Incarceration Nation

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by elfin buddy, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. elfin buddy macrumors 6502a

    elfin buddy

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2001
    Location:
    Tuttlingen, Germany
    #1
    A friend of mine sent me the following link today.

    http://mediastudy.com/articles/incarceration.html

    I'm not quite sure what to make of it. Up here in Canada, the general reaction to stuff like this is "well, it is America, afterall...", but I'd like to get some American (or even international) perspective on this.

    What are your thoughts on the War on Drugs? How about US incarceration rates? The policy of diverting education and social spending to fund prisons?
     
  2. ham_man macrumors 68020

    ham_man

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    #2
    I'm all for chain gangs. You feed them, clothe them, and house them, but you don't pay them. They work 12 hour days doing labor. They run, they get shot.

    Bam. That solves our prison and immigration issues in one fell swoop.

    Hey...it could work... :rolleyes:
     
  3. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2004
    #3
    It's not all that simple. We have a pragmatic black and white "crime and punishment" system which is pretty much void of a rehabilitation track. This particularly shows up with the glut of drug abusers on both sides of the dope.

    Still, if one has ever visited prisons in Medellín, Colombia or Quito, Ecuador, the environment would not be nearly as shocking as to learn that large percentages of inmates have been incarcerated for years without their first hearing. There, one would find another systemic problem.

    Whether it's half-way houses, faith based rehabilitation centers or governmentally sponsored rehab programs, it seems to me there needs to be just as much serious thought and attention given to exit strategies and rehab along with catching, convicting and incarceration. Again, no simple answer.
     
  4. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Dec 22, 2004
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    Chicago, Illinois
    #4
    Part of it is also the drug war. We waste too many valuable resources on it.
     
  5. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

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    Yahooville S.C.
    #5
    The U.S. has a big problem and thats a Police state out of control. The Police state wants more silly laws,more intrusion into ones private life and it wants our libertys and freedoms wiped away so it can go about its business of throwing folks in jail and sucking them for $$$ so it can keep growing. Just look at Bush & Patriot act for 1 example. They are selling false security for a growing big brother police state. With enough Laws everyone can be guilty of something, thats what the police state is shooting for.
     
  6. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    The "War on Drugs" is a complete failure, and a war that can never be won.

    I can walk to a certain pub in our small village and buy pretty much any drug that I want.

    The only way to 'win' is to legalise drugs and control them like we do with alcohol and tobacco.
     
  7. ham_man macrumors 68020

    ham_man

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    Jan 21, 2005
    #7
    Huh?
     
  8. benthewraith macrumors 68040

    benthewraith

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #8
    First off, as far as the Patriot Act, agree, somewhat with what Leekohler said, but I don't believe it's an attempt to take over the country for a police state. As far as phone spying, Clinton did the same, (he renewed it actually, it started under Carter), as for rehabilitation, I disagree with it. These people are convicted by a jury, and sentenced by a jury, their fellow citizens deemed it necessary. Simply because you feel regret doesn't excuse your actions, there are consequences for them, and being incarcerated for murder is a consequence of the action. Rehabilitation is something that would easily be taken advantage of, and when such people were in power, the American crime rate went up....drastically.

    Keeping violent criminals off our streets is a must, and although rehabilitation may work for a few, in the end, it's only going to be a method for criminals to get out of jail free.
     
  9. elfin buddy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    elfin buddy

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2001
    Location:
    Tuttlingen, Germany
    #9
    Thanks for the responses, everyone!

    What exactly do you think of the War on Drugs? One of the central themes of the article is the correlation between stepping up the War on Drugs and a drastic increase in inmates. Many people in American prisons are there for petty crimes like possession of drugs, whether they be hard or soft.

    I agree that violent criminals must be kept off the streets at all cost, but what about recreational drug users who are just out for a good time? I personally consider a drunk person much more of a threat to my safety than a stoned person (well, stoned on weed anyway).
     
  10. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    Dec 3, 2002
    Location:
    Denver
    #10
    benthewraith,

    I don't think elfin buddy was suggesting rehab instead of punishment, but in addition to it. Right now our justice system is set to severely (some might say harshly) punish any crime but there is no system to bring those criminals who have served their term back into society.

    Mandatory minimums create senteces of years if not decades and do nothing to actually solve the underlying problem. All they've done is create an enormous prison population and and a growing private-prison industry. It's costing us more and more to put some of these hardened jaywalkers behind bars, so we have to let the violent criminals out onto the streets to save beds and money.

