What are Prisons for? rethink

whoknows87

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 8, 2012
667
30
S.Florida
When I first read this I couldn't help, but laugh then I thought about it for a few seconds, who in their right mind would do such a thing? no one which answered my question a person NOT in their right mind, clearly prisons do not rehabilitate people, and they do a horrible job of helping those who did wrong do right and somehow giving them a shot to assimilate back into society once out, once they leave that prison, the last thing anyone in that prison should want is a few coming back again and again and again ... looks like some folks don't need to be in prison but rather a mental hospital where they can seek treatment for whatever conditions they have........... here is the story
Police say a man walked out of a New Jersey prison after serving 15 years for robbing a children's shoe store, headed straight back to the same shop and robbed it again.


http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Man-Robs-Same-Store-Twice-Stride-Rite-Toms-River-Leaves-Prison-Robs-Store-252265861.html

In 1999, 25-year-old Christopher Miller was arrested after he forced employees into the back room of the Stride Rite shoe store on Hooper Avenue in Toms River, tied them up and fled with cash.

After a 15-year sentence, Miller was released on Friday from South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton.

Police say Miller, now 40, took a bus from Atlantic City to Toms River on Saturday, and went to the same shoe store.

Employees tell police that he entered the store and demanded cash, telling the workers -- a teenage boy and 43-year-old woman -- to go to the back room. They refused.

He became agitated, according to police, and took the cash register drawer, which had $389.
 

dec.

Suspended
Apr 15, 2012
1,322
747
Toronto
I like your opening sentence as it is longer than most of those that I write and they can be really, really long since I have a weird habit of mostly using punctuation marks like commas, colons and semicolons as opposed to full stops without really knowing why, although I've began to wonder more and more about it, maybe there's some incident in my history that made me scare away from full stops but that is getting kind of off topic so I'll try to answer your question: A person does something weird after his prison sentence (his interpunctuation didn't go that well, so to speak *giggle*) why would that one case lead you to the conclusion that "prisons clearly do not rehabilitate people"?
 

G51989

macrumors 68030
Feb 25, 2012
2,506
10
NYC NY/Pittsburgh PA
In the US? Prisons main objective is to have a large " customer base " to build more prisons. Mostly to funnel taxpayer money into Corporate Coffers
 

jnpy!$4g3cwk

macrumors 65816
Feb 11, 2010
1,100
1,293
When I first read this I couldn't help, but laugh then I thought about it for a few seconds, who in their right mind would do such a thing? no one which answered my question a person NOT in their right mind, clearly prisons do not rehabilitate people
Clearly a person who had no idea whatsoever what to do when he got out.

More generally, prisons today mainly serve for the purpose of revenge. Oh, and, to line the pockets of the private prison industry. Rehabilitation is "too expensive" and "often doesn't work". So, people get locked away for ever longer periods at great expense to the public.

And, to top it all off, a large fraction of the people in city and county jails are actually mentally ill homeless people who either committed petty crimes, or, are actually arrested for humanitarian reasons because otherwise they would die on the streets. There was an article about it in the Los Angeles Times recently. Basically a review of the situation that has persisted since the 1980's, shortly after most of the mental hospitals were closed (1989 version):

The Los Angeles County Jail has become the largest unofficial mental hospital in the United States. According to professionals who have worked there, 15% of the jail's approximately 24,000 prisoners--3,600 individuals--are seriously mentally ill with schizophrenia or manic-depressive illness. Those individuals total 641 more than are held in America's largest medical facility for the mentally ill, Pilgrim State Hospital in New York. The 3,600 mentally ill individuals in the Los Angeles County Jail are, in fact, the same number as the total held in California's four state hospitals (Napa, Patton, Camarillo and Metropolitan). Each day, seven days a week, approximately 1,000 new prisoners are booked into the Los Angeles County Jail, of which 150 are seriously mentally ill; there is no other psychiatric facility in the world that admits 150 new patients each day.


The situation in Los Angeles is part of a national trend, one of the consequences of having abolished 80% of all state mental hospital beds since 1955 without adequate follow-up and outpatient care for patients being released.
http://articles.latimes.com/1989-12-04/local/me-2_1_homeless-mentally-ill-people

Same situation prevails today.

Here is a book about how the jail-mental-hospital system works and what it is like inside:

From Publishers Weekly (review):

Suffering delusions from bipolar disorder, Mike Earley broke into a stranger's home to take a bubble bath and significantly damaged the premises. That Mike's act was viewed as a crime rather than a psychotic episode spurred his father, veteran journalist Pete Earley (Family of Spies), to investigate the "criminalization of the mentally ill." Earley gains access to the Miami-Dade County jail where guards admit that they routinely beat prisoners. He learns that Deidra Sanbourne, whose 1988 deinstitutionalization was a landmark civil rights case, died after being neglected in a boarding house. A public defender describes how he—not always happily—helps mentally ill clients avoid hospitalization. Throughout this grim work, Earley uneasily straddles the line between father and journalist. He compromises his objectivity when for most of his son's ordeal—Mike gets probation—he refuses to entertain the possibility that the terrified woman whose home Mike trashed also is a victim. And when, torn between opposing obligations, he decides not to reveal to a source's mother that her daughter has gone off her medications, he endangers the daughter's life and betrays her mother.
http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-Fathers-Through-Americas-Madness/dp/0425213897/
 

P-Worm

macrumors 68020
Jul 16, 2002
2,045
0
Salt Lake City, UT
I once listened to a radio interview where someone was advocating for making physical abuse (like lashings) an option over serving a prison sentence. At first I was horrified, but then he brought up the point "Think of it this way. If you had the option to go to prison for 10 years or receive 20 lashings on your back, which would you choose? And if you would choose the lashings, what does that say about our prison system?"

