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Old 05-17-2019, 01:41 PM
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Purpose in keeping reformed prisoners locked up even after reforming


IMHO, there is little valid purpose served in continuing to keep a prisoner locked up after he/she has genuinely reformed. (The main difficulty being, of course, that short of mind-reading you cannot tell if someone has truly undergone transformation or not.) But if someone has genuinely been successfully rehabilitated, continuing to hold them in prison is excessive and needless punishment. If someone is serving a life sentence for murder, but has genuinely reformed 12 or 26 years into their sentence, they should get a second chance.

The only valid reason to do so would be deterrence for other people - the knowledge for criminals that "If you commit Crime X, you will be locked up for 20 years" is a lot more potent-sounding threat than "If you commit Crime X, you will be locked up until you change your ways." But then it's technically locking up the prisoner for the sake of others, rather than for the sake of himself/herself.

I would guess that the only way this could happen practically would be governors using their commutation power a lot more than they currently do, but pardoning convicted felons usually bodes poorly for one's reelection chances.
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Old 05-17-2019, 02:49 PM
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When this applies to child molesters it might work because I dont think they can ever totally reform plus there is the fact that even after leaving prison, where do they go? They have made laws governing where they live so strict (like not being within 3-5 miles of a school or daycare) that there are darn few places for them. Often that leaves just a tiny area or small towns.

So it might just be better to leave them... well not a prison... but some sort of controlled environment.

Otherwise they are on the street where authorities lose track of them.
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Old 05-17-2019, 02:59 PM
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A murderer may be reformed, but their victims are dead forever.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:05 PM
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The purpose is revenge, some believe that to be justice. If someone reforms (and again how do we really know), But if, then that is a victory for the victim. That victim is now the one who should get credit for this person's new and honest life, and that society has another productive member.
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:03 PM
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So many people, especially young men. Do incredibly STUPID things in their teens and early 20's. They join gangs, deal drugs, swagger around with a gun, etc... and then they wind up in prison. They then reform.

So what good is locking that person up for 20 years or more or life or holding them after they complete their sentence. Shouldnt "good behavior" amount to something?

I have talked to people in corrections and they say often its about half the prisoners should not be there. I'm convinced that its the prison industry keeping many of them in. If some top elected officials like governors or even the president, would just go thru files and pardon deserving prisoners we could probably reduce our prison population by half and save billions which then could go towards education.
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
But if someone has genuinely been successfully rehabilitated, continuing to hold them in prison is excessive and needless punishment. If someone is serving a life sentence for murder, but has genuinely reformed 12 or 26 years into their sentence, they should get a second chance.
And this is why we have Parole Boards.
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:43 PM
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Historically the US had far fewer people in prison, and for shorter sentences than we do now. And our crime rate is lower. You may say one leads to the other, but I doubt its that simple.

Anyway, nobody wants to be seen as 'soft on crime' in politics so they just push for harsher and harsher sentences.

And like you said, how do you know who is reformed? If you let out 100 people and 1 commits a crime, people will want to make sure the next batch of 100 are not released even if 99 of them aren't criminals anymore either.

I would assume a big factor is age. Age and gender are two of the bigger risk factors for crime, and when a male reaches his 40s or so, he will probably give up the criminal lifestyle (since at root the criminal lifestyle is about status and procreation in many ways, and by your 40s those urges are not as intense).

https://lao.ca.gov/1995/050195_juv_crime/kk06.gif
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Last edited by Wesley Clark; 05-17-2019 at 04:47 PM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:51 PM
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And this is why we have Parole Boards.
Yes but there seems to have been a big proliferation in "without possibility of parole" sentences of late.
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Old 05-17-2019, 05:17 PM
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Yes but there seems to have been a big proliferation in "without possibility of parole" sentences of late.
But what do you do when you have someone who has done something so heinous, that really, there isn't much they can do to make up for it? Think of the Manson family, for example? Some of them claimed to have "found god" or whatever. But their crimes were horrific. (There were some people out there who were even worse)

I don't believe in the death penalty, but every now and then, you just have someone who really does NOT deserve a second chance. It wasn't just a stupid, split seond decision, but truely cold-blooded murder.

