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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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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).

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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.

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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 05-18-2019, 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 05-18-2019, 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 05-18-2019, 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 05-18-2019, 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 05-18-2019, 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 05-19-2019, 05:40 PM
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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 05-19-2019, 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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Old 05-20-2019, 11:19 AM
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Part of the rationale behind long prison sentences is to keep people locked up until they age out of crime.

A forty-year old is less likely to offend than a twenty-year old, for various reasons. So if you lock up a twenty-year old for twenty years, he is less likely to re-offend, or at least that is the theory.
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When this applies to child molesters it might work because I dont think they can ever totally reform...
There is a scale, or there used to be, that was used to predict the likelihood that a child molester would be convicted again. IIRC you got points for various factors, and the higher the score, the more likely you were to re-offend. If you were over 25, you got points. If it was not your first offense, you got points. If you molested a non-family member, you got points. If you molested a male child, you got points. So a forty-year old who molested the boy down the street after serving three years for a previous offense - it doesn't really matter how well he presents after being in prison, or undergoing treatment, or repenting - he is likely to attack more children if he gets out. So it might make sense to say "sorry, perv - get used to prison because you ain't getting out."

Or even "we use the gas chamber in this state - how long can you hold your breath?"

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Old 05-20-2019, 03:10 PM
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When this applies to child molesters it might work because I dont think they can ever totally reform
Child molesters are diversely quoted as having the highest recidivism rate of all crimes and the lowest recidivism rate of all crimes. Go figure.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:14 PM
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You're assuming only deterrence and reformation are valid reason to keep someone in jail. But plenty of people think that punishment is the main goal of prison time, hence that there's no reason to free the criminal even if he's reformed.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:17 PM
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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.

So, the argument here is "since we make the life of these people after jail so difficult, we shouldn't release them", apparently. Wouldn't making their life less difficult a more logical option? This argument seems to be drawn directly from Kafka.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:19 PM
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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.
And that's exactly the point. Most people won't be happy if the criminal doesn't suffer for his crime.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:20 PM
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Yes but there seems to have been a big proliferation in "without possibility of parole" sentences of late.
The final check on the system is that the Governor (for state crimes) and President (for Federal crimes) with the power to grant clemency or even wipe out the conviction completely.

A student of my wife's ended up being plea-bargained into a life without parole sentence. No, no one thinks he will murder again. But as the appeals process goes on in the courts, so do the appeals every time a new governor takes office.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:39 PM
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Child molesters are diversely quoted as having the highest recidivism rate of all crimes and the lowest recidivism rate of all crimes. Go figure.
One of the reasons involves the definition of "recidivism" and the follow-up period. " Recidivism" usually refers to what happens after an offender is released from prison and may be defined as to a new arrest, new conviction or a return to prison for either a sex offense or any crime- studies that include "new arrests" for any crime will show a higher rate that those that only include "return to prison" for a sex offense. Some studies consider anyone that has not had an event that constitutes "recidivism' as a non-recidivist while others exclude those who have died or moved out of state from the sample. ( and removing them from the sample increases the recidivism rate) And of course the rates will differ depending on whether the follow-up period is 3 years post-release or for the rest of the offenders life.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:46 PM
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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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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.
When three strike laws were first enacted, they only counted crimes involving violence in the tally. You couldn't invoke the law over non-violent crimes like drug dealing or shoplifting.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:54 PM
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I'll admit I'm not really in favor of forgiving some crimes. Murder being the obvious one.

Even if the murderer sincerely repents and acknowledges they were wrong and will never commit another crime for the rest of their life... their victim is still dead. There are some things in life that are irreversible. If you can't undo the crime, I don't think you should undo the consequences.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:07 PM
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If I had the authority to set free a convicted child molester and did so only to find they hurt another again it would weigh on my conscience. Civil rights advocates for the convicted would object, but for me personally I would sleep better favoring all children to the extent I was able.
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Old 05-21-2019, 12:12 AM
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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.
Forgive me but I was only responding to what you had posted below, where you say that "it depends on the *crime*". If drugs were all legalized, then dealing drugs *wouldn't* be a crime at all. But you say in your first post that a *crime* such as drug dealing shouldn't result in prison at all. Maybe I'm not understanding you here but it seems to me that you are saying two different things in these two posts.

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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.
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Old 05-21-2019, 03:44 AM
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Old 05-21-2019, 07:16 AM
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If you are not directly involved with offenders or prisons then you likely are not aware of the desirable ideal compared to current reality.