The man had a point.

P-Worm
 

Happybunny

macrumors 68000
Sep 9, 2010
1,752
1,351
I think in the US a more important question is, "Are you locking the RIGHT people up"

Given the numbers if people who are wrongly convicted, later proved by DNA.

Plus the very stupid "WAR on drugs" which fills prisons to breaking point.
 

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Jan 31, 2010
1,317
11,839
Midlife, Midwest
Police say Miller, now 40, took a bus from Atlantic City to Toms River on Saturday, and went to the same shoe store..
I'm no psychologist, but that sounds pretty clearly like he wanted to a) get caught and b) get sent back to prison.

It certainly is not unprecedented for some prisoners to want, consciously or otherwise, to be returned to prison. And while very few people would describe the living conditions in prison as pleasant, they do offer a certain level of security (you are provided with food and shelter) and - perhaps more importantly - the "freedom" of having to take much responsibility for one's own existence.

The first time Mr Miller robbed the shoe store it was most likely a purely criminal act. The second time it was the act of someone with psychological problems.
 

Zombie Acorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2009
1,301
9,063
Toronto, Ontario
Its purpose isn't to rehabilitate, but to restrict the freedoms of those who have broken the law. If the purpose of prison was to rehabilitate we wouldn't give life in prison as a sentence.
 

ElectronGuru

macrumors 65816
Sep 5, 2013
1,493
362
Oregon, USA
Its purpose isn't to rehabilitate, but to restrict the freedoms of those who have broken the law. If the purpose of prison was to rehabilitate we wouldn't give life in prison as a sentence.
Makes perfect sense. But it also makes sense not to let our anti crime system dump people into circumstances that encourage more crime.
 

Technarchy

macrumors 604
May 21, 2012
6,747
4,885
Rehabilitation should be reserved for non-violent offenders and people who haven't killed or hurt anyone by being stupid and high.

Cross that line and it's unpleasant stretches, life or sparky.
 

boast

macrumors 65816
Nov 12, 2007
1,369
739
Phoenix, USA
Repeat offenders, and especially those still involved in violence while in prison, need to be sentenced to death to free up space for people who can be helped. And ban private prisons in the process.
 

TechGod

macrumors 68040
Feb 25, 2014
3,163
840
New Zealand
The US needs a mixed economy. Private prisons have got to be the stupidest thing I've heard all day. A prison is not a business and the fact that it is treated as one is very disturbing regarding the safety of normal citizens.
 

Southern Dad

macrumors 68000
May 23, 2010
1,532
547
Shady Dale, Georgia
Prisons are no longer for rehabilitation. Prisons are for warehousing those who can't follow the rules of society. This individual was an example of exactly what prisons are. For 15 years the people were safe from him. Now when he returns to prison, they will be safe for 15 more.
 

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
1,433
11,628
Its purpose isn't to rehabilitate ...
At least part of it's purpose should be. (IMO)

Prisoners get released.

We should use the opportunity to facilitate the transition back into society and enhance their chances of turning their life around.

If we don't, then were punishing society as well as the felon.
 

TechGod

macrumors 68040
Feb 25, 2014
3,163
840
New Zealand
At least part of it's purpose should be. (IMO)

Prisoners get released.

We should use the opportunity to facilitate the transition back into society and enhance their chances of turning their life around.

If we don't, then were punishing society as well as the felon.
It doesn't look like your prisons are for rehab though even though they should be. I see absolutely no advantage to prisons being private other then the owners of it. I thought America was a promised land but when something as basic as prisons can be private, not so much(gives owners incentive to be greedy and mistreat)

Thank god I'm 16 and discovering all the wrong in the US system, better then finding out after moving.

I absolutely agree, what the hell will people learn in prison they get free food and shelter, that's far better then normal citizens that have done no wrong.
 

ElectronGuru

macrumors 65816
Sep 5, 2013
1,493
362
Oregon, USA
At least part of it's purpose should be. (IMO)

Prisoners get released.

We should use the opportunity to facilitate the transition back into society and enhance their chances of turning their life around.

If we don't, then were punishing society as well as the felon.
Even from an ROI standpoint, its gotta be cheaper to spend 10 or 20% more during a first incarceration than to pay 100% for a second.
 