(And haven't there been cases where people have been given second chances, only to blow it?)
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Old 05-17-2019, 05:33 PM
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But what do you do when you have someone who has done something so heinous, that really, there isn't much they can do to make up for it? Think of the Manson family, for example? Some of them claimed to have "found god" or whatever. But their crimes were horrific. (There were some people out there who were even worse)

I don't believe in the death penalty, but every now and then, you just have someone who really does NOT deserve a second chance. It wasn't just a stupid, split seond decision, but truely cold-blooded murder.

(And haven't there been cases where people have been given second chances, only to blow it?)

There are instances of people getting life imprisonment without parole for very minor crimes, especially because of the three-strikes law.

One example: Cocaine possession combined with three-strikes law: https://www.clarionledger.com/story/...urt/861698001/
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Old 05-17-2019, 05:46 PM
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The main difficulty being, of course, that short of mind-reading you cannot tell if someone has truly undergone transformation or not.
You acknowledged this exists but you seem to have then waved it off.
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Old 05-17-2019, 05:57 PM
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IMHO it depends on the crime. Dealing or using drugs? Prostitution? Shouldn’t be in prison to begin with. On the other hand, ISTM whenever I hear about someone being arrested for a murder, the suspect inevitably has a rap sheet a mile long with offenses like burglary and aggravated assault. Those types offenses should be punished more aggressively.

Last edited by FlikTheBlue; 05-17-2019 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 06:49 PM
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Historically the US had far fewer people in prison, and for shorter sentences than we do now. And our crime rate is lower. You may say one leads to the other, but I doubt its that simple.
It's probably not that simple. Historically we had a lot more lead poisoning too for a few decades, and that led to lower IQs, behavioral problems, and poor impulse control.
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:13 PM
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IMHO it depends on the crime. Dealing drugs? Shouldn’t be in prison to begin with.
Surely you dont honestly believe this?
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:36 PM
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But what do you do when you have someone who has done something so heinous, that really, there isn't much they can do to make up for it?
In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit.
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:20 PM
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Surely you dont honestly believe this?
I don't imagine it's likely to happen but if I was in charge, I'd legalize all drugs. I figure that if people want to recreate themselves (or kill themselves) with drugs, it's their own business. I'd keep laws restricting sales to minors and laws against operating vehicles while under the influence but if you wanted to smoke some crack, you'd be able to go buy it legally at Walmart as far as I'm concerned. In addition to this being a personal liberty issue, I feel that the crime that has developed around the illegal sales of drugs is causing more harm to society than the drugs themselves are.
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Old Yesterday, 12:43 AM
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How many of your customers on average were in for drug possession and if recall correctly you served from the late 70’s to the 2000’s, so did you see a change in the percentage and trends?
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Old Yesterday, 01:08 AM
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How many of your customers on average were in for drug possession and if recall correctly you served from the late 70’s to the 2000’s, so did you see a change in the percentage and trends?
It's hard to break it down like that. People might be convicted of a drug charge but it was very rarely the only charge involved. What usually would happen is somebody would get arrested for another crime and then found to be in possession of some drugs, which he would then also be charged with. The number of people who were arrested and imprisoned solely for drug possession is very small.
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Old Yesterday, 07:46 PM
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I don't imagine it's likely to happen but if I was in charge, I'd legalize all drugs. I figure that if people want to recreate themselves (or kill themselves) with drugs, it's their own business. I'd keep laws restricting sales to minors and laws against operating vehicles while under the influence but if you wanted to smoke some crack, you'd be able to go buy it legally at Walmart as far as I'm concerned. In addition to this being a personal liberty issue, I feel that the crime that has developed around the illegal sales of drugs is causing more harm to society than the drugs themselves are.
That's saying something different though. Sure, *if* all drugs were legalized, then those selling drugs wouldn't be criminals. But that's not how things are. And it's one thing to say some dumbass caught selling a dimebag of weed shouldn't be thrown in jail. But it's completely another thing to say that about a high-level drug kingpin who brings literal tons of heroin and fentanyl into the country.
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Old Yesterday, 09:47 PM
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That's saying something different though. Sure, *if* all drugs were legalized, then those selling drugs wouldn't be criminals. But that's not how things are. And it's one thing to say some dumbass caught selling a dimebag of weed shouldn't be thrown in jail. But it's completely another thing to say that about a high-level drug kingpin who brings literal tons of heroin and fentanyl into the country.
There are two stores in my town which specialize in the sale of alcohol. They appear to be able to co-exist without any drive-by shootings to determine which of them owns the "turf". The same is true about the various stores that sell cigarettes and the Dunkin Donuts and the Tim Hortons which are selling coffee only a block away from each other.

