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How can we improve the efficiency of our penal system?

by KingNothing
Tags: efficiency, improve, penal
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TheStatutoryApe
#37
Jul16-11, 05:07 AM
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Quote Quote by mege View Post
I wonder if there's any data comparing the overall crime rate in states/localities where prostitution is legal and not in the US.
A quick look found a couple links with interesting information.
http://liberator.net/articles/prostitution.html
This article admits that there has not been shown any satisfactory link between legalization of prostitution and lower crimes rates but its numbers seem to at least suggest that legalization does not increase crime rates. That particular bit is under XI. Data Driven Analysis A. Crime Analysis.

http://www.humanismbyjoe.com/prostitution.htm
This articles makes a good point about the difficulties of women who are arrested for prostitution and the probability that it will only lead them to continue in their trade and make it more difficult for them to leave it perpetuating the "problem".

Quote Quote by Mege
Re: Education. I'm reminded of an episode of House, MD where their patient is a Deathrow inmate (multiple violent murders) whom has some health issues before being put to death. They find that he has a condition which causes adrenaline to increase significantly when his heart rate reaches a certain threshold. The inmate always comments on his murders 'I just don't remember doing it' indicating that he's raging. They're able to repair the condition and then question if it's any worth to make an appeals case for him to not be on death row any more as they may have 'solved' his agressive behavior. Dr. House then responds, "What about every other person with this condition that learned to live with it and not kill people?" Point being: how much can you give someone the benefit of the doubt for their 'condition' (social, health, racial, whatever it may be) when there's lots of examples of others overcoming those same hurdles and living productive, non-criminal lives?
I would not suggest that people who lack education should be let off the hook for their crimes. I am only suggesting a potential means of reducing the number of criminals and repeat offenders.

Quote Quote by WhoWee View Post
There are always unintended consequences. The one I predict would be everyone smoking pot on a daily basis would then be eligible for Social Security Disability because they smoke too much - thereby shifting the cost of prisons to the welfare state.
I would disagree. People who smoke marijuana are not necessarily any less productive than any other member of society. In the area where I live there are plenty of people of all sorts that smoke marijuana, most of them have jobs, and many are fairly successful individuals. Most of the really successful people I have met say that meth and cocaine are common in those circles, so maybe the pot smokers should switch to stimulants?

Besides that the same welfare people could just as easily (more easily since it is legal already) drink themselves out of jobs. A few times several years ago I went to a bar at 6am, since I got off work at that time. I would say that at least half the people in there drinking were unemployed.
Quote Quote by WhoWee View Post
Here's an idea -given the US Government owns about 1/3 of the land mostly in the west - why not relocate a few of the older and larger populations to nice large penal reservations - where the inmates can grow their own crops and animals - even sell them on the open market. The facilities could include wind and solar facilities cared for by the inmates and feed the US energy demand. If the inmates had something to do each day (other than engage in gang activity and lawsuits for instance) they might find peace and satisfaction from their experience?
I was thinking at least some form of work. The society idea is interesting.
WhoWee
#38
Jul17-11, 11:46 AM
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Quote Quote by ThomasT View Post
What is it you're agreeing with? If drugs are legalized in order to take control away from the criminals, then the usual recreational drugs won't be illegal. Things like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin would join alcohol and nicotine as legal, but regulated (and taxed), drugs.

So, who would be ineligible for government assistance on account of their drug use?
I didn't realize heroin was a recreational drug.
WhoWee
#39
Jul17-11, 11:51 AM
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Quote Quote by TheStatutoryApe View Post

