The prison problem

August 13, 2013

What alternatives to prison might better improve public safety? And what services might most effectively help the formerly incarcerated lead productive lives? This piece and this proposal are worth a read.

5 Responses to “The prison problem”

  1. Gail Dayton Says:

    Both articles are making the mistake that our high incarceration rate results from a desire for public safety. It does not. The purpose of our laughable “criminal justice” system is the continued oppression of the poor and in particular non-whites. Suppressing their votes and their ability to get jobs is a feature, not a bug, in the eyes of our plutocratic overlords.

  2. Spring Texan Says:

    Gail Dayton has a good point. Also, it makes a lot of money for the prison corporations.

  3. WNY-WJ Says:

    This is one of many problems that illustrates our rapid decline as a society. Do we really believe that this is still the land of opportunity, the land of the free? Really hard to square with facts and statistics.

    http://wnywj.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/broken-justice-system-is-a-blemish-on-american-democracy/

  4. Bruce Ocala Says:

    Transitional services to facilitate community re-entry is crucial and has largely been ignored. Florida DOC says that if they can make it 3 years on the outside without returning, there is small likelihood that they will return. I volunteer with a faith-based program that seems to have the right approach. They work with inmates AND their families for 3 years prior to release, and then 3 years following release. The short-sighted, half-witted Tea Party state government won’t fund anything, but it’s the right approach – and it would save huge sums as ROI. When the common path involves roadblocks at every possible turn after release, we should hardly be surprised at ridiculous recidivism rates.


  5. Lane:

    It was Ghandi who said:

    “Poverty is the worst form of Violence”

    Change the inequity experienced in the US today (and previously) to alter the outcome of an early life in poverty. As taken from a study looking at mobility in America or children born between 1942 to 1972, the outlook is not promising (Hertz 2006; Understanding Mobility in America). Children born into poverty in the US have an almost equal chance of remaining in poverty as they age. African American children born into the bottom income quartile have a 62.9% of remaining there and a 3.6% chance of reaching the upper quartile. For Caucasian children the percentages were 32.9% and 14.2%. Change the paradigm if you wish to change the end result of people going to prison as the greater percentage of those in prison come from the lower quartile of income.

    Changing sentencing guidelines would address the almost 50% of those nonviolent people incarcerated in jails, state prison, and federal prisons today. There are more useful ways of incorporating these people insto soceity without loking them away for years at n average of $32,000 (?) annually. Furthermore, the $32,000 spent in incarcerating them annually could be used to build better schools, provide healthcare, and better housing for those locked into the lower income quartile.

    Western addresses many of the reasons for recivism and maybe I missed it on what to do early on in a child’s life; but, his solution is in the aftermath and we need to get to the causes in the beginning.Addressing overall poverty in the earliest stages of life, I believe will yield even better results.

    Finally, there are those who committed crimes of violence. I believe the greatest gains can be made with understanding what is behind the violence.

    “the root cause of violence as deep shame and humiliation, a desperate need for respect and status [and, fundamentally love and care] so intense that only killing [oneself and/or others] could ease the pain — or, rather, the lack of feeling” (James Gilligan; Violence; Reflections on a National Epidemic)” A worthy read and a development of understanding. Having sat in Level 4, 2, and 1 prisons as a visitor, it is easy to recognize the overall lack of education which exists and should have been acquired well before this point in life. Prisoners are more apt to harm themselves than others.

    This is nothing new and John Adams noted a similar predicament for the poor with regard to respect and the need for it.

    “The poor man’s conscience is clear . . . he does not feel guilty and has no reason to . . . yet, he is ashamed. Mankind takes no notice of him. He rambles unheeded. In the midst of a crowd; at a church; in the market . . . he is in as much obscurity as he would be in a garret or a cellar. He is not disapproved, censured, or reproached; he is not seen . . . To be wholly overlooked, and to know it, are intolerable.” John Adams

    Who takes heed of a person with a gun? Sorry for the length of this; but, it is a big topic.


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