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  #1    
Old February 13th, 2017 (10:00 AM).
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    In the UK we have experienced an increase in prison rioting and a recent undercover documentary has revealed some catastrophic failings within the prison service itself such as widespread drug use, a lack of control, door alarms that did not go off, holes in the security fencing, to name a few. With many prisons now overcrowded with inmates, should the government consider an alternative to prison sentences? Should we try to rehabilitate prisoners to prevent reoffending, thus reducing repeated costs for imprisonment? What's the answer to our prison crisis? Can we learn something from other countries when it comes to dealing with our prison population?

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    Old February 13th, 2017 (11:28 AM).
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      i personally think the inmates who deserve it should be rehabilitated. the ones who seem to have learned their lesson. plus it'd reduce costs for repeated offenses like you said.

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      Old February 13th, 2017 (2:35 PM).
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        I don't really know much about how the U.K does things in regards to prisons, but in the U.S, private prisons are a big problem. Privatization just means that the jail needs inmates to make money, hence why, at least in America, a lot of inmates are in prison for minor offenses, mainly for possessing marijuana and other drug-related things. It's because private prisons need people locked behind bars so they can make a quick buck.

        Privatizing prisons should not be the way a prison system does things. People shouldn't be in jail for minor offenses. Murderers, rapists, etc, are far more deserving of a place in prison. This is why I think rehabilitating those for only minor offenses would be a good idea. As you said, it would lower costs for repeated offenses, but also provide room for criminals that have done more severe crimes.

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        Old February 13th, 2017 (2:40 PM). Edited February 13th, 2017 by TN Coden.
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          I don't understand why the UK and the USA don't already try to rehabilitate inmates for crimes lesser than rape and murder, etc.

          The War on Drugs has so far been a colossal failure that's overcrowded American prisons and that costs substantial taxpayer's dollars to maintain, popularizing the idea of private prisons that seem to not be open to the idea of rehabilitation; plus, putting non-violent offenders into an environment where violent anti-social behaviors are reinforced through constant exposure to those attitudes in a confined space doesn't seem like a good idea. It's as bad as any other traditional echo chamber where bad attitudes are reinforced by having people surround themselves with likeminded individuals and nobody around to truly challenge those ideas; introducing more mental health professionals and providing basic college-level education to inmates would help curtail those attitudes and enacting a "instant rehab" sentence to drug-users instead of a prison sentence seems like a better alternative.

          But of course, under the Trump administration, it's not going to change any time soon as the conservative voters are still under the impression that medieval ideas of punishment are still in vogue.

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          Old February 13th, 2017 (9:44 PM).
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          I wouldn't necessarily say that most of these offenders should be rehabilitated outside of prison, for a lot of them there's a good reason we separate them from society. I would say instead that the aim of prison, with the exception of the really dangerous/violent criminals, should be about rehabilitating inmates and providing them with the tools they need to succeed when they are released.

          Specifically speaking though, I think that drug users probably shouldn't be in prison. Dealers yes. Addicts however should be forced into mandatory, state-sponsored rehabilitation programs. Weed should be legal so I'm not even bothering mentioning that.

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          Old February 14th, 2017 (10:54 AM).
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          Quote:
          Originally Posted by TN Coden View Post
          I don't understand why the UK and the USA don't already try to rehabilitate inmates for crimes lesser than rape and murder, etc.

          Rehabilitation would mean a smaller prison population and you can't get free labor from people who aren't in prison. All the troubles that come with having a criminal record (difficulty finding a job, etc.) coupled with poor to no attempts to help people get back on their feet ensures a steady level of recidivism, too. The loss of one's right to vote in many places also helps to ensure that the system won't change except when the people in power decide they want things to change.

          At least that's how things are in the US.

          Quote:
          Originally Posted by TN Coden View Post
          The War on Drugs has so far been a colossal failure that's overcrowded American prisons and that costs substantial taxpayer's dollars to maintain, popularizing the idea of private prisons that seem to not be open to the idea of rehabilitation; plus, putting non-violent offenders into an environment where violent anti-social behaviors are reinforced through constant exposure to those attitudes in a confined space doesn't seem like a good idea. It's as bad as any other traditional echo chamber where bad attitudes are reinforced by having people surround themselves with likeminded individuals and nobody around to truly challenge those ideas; introducing more mental health professionals and providing basic college-level education to inmates would help curtail those attitudes and enacting a "instant rehab" sentence to drug-users instead of a prison sentence seems like a better alternative.

          The War on Drugs has been a big success, just not in the areas it's publicly stated to be. It was started by Nixon as a way criminalize and oppress his political opponents.

          Quote:
          Originally Posted by John Ehrlichman, advisor to Nixon
          “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

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          Old February 16th, 2017 (7:53 AM).
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          Some of the problems listed in the OP ("widespread drug use, a lack of control, door alarms that did not go off, holes in the security fencing") aren't really so much reasons to stop using the prison system but more a reason to get some quality control going in it.

          That said, the US and UK could still use to invest in rehab services too. I also did not know that the US prison is apparently so heavily privatized, which is kinda messed up, making something like that into basically a business. I would ask why it's even like that here, but it's the US, so....

          Instead it would be better to ask how people actually go about getting the prison system reformed.

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          Old February 16th, 2017 (8:31 AM).
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          Quote:
          Originally Posted by Nah View Post
          Some of the problems listed in the OP ("widespread drug use, a lack of control, door alarms that did not go off, holes in the security fencing") aren't really so much reasons to stop using the prison system but more a reason to get some quality control going in it.

          That said, the US and UK could still use to invest in rehab services too. I also did not know that the US prison is apparently so heavily privatized, which is kinda messed up, making something like that into basically a business. I would ask why it's even like that here, but it's the US, so....

          Instead it would be better to ask how people actually go about getting the prison system reformed.

          It wouldn't be easy. The government would probably have to legislate to prevent private ownership and then provide monetary compensation or otherwise buy out the prisons.

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          Old February 16th, 2017 (11:53 AM).
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          Quote:
          Originally Posted by Nah View Post
          I also did not know that the US prison is apparently so heavily privatized, which is kinda messed up, making something like that into basically a business. I would ask why it's even like that here, but it's the US, so....

          A documentary I watched recently takes the view that the 13th amendment intentionally left in a loophole that said you can't have slavery unless someone has committed a crime. Immediately all kinds of things become criminalized and people get arrested for the most minor things. Some people realized that private prisons would net you free labor and money from your state to cover costs.

          Quote:
          Instead it would be better to ask how people actually go about getting the prison system reformed.

          Cutting down the number of people put into prisons would be a good place to start, I think.

          Decriminalization for drug offenses and repeal of lots of drug laws would be a big start. You could cut the prison populations in half, probably.

          Another would be to end the use of mandatory minimum sentencing - the laws that say a judge has no leeway in determining punishments and must always follow a prescribed punishment without regard to the individual circumstances of the case or individuals involved.

          Yet another is bail systems which can leave people in prison for sometimes years at a time without seeing their case brought to trial all because they're too poor and can't afford bail. A system that takes one's finances and economic situation into account would be much better.

          Yet yet another are where police departments are allowed to seize private property from people who have been arrested but not convicted of crimes. That kind of system incentivize police to make more arrests to keep themselves funded.

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