Yes it is highly desirable to rehabilitate offenders once they have been punished, and yes it is supposed to be the role of the post offending part of the criminal justice system to rehabilitate prisoners.

Much of the rehabilitation system is supposedly in place - the reality is that it is not.

The vast majority of the rehabilitation system is geared to generating numbers and charts and league tables at a minimum cost. The performance of service providers and subsequent management promotion is based upon these factors.

Once you realise this, it is easy to understand why rehabilitation as currently practised largely fails.

In the UK last year we had over 900 staff leave the prison service with less than one year of service, compare this figure to 2010 and that same figure is just 60. Over those years the loss of experience has been dramatic, and the reasons why experienced staff leave and inexperienced staff decline to continue have not been addressed
In addition the number of staff who operate the prison units has been reduced by one third, and the staff who operate prison employment and rehabilitation programs have been reduced by 50%.

It may seem amazing that the amount of rehabilitation courses throughput has remained the same, and the number of working hours by prisoners has increased, but this is entirely due to the drive to achieve numbers and targets - which means fewer staff have to supervise much larger numbers of prisoners. Result is that courses are badly compromised and work supervision is hardly controlled - in effect these parts of the prison system are not actually doing their work, they are just ensuring that prisoners are not killing each other, and little else.

Once released from prison, UK offenders are then controlled by probation services - that organisation was privatised against the advice from pretty much everyone involved in the criminal justice system by the then politician in charge of Justice Chris Grayling.

The result privatisation was that a huge percentage of experienced staff left, staffing levels were cut, caseloads increase to the point where they cannot be managed and former offenders are now frequently completely unsupervised. This failure is so dramatic that probation services have been taken back into public sector at a cost of over £500 million. The damage has been done it will take around 10 years to regain the staff and experience.

All this is extremely obvious, yet government ministers did all this for one reason - to save money, and increased offending is the predictable result. It is so obvious that one tends to imagine that politicians were quite prepared to accept the current rise in crime and ineffective criminal rehabilitation as a viable cost to those savings.

All this is a very long and roundabout way of pointing out the real truth - rehabilitation costs lots of money but in the short term it costs rather more than incarceration and building more prison places.

Politicians tend to campaign on short term issues, and for the current government this has worked since it is in office - the issue of effective rehabilitation does come down to money, and in turn this comes down to the electorate deciding their priorities - if you want less crime and effective rehabilitation then you need to vote for those who will fund it. Rehabilitation is not a short term investment, it generally takes many years for offenders to give up on crime and if rehabilitation is ever likely to be effective it will need extensive strands working in the community to supervise, house, train and employ former offenders, along with all the detox and mental health and social services to support an effective program.

So, answer for all of you - if you want to reduce offending, think about the words of the politicians before you vote.

Last edited by casdave; 05-21-2019 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 05-21-2019, 10:14 AM
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In many ways the "liberal" position on imprisonment has dominated the dialogue so much that it's hard to remember that the criminal justice system as constituted since time immemorial back to the early ancient societies, has more of a purpose than just "deterrence, rehabilitation or revenge." Revenge often being seen as a "negative" and immoral aspect of the system.

Let's take a quick step back to the legal system in general. Let's say I get liquored up tonight and go driving my car, and I plow into your front yard, I slam into your car parked in your driveway, then drunkenly try to escape by backing up and slam into your house repeatedly, doing major damage to your property.

Obviously I have committed a number of criminal acts. But let's not consider them at all right now. Inevitably there will be either some insurance process or civil trial between me and you. The reason for this is I have done more than commit a crime against your property, I have also committed a civil tort. If the damage to your property was $35,000, it's highly reasonable to presume that in either an insurance settlement or civil lawsuit, I would be found liable for that $35,000 in damage.

No one considers this "revenge", no one thinks it's being done to "deter" future torts. Instead everyone recognizes it is simply "equitable" that I make recompense for the bad thing I did, in scale to the amount of bad I did, and in this case it is very easy to assess a monetary value to the scale of what I did since you can provide evidence as to how much money it cost to replace and repair the destroyed/damaged property.

It is widely understood in such cases it is the role of the court system to see equitable results. This has another name: justice. Equitable results and justice are not revenge, they are about "setting things right" in a civilized society, a society where impartial arbiters determine how it is to be set right, as opposed to a lynch mob or a familial feud.