If drugs were legal, we wouldn't have high level drug kingpins or drug cartels. Coca plants and heroin poppies would be grown on regular farms alongside corn and wheat. Literal tons of these crops might get moved around but they would be in ships and trains and semi-trailers.

That said, I am not FlikTheBlue. I'm expressing my own opinion (while acknowledging it's unlikely to be implemented in the real world). I don't know if he shares my opinion or has a different one.

On a separate not, I would disagree with FlikTheBlue on something else he wrote. He said that anyone who was arrested for murder "inevitably has a rap sheet a mile long with offenses like burglary and aggravated assault".

This is not really the case. There are a lot of people whose first arrest is for murder. You'd think a serious crime like murder wouldn't be an entry-level crime but the reality is that professional criminals with long rap sheets are usually participating in crimes that generate money. Murder is often a crime that is committed with no financial motive. Somebody who kills their spouse over an argument or somebody who's been burying dead prostitutes in their basement isn't any more likely to be robbing houses or selling drugs than you or I are.
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Old Yesterday, 10:06 PM
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That's saying something different though. Sure, *if* all drugs were legalized, then those selling drugs wouldn't be criminals. But that's not how things are. And it's one thing to say some dumbass caught selling a dimebag of weed shouldn't be thrown in jail. But it's completely another thing to say that about a high-level drug kingpin who brings literal tons of heroin and fentanyl into the country.
My point is that if it was legal the high-level drug kingpin would disappear. Rather than being provided by someone like El Chapo or Pablo Escobar, crack and heroin would be provided by people like the stockholders in Anheuser-Busch or those guys on TV with big beards that advertise small craft beers.
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Old Today, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocity View Post
There are instances of people getting life imprisonment without parole for very minor crimes, especially because of the three-strikes law.

One example: Cocaine possession combined with three-strikes law: https://www.clarionledger.com/story/...urt/861698001/
I would say that's pretty messed up. Especially when you consider something as minor as shoplifting can land you in prison for life with the "three-strikes" law.


However, what do you say about cases like the Manson family, or Ted Bundy (if he hadn't been given the death penalty), or Gary Heidnik, or Jeffrey Dahmer? Gary Ridgeway? John Wayne Gacy? Charles Albright?

Do you think any of them should have been set free?
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Old Today, 05:51 PM
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However, what do you say about cases like the Manson family, or Ted Bundy (if he hadn't been given the death penalty), or Gary Heidnik, or Jeffrey Dahmer? Gary Ridgeway? John Wayne Gacy? Charles Albright?

Do you think any of them should have been set free?
If they were truly reformed, then yes, I think parole could have been considered. Of course, it's impossible to tell with certainty whether someone has truly been reformed or not, as Little Nemo highlights, and therein lies the rub. Seeing yet another victim get murdered would be a high price to pay for being mistaken about someone's repentance.

But I asked it as more of a philosophical than practical question. IMHO, if someone is truly reformed, then continuing to lock them up is rather pointless punishment. The only purpose it serves is.......make someone suffer.
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