    Small time pot dealers get put into abusive prison populations with hardcore murderers and such. Now, certainly this makes jail a deterrent, but we as a society shouldn't accept that once you go to jail your sphincter is someone else's playtoy. That's not a healthy way to imprison human beings.

    Once out of jail options are extremely limited for living, much less re-integration or lord forbid, advancement in society. One of my friends was at a birthday party at a bar where a cop got a beer thrown at him (not by my friend). But my friend was arrested because they didn't know who did it. Now he can't get an apartment (he fails the background check) because somebody nearby threw that beer. How is that healthy for society?

    We've marginalized a large chunk of our population for almost no return. And they cost us more every year.
     
  11. benthewraith macrumors 68040

    benthewraith

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    May 27, 2006
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #11
    I must have misinterpreted what he said, sorry. :eek:

    I do agree with trying to get a person back on his feet after getting out of jail, it helps people a lot, both to prevent the person from committing crimes again, and to help him keep a stable job, and not be a burden on our system.
     
  12. elfin buddy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    elfin buddy

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    Sep 16, 2001
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    Tuttlingen, Germany
    #12
    Actually, I wasn't really trying to make any suggestions or points whatsoever :eek: In fact, I distinctly said "I'm not quite sure what to make of it" ;)

    But yeah, I completely agree with everything Thanatoast said. There has to be more to it than mandatory jail time.
     
  13. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Location:
    Birmingham, AL
    #13
    If you don't want to go to jail, don't commit a crime.
    If you don't want to go back to jail, don't commit a second crime.
    I fail to see where this is hard to comprehend.

    That being said, once they're in the system, something should be done to helping them not return for a repeat stay, be it therapy, vocational training, etc. They should also be made to pay for [at least] part of it, whether it's from their 25¢ an hour working in the prison laundry or whatever.
     
  14. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #14
    If you consider inmate education (high school and even college level) as part of the rehabilitation process then your assumption is wrong. Inmates that receive education behind bars are less likely to be repeat offenders than those that don't receive any education, and the higher level of education they receive the less likely they are to end up back in jail. Obviously there are some people that will end up back in jail no matter what, but they are the exception, not the norm.

    I think the prison system in the US is a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's a reactionary treatment to the symptom while ignoring, and aggravating, the cause. Education is a key component to keeping people out of jail, but education budgets are getting cut, in part, to spend more money building more prisons. Oh no, let's not focus on the socioeconomic root causes of crime which, in the long run, will be significantly cheaper while having the nifty side effect of making the world a better, safer place to live in. Let's just ignore the problems that typically lead to criminal activity and build more cells to toss these people into.

    I mean, I don't know about ya'll, but given the choice of spending $60k a year to keep a small time pot pusher in jail for his mandatory 10yr stay or having a productive member of society who's working, earning money, spending money, and paying taxes... Yeah, I'd rather pay to keep him in jail. Just take the money out of the local education budget. :rolleyes:


    Lethal
     
  15. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    Oct 21, 2004
    #15
    Rather than repeat my post, I'll just say "more power to you", Lethal. This is the larger picture and a key issue which needs addressing.
     
  16. latergator116 macrumors 68000

    latergator116

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    Sep 30, 2003
    Location:
    Providence, RI
    #16
    I agree.

    A friend of mine took a test to get into the public entrance exam high school in our city, and got in. But because there was not enough room, she had to go to the local public school instead (which is one of the worst in the state). Had she commited a crime and the training school was full, I'm sure they would have found a way to get her in there. :rolleyes:
     
  17. latergator116 macrumors 68000

    latergator116

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    #17
    Sounds like a great idea :rolleyes:
     
  18. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    Jun 25, 2002
    Location:
    LaLaLand, CA
    #18
    Um, warrants? FISA started under Carter, it was Reagan who enacted Executive Order 12333. In Clinton's case, he only allowed it if the Attorney General adhered to the certifications required by section 302(a). The problem is that Bush is try to do it without any oversight, sometimes without probably cause, which is what bothers us.

    Sometimes it works. That's all I care about, the end result. My Dad is teaching at a prison now for those who are about to be released. They're going to get out anyway, I'd rather there be a better chance they don't go back in, which this seems to help provide.
     

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