When someone commits a serious violent crime, for example a murder, there must be considerations beyond the trope of deterrence, rehabilitation and "vengeance." Justice or equitable outcome must be considered. A murderer has stolen a person's life from them, and justice demands something from them that is at least "to scale" for that act.

Historically it was a lot simpler. Murder all but universally carried the death penalty, it was executed very quickly after the trial. Most smaller crimes carried corporal punishment or humiliation (flogging, being put in the stocks etc), or monetary fines. Imprisonment was not used for any long term purpose but was more for temporary holding. We've largely recognized in modern society that the death penalty is simply too flawed to really administer appropriately in conjunction with modern concepts of right/wrong, and legal fairness. With that avenue shut down, a long prison sentence is about the only tool we have to insure someone who has stolen another person's life has to make some serious amend for that.

I think the default should be murderers never see freedom again, and that's not that revolutionary an opinion. But I'm also in favor of some universal parole system where every offender at least has a chance at parole, so that in exceptional circumstances some lenience can be shown. But I would expect for most murders that would not ever happen.

Most criminals in general do eventually get released, and for that reason rehabilitation is very important, and should be prioritized more. But we need to stop the narrative that the criminal justice system can only exist to rehabilitate or deter, courts can render justice, and justice demands things sometimes, like lengthy prison sentences, to result in an equitable outcome for a seriously immoral action.
  #38  
Old 05-21-2019, 10:28 AM
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IMHO, there is little valid purpose served in continuing to keep a prisoner locked up after he/she has genuinely reformed.
There are nations that agree with you. Norway, I believe, has a 21 year maximum sentencing limit. Other northern European countries are similar. They believe that prison is for rehabilitation and not punishment.

The United States penal system, much like that of numerous other nations, is very punitive in nature. An oft used phrase is, "The punishment must equal the crime." That of course can be quite subjective and, if determined by victims or the court of public opinion, can be very punitive indeed.

We have a history of "over punishing" people, giving them sentences that are decades in length for non-violent crimes and crimes committed as juveniles. In my mind, our system needs a big overhaul.
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:53 AM
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:55 AM
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The question is - Why do some nations have a revenge culture - because this then feeds into why we have a lower priority in rehabilitation.

We the public respond readily to revenge politics, and our politicians play on that. Non-one wants to lose votes by being seen as 'soft on crime'.

In many cases such societies also see the post release social disadvantage as part of the punishment, after all why should a person with a criminal history prosper upon release?

This means that offenders do find it hard to gain work of any sort and especially work that might be seen as rewarding, why should an offender get life privileges that non-offenders would envy.

It's a bi-polar reaction to crime and rehab - we would like offenders to cease committing further crime but we do no seem to want them to make anything of themselves, its a kind of dog in a manger attitude - If my life is crap and I do not commit crime then why should former offenders have opportunities ? but until we can make the connection between rehabilitation and a path to a fulfilling crime free life, well then, re-offending will remain an ongoing problem.

How is it possible to determine if an offender has reformed? Years ago prison staff would write up reports on prisoners, not just the specialist offending behavior programs managers but also those with whom prisoners spent large chunks of their time, such as unit staff, workshop supervisors and trainers.

Those sorts of staff would spend most of their working time with the prisoner work party so you would imagine that more use would be made of this resource, however this is no longer the case.

Nowadays those opinions are rarely sought and the huge increase in the size of prisoner work parties makes it impossible to develop the sorts of interpersonal relationships that would allow a meaningful assessment.

Even if this were to be reinstated it would not work until work party sizes are reduced and suitable staff recruited - unfortunately the detrimental changes to pay and conditions mean that those sorts of staff cannot be recruited or retained, and the prison estate simply has to take what they can get to plug the holes.

So it still comes down to money, it may appear to be more efficient to have fewer staff supervising more prisoners, however the quality of training, assessment and control all inevitably decline - which means reoffending rises, hence the same old faces keep returning to prison.

It is all a false economy designed to make politicians look good but without actually taking responsibility, and you vote for them. You should always be wary of the revenge ideology of right wing politicians because it leads to increases in crime and you are its victims.
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Old 05-21-2019, 01:17 PM
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There are nations that agree with you. Norway, I believe, has a 21 year maximum sentencing limit. Other northern European countries are similar. They believe that prison is for rehabilitation and not punishment.
A couple of years ago I was hanging out with a Corrections Officer from Norway here in Krakow (a "Friend of a Friend" situation) and among other things we talked about his work, and I told him I knew nothing about Norway's criminal justice system, but I had read a bit about Anders Behring Breivik, the fine, misunderstood gentleman who methodically slaughtered 69 Norwegian citizens back in 2011, most of them teenagers.

