say that I am good with that in the case of people who hurt kids or commit other heinous crimes. Certainly not for someone who had some weed in their pocket.

Guys who do those things have a really rough time in prison. As I said, we're all fathers, in there, for the most part. Doing Time is very, very hard for child abusers, rapists, and perverts of all sorts. But some ally with one another for protection, and others are just so huge and terrifying as to be effectively unstoppable. The latter end up in longterm segregation, but not before they've done terrible harm, often for years, since as you point out, guards are few and they cannot monitor everything.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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17-07-2015, 01:02 AM
RE: US Prison population and reform
Decriminalizing drugs would be a good start I think. Other than that I don't really know what's wrong with USA prison system.

The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth.

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17-07-2015, 07:50 PM
RE: US Prison population and reform
(17-07-2015 12:56 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  
(17-07-2015 12:33 AM)Anjele Wrote:  You aren't wrong either...however, there are people who never spend a day in prison who are degraded and abused. What I was trying to say is that the majority of people in prison broke a law...the matter at hand is if the sentence is in line with the crime.

That's a bit of a red herring, since I'm talking about officially-sanctioned abuse, dished out at the hands of the Government, in the name of the People. Yes, 9/10 of the people in prison are guilty as hell, and I would agree that the main issue is that we think huge, harsh sentences are the right form of vengeance. I think -- no, I know -- that this attitude does far more harm than good, if the goal is protection of law and order and the public safety, unless we're prepared to keep all prisoners locked up forever.

Yeah, okay...you win...degradation and abuse must be worse for those incarcerated. Degradation and abuse on the outside that a blind eye is turned to, even by governmental agencies must be acceptable.

I am old enough to remember the day when no one stepped in, no one would dare. There weren't even agencies to do so.

What you went through while incarcerated doesn't negate the impact on those on the outside.

You don't have the right to say that inmates are more victimized than anyone on the outside who is victimized.

I think you and I agree on a lot of the issues but I recall what someone once told me - don't ever think that you weren't abused enough to need help recovering from the abuse just because someone else was 'more abused'.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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17-07-2015, 11:03 PM (This post was last modified: 17-07-2015 11:16 PM by RocketSurgeon76.)
RE: US Prison population and reform
Anjele -

I did not say any of those things. I said only that it's apples and oranges to compare the abuse suffered under official sanction of the government with abuse suffered by victims of random abusers in society.

If you have read any of the other things I have posted... y'know, basically everywhere... you would see clearly that I care deeply for the abused, the homeless, the impoverished, the disabled, the sick. I all but scream from the rooftops as I fight for the rights of women, and homosexuals, and minorities, and all those suffering because of cultural issues or because we look the other way. Hell, half my family won't interact with me online because of the ferocity with which I tackle such issues! There is no reasonable way you could claim that my saying your sentiment that "because others suffer in other ways, too, and well, they did a bad thing, so fuck 'em" is objectionable means I think it's okay that other people have terrible suffering in their lives!

And your chastisement works in the other direction, you know. Just because horrible things happen throughout other aspects of our society, it does not mean we can ignore the suffering of a group who are so easily despised because they are secular "sinners".

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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17-07-2015, 11:07 PM
RE: US Prison population and reform
(17-07-2015 11:03 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Anjele -

I did not say any of those things. I said only that it's apples and oranges to compare the abuse suffered under official sanction of the government with abuse suffered by victims of random abusers in society.

If you have read any of the other things I have posted... y'know, basically everywhere... you would see clearly that I care deeply for the abused, the homeless, the impoverished, the disabled, the sick. I all but scream from the rooftops as I fight for the rights of women, and homosexuals, and minorities, and all those suffering because of cultural issues or because we look the other way. Hell, half my family won't interact with me online because of the ferocity with which I tackle such issues! There is no reasonable way you could claim that by saying others suffer in other ways, too, and "well, they did a bad thing, so fuck 'em" is objectionable means I think it's okay that other people have terrible suffering in their lives!

And your chastisement works in the other direction, you know. Just because horrible things happen throughout other aspects of our society, it does not mean we can ignore the suffering of a group who are so easily despised because they are secular "sinners".

My chastisement....really dude...

I never said fuck 'em - but I will say they don't deserve special treatment because they can blame what they are going through on their incarceration.

Your experience is extended time behind bars and it jacks you up. But your experience doesn't lessen anyone else's experiences who aren't, or haven't been, locked up.

You have some anger and resentment issues to deal with.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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17-07-2015, 11:22 PM
RE: US Prison population and reform
Wait, WHAT?!

I am not saying it lessens anyone's experience. Where are you even getting that? And why are you attacking me personally? That's uncalled for.

This is a thread about America's runaway prison system, and its related problems including overpopulation of the prisons (due in large part to heavy sentencing, which causes myriad issues within the prisons).

I pointed out that by treating prisoners so harshly (as society is wont to do, out of a sense of "vengeance against the evildoers" or, more colloquially, "fuck 'em"), we create damaged persons and enhance the danger to ourselves, not reduce it. It may feel good to people to think of prisoners as getting their "just desserts", as the saying goes, but when the government takes it to the extreme the United States has... again, the topic of the post... it causes far far far more problems than it solves.

If you would like to have a discussion of other social issues, and talk about people who suffer abuse in other areas of society, I am totally up for that! But it's a red herring in this thread, and has no bearing on this particular conversation.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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17-07-2015, 11:25 PM
RE: US Prison population and reform
I stated quite a while ago that the whole system needs reworking from the top down.

I agree that our current methods are failures.

And, yes, I think that on certain things we need to agree to disagree on this topic.

See here they are the bruises some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way. - JF
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