Southern Dad

macrumors 68000
May 23, 2010
1,532
547
Shady Dale, Georgia
Rehabilitation does not work. They've tried it over and over again. It's a waste of money. Make the sentences harsh, the prison conditions horrible and people won't want to keep coming back. Take out the air conditioning and remove the cable for starters.
 

dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,059
1,187
5045 feet above sea level
Its purpose isn't to rehabilitate, but to restrict the freedoms of those who have broken the law. If the purpose of prison was to rehabilitate we wouldn't give life in prison as a sentence.
Prisions such as Eastern State Penitentiary were designed with rehabilitation in mind as opposed to other systems that just took people off of the streets. Interesting really and had been the basis of many prision throughout the world

Ever wonder where the word penitentiary came from?
 

Bug-Creator

macrumors 6502a
May 30, 2011
552
2,132
Germany
Rehabilitation does not work. They've tried it over and over again. It's a waste of money. Make the sentences harsh, the prison conditions horrible and people won't want to keep coming back. .
Apart from OPs example, most criminals don't expect to be caught, or atleast don't think of that possibility while commiting a crime.

Or why do you think there are so many murders in the US compared to other (1st world) countries which not only don't have capital punishment but even limit the time to be served to 15 years or less...
 

citizenzen

macrumors 65816
Mar 22, 2010
1,433
11,628
Rehabilitation does not work.
And you would be wrong.

From the Florida Department of Corrections ...

Academic, Vocational, and Substance Abuse Program Impacts

Executive Summary

This study examined the effectiveness of the Department's academic, vocational, and substance abuse programs in reducing inmate recidivism after release.

Analysis was based on 18,414 inmates released from prison in FY1996-97. This includes inmates completing their sentences, and those moving onto community supervision based on split sentences or post-prison release conditions. Using this cohort allows for a 24-month follow-up period for new offense commission and additional time for processing through the judicial system (i.e. from arrest to admission).

The analysis focused on the impact of program completion - GED, vocational certificates, and Tier II-V substance abuse programs. We also examined the impact of programs controlling for inmate gender, age, race, prior commitments and other significant predictors of recidivism. Finally, we examined the impact of programs when offenders also achieve improvements in academic skills, work experience, and good disciplinary records while incarcerated.

The program impact is illustrated by showing success rates (the percent who do not recidivate), the percentage difference between completers and non-completers, and the percent improvement (the difference between completers and non-completers divided by non-completers).

Highlights

Inmates who complete programs are more successful after release than those who do not complete programs.

http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/recidivismprog/execsum.html
Or this ...

Correctional Industries preparing inmates for re-entry: Recidivism & post-release employment

Final report
May 10, 2006

Introduction
This report summarizes the first national review of the recidivism and post-release employment effects of the Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program (PIECP) engaging state prison inmates in private sector jobs since 1979. With the exception of the PIECP program, US jail and prison inmates are prohibited by law from producing goods for sale in open markets based on the Ashurst-Sumners Act of 1935. The original legislation authorizing PIECP in 1979 expected it to result in work experience and training in marketable job skills, while more recent interest not targeted in the original legislation emphasizes income and work experience in order to reduce recidivism.

It has been hypothesized that joint venture industries between inmates/Departments of Correction and the private sector are a promising type of re-entry preparedness in the work experience area and reduces idleness during the prison stay according to the legislation.

Key Findings
The primary findings of this research are that inmates who worked in open-market jobs in PIECP were found to be significantly more successful in post-release employment. That is to say, they became tax-paying citizens quicker and remain in that status longer than TI and OTW releasees. Additionally, TI releasees were more successful post-release in obtaining employment more quickly than OTW releasees. Finally, PIECP releasees had slower and reduced recidivism, as measured by arrest, conviction and incarceration, than TI and OTW releasees.

https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/214608.pdf
Or this ...

Correctional Industries Programs for Adult Offenders in Prison: Estimates of Benefits and Costs

January 2005

In recent years, the Washington legislature has directed the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to identify evidence-based programs that can lower crime and give Washington taxpayers a good return on their money. The purpose of this short report is to update previously published findings pertaining to correctional industries programs for adult prisoners.

... based on these three studies, correctional industries programs can be expected to produce a statistically significant reduction in the future criminality of participating offenders. That is, there is credible evidence that the programs reduce future crime, although this conclusion needs to be tested further with new evaluations of correctional industries programs.

http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/ReportFile/894
 

Southern Dad

macrumors 68000
May 23, 2010
1,532
547
Shady Dale, Georgia
Prison Rehabilitation does NOT work and is expensive. This is blatantly obvious when you look up inmates and see the number of times that they've been incarcerated. If rehabilitation worked well, there wouldn't be fewer people returning to prison.

Georgia Prison System website allows you to look up inmates. Throw a random name in there and look at the number of times they've been incarcerated.
 

Eraserhead

macrumors G4
Nov 3, 2005
10,300
10,387
UK
Prison Rehabilitation does NOT work and is expensive.
I fail to see why you're making this point again when it has been completely debunked by the two posts above.

Unless you've got some better explanation as to why Norway's island prison has the worlds lowest rate of reoffending.