This is clearly a man who is seemingly in need of a bit of "rehabilitation", but according to the C.O. I talked with (who had met Breivik while he was in custody awaiting trial, but does not work in the "prison" where he is currently held. Prison is in quotation marks because it sounded much like a Ivy Leauge college dorm suite as it was described to me) he is surprisingly enough not particularly interested in therapy or counceling, instead preferring to spend his time playing video games, masturbating to Scandanavian pornography, composing racist screeds taunting the families of his victims, masturbating to Asian pornography, filing nuisance lawsuits, masturbating to American pornography. practicing the Goosestep and masturbating to Eastern European pornography.

The good, morally enlightened taxpayers of Norway can hold their collective heads up high!

Last edited by Royal Nonesutch; 05-21-2019 at 01:21 PM.
  #42  
Old 05-21-2019, 04:58 PM
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There are nations that agree with you. Norway, I believe, has a 21 year maximum sentencing limit. Other northern European countries are similar. They believe that prison is for rehabilitation and not punishment.
21 to life actually. Certain categories of dangerous prisoners can have their sentences extended for 5-year intervals indefinitely, unless the board is quite convinced they are no longer a danger to other people. This was explained to all the foreign newspapers that observed the Breivik trial, including English-language handouts.

Still did not make it into any of them that I saw.
  #43  
Old 05-22-2019, 09:52 AM
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The question is - Why do some nations have a revenge culture - because this then feeds into why we have a lower priority in rehabilitation.
It is revenge if the victim or victims family gets to punish someone for a criminal wrong. Very few countries in the world allow that, this isn't the Middle Ages. A judge or jury, justly determining sentence after a conviction, is not "revenge.", it is justice.

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In many cases such societies also see the post release social disadvantage as part of the punishment, after all why should a person with a criminal history prosper upon release?
I'm not actually sure this is a real thing. Most people probably believe released criminals deserve a chance at reintegration in society. But in the United States we have fifty different States with fifty different sets of employment laws. Employment laws in the U.S. in general are far less protective of workers rights than in Europe. In a free market, employers will want to know if their applicants are criminals. For liability reasons many will simply never hire a felon. You would need laws prohibiting employers from investigating the criminal backgrounds of applicants, and prohibiting using that criminal background in hiring decisions, to fully achieve this goal. But in the U.S. employment law is handled at both the Federal and State level and we just have nothing like this.

The biggest barrier by far to success for released prisoners is most private companies will not hire them for a large number of jobs, so they end up trapped in very unsatisfying menial work.

Quote:
It is all a false economy designed to make politicians look good but without actually taking responsibility, and you vote for them. You should always be wary of the revenge ideology of right wing politicians because it leads to increases in crime and you are its victims.
You should be very careful about making proclamations about what policies "lead to increases in crime", people usually say such things to make a political point. There have been massive sociological and criminological studies of crime rates from the 70s to present day, and there is virtually no unambiguous consensus on why crime went up so much, and then down so much.
  #44  
Old 05-22-2019, 01:52 PM
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You would need laws prohibiting employers from investigating the criminal backgrounds of applicants, and prohibiting using that criminal background in hiring decisions, to fully achieve this goal. But in the U.S. employment law is handled at both the Federal and State level and we just have nothing like this.
We're never going to prohibit using the criminal background investigation in all cases, and I doubt any other countries do either - is there any country that would require a hospital to hire this nurse? https://gizmodo.com/why-this-texas-n...mig-1713988505


But there are states and cities in the US that have laws that restrict the us of criminal backgrounds in employment decisions- some simply"ban the box" while others don't allow a criminal record check until a conditional offer of employment is made and then requires employers to consider factor such as the job-relatedness of the conviction and how far in the past it happened rather than refusing to hire based solely on the fact that there was a conviction.

Last edited by doreen; 05-22-2019 at 01:52 PM.
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Old 05-22-2019, 02:24 PM
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  #46  
Old 05-22-2019, 02:30 PM
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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.
What if rehabilitation is immediate? Say I were to murder someone, but under truly once-in-a-lifetime circumstances, and I would never, ever murder anyone ever again. No jail time at all, I'm free to go?

Am I allowed to murder my father's killer, if and only if my father is the only person I would ever avenge in this way? He can't be killed again, so I would never kill again, and therefore, any further punishment of me would be excessive and without purpose?
  #47  
Old 05-22-2019, 02:39 PM
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What if rehabilitation is immediate? Say I were to murder someone, but under truly once-in-a-lifetime circumstances, and I would never, ever murder anyone ever again. No jail time at all, I'm free to go?

Am I allowed to murder my father's killer, if and only if my father is the only person I would ever avenge in this way? He can't be killed again, so I would never kill again, and therefore, any further punishment of me would be excessive and without purpose?
I do agree that there is a purpose to some minimum waiting period for decency's sake - it would make a mockery of the justice system for someone to be released a short time after murder even if truly repentant. But I think that when courts slap on "without possibility of parole", it's often just a way of ducking the issue of rehabilitation and washing the review issue off of their hands.
  #48  
Old 05-22-2019, 03:41 PM
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It is revenge if the victim or victims family gets to punish someone for a criminal wrong. Very few countries in the world allow that, this isn't the Middle Ages. A judge or jury, justly determining sentence after a conviction, is not "revenge.", it is justice.
Yet its pretty common to hear people complain that prisoners have it too easy, that they get heating, feeding, medical care etc They will also say that prisoners should all be doing hard labour, and those are just the milder end of the comments that folk make about prisoners.

When prisoners are released they usually end up having to go into local authority housing, and you'll hear many folk complain that this should not happen and that other folk are far more deserving of limited housing resources.

When former offenders are seeking employment and disclose their record when required - their chances of a successful application are done.

I completely understand the wariness of former prisoners, but rehabilitation needs a whole range of support services in the community, but these are either non-existant or underfunded - no real surprise because there are so many other more deserving priorities.

There is a difference between justice and revenge and I appreciate victims often do want revenge. I see offenders getting off relatively lightly compared to the devastating impacts of their offending on their victims, and I think that the perception of light sentencing and lack of support for victims feeds into a desire for some sort of retribution.

In the absence of an effective offender management system in the UK, I have noticed that the main reason criminals give it up is simply time, they just get fed up of the lifestyle and all the hassle of lost family and interrupted lives, and this has very little to do with any active policy of the state as such, its more of a byproduct of the system.

Perhaps you can argue that prison sentences are too short and maybe offenders should be retained until they have aged somewhat - I have no issue with that,

in fact

.......the one prison sentence that really does serve as a deterrent is the one called Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) When an offender is given one of these, they have a minimum tariff set and they will only be released after that time once they have proven themselves to be minimal risk to the public. This means they have to very much behave themselves, not get involved in various prison sub-cultures, comply with rules, and complete all the behavior and education programs that are contained in their sentence plan. I have come across many offenders who know that if they are convicted of further offences of violence or against the person then they will be put on IPP sentences. If the offender misbehaves at all or breaches any conditions of their licence upon release then they are returned to prison - and this will hang over them for decades - they do not have to be convicted of further offences to be returned to prison. Believe me when I tell you that this concentrates the mind of the offender remarkably. Unfortunately it takes a lot of management, it also puts people in prison without time limit and make the management of the prison place estate quite difficult and expensive - you will not be surprised to know that this type of sentence is being dropped - yet it is the only one that I have found that prisoners truly fear.

Personally I would extend this to all prisoners convicted of multiple offences on multiple occasions - the ones who you would call the 'revolving door' offenders

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impris...lic_protection

We can look are offending rates and struggle to come up with reasons, or at least understand the data fully, however it is compellingly striking that the education levels of prisoners is woefully inadequate - why those levels of academic attainment are so poor is another debate but it is striking. It seems to hint at lack of development not just in education but in social and empathic skills.

Some courses have been put in place to address those issues but places are limited, the courses are expensive and there is not enough follow up post release. The offenders who do those specific programs tend to have lower reoffending rates but there is hot debate s to why this is the case - such as cherry picking those who are accepted on to those courses.

One thing you will find in almost all the studies on reoffending - and I have read many of them - is that family support is a significant indicator of resettlement success - so you would maybe imagine that resources would be put into supporting offenders families, unfortunately this is not the case.
  #49  
Old 05-22-2019, 08:16 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.
but when parole advocates argue that they behaved themselves in prison, well.. maybe because opportunities to commit crimes, such as stealing will result in inmate punishment, no children to molest, etc.
  #50  
Old 05-23-2019, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Urbanredneck
I have talked to people in corrections and they say often its about half the prisoners should not be there.
Probably true, but nobody knows which half.

Regards,
Shodan
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