I would disagree. People who smoke marijuana are not necessarily any less productive than any other member of society. In the area where I live there are plenty of people of all sorts that smoke marijuana, most of them have jobs, and many are fairly successful individuals. Most of the really successful people I have met say that meth and cocaine are common in those circles, so maybe the pot smokers should switch to stimulants?
I'm not so certain that meth belongs in a civilized society?
ThomasT
#40
Jul17-11, 04:47 PM
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Quote Quote by WhoWee View Post
I didn't realize heroin was a recreational drug.
Insofar as it's used to get high, then it's a recreational drug.
WhoWee
#41
Jul17-11, 06:14 PM
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Quote Quote by ThomasT View Post
Insofar as it's used to get high, then it's a recreational drug.
I think you need to draw the line somewhere. If pot and powder cocaine were legal - why would that not be adequate? Anyone who has spent time on the streets knows that heroin, crack, crank and all the meth are bad news - and should not be legal.
ThomasT
#42
Jul17-11, 10:06 PM
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Quote Quote by WhoWee View Post
I think you need to draw the line somewhere. If pot and powder cocaine were legal - why would that not be adequate? Anyone who has spent time on the streets knows that heroin, crack, crank and all the meth are bad news - and should not be legal.
The idea is to take the control of drugs away from criminals. I know that legalizing methamphetamine and heroin seems drastic, but the problems caused by their illegality seem to outweigh the problems that legalizing them would entail.

We have an example of the difference in legality and illegality with alcoholic beverages. Prohibition was clearly a bad idea. But as it is now, governments make lots of money taxing alcoholic beverages, and there aren't a bunch of people in jail for the manufacture, distribution, sale and/or use of it, or a bunch of people getting taxpayer money to arrest people engaged in those activities.

Unfortunately, there are a number of things that governments can do to make prisons (and the criminal justice system in general) run more efficiently that they're probably not ever going to do because of an ignorant and apathetic/complacent electorate and the corruptability of people in general.

My guess is that none of this stuff that's being talked about in this thread will be done. What will happen is that prisons will continue to be built at a rate that's too slow to keep up with increases in the numbers of convicts, and prisoners will continue to be released early. And, most prisons will continue to be run in less efficient ways because these ways maximize the possibilities for corruption.
TylerH
#43
Jul18-11, 12:17 AM
P: 737
Aside from law reform, I think we would benefit from running prisons more like businesses with all-powerful bosses. Everyone who is capable should be forced to work and, in the process, learn a marketable skill. There's a prison in my state, NC, that does something similar. Everything that they need and can be grown in our area, they grow, rather than buy. There's no reason every prison couldn't produce at least what they use, if not surplus to sell.

The current method of just locking people up for x amount of years does nothing to or for people who have no reason to want to be on the outside. Teaching them a skill gives them a way to live on the outside, where before they had none.

Obviously, there are security concerns to be addressed. These could be addressed by assigning a quota, and only focusing searches on those who don't meet it (as they weren't doing on their job, so they must have been doing something). Along with increased inspection of conspicuous people, everyone would still go through metal detectors etc.
WhoWee
#44
Jul19-11, 02:11 PM
P: 1,123
Quote Quote by TylerH View Post
Aside from law reform, I think we would benefit from running prisons more like businesses with all-powerful bosses. Everyone who is capable should be forced to work and, in the process, learn a marketable skill. There's a prison in my state, NC, that does something similar. Everything that they need and can be grown in our area, they grow, rather than buy. There's no reason every prison couldn't produce at least what they use, if not surplus to sell.

The current method of just locking people up for x amount of years does nothing to or for people who have no reason to want to be on the outside. Teaching them a skill gives them a way to live on the outside, where before they had none.

Obviously, there are security concerns to be addressed. These could be addressed by assigning a quota, and only focusing searches on those who don't meet it (as they weren't doing on their job, so they must have been doing something). Along with increased inspection of conspicuous people, everyone would still go through metal detectors etc.
I don't think you can "force" active participation and assimilation into a productive activity. That's why I favor a volunteer program totally isolated from the current prison environment for non-violent prisoners.
SamRoss
#45
Aug18-11, 10:05 AM
P: 70
Quote Quote by mege View Post
While I'm not in the 'legalize drugs!' crowd, I feel that there are far too many inherently non-dangerous offenders that get locked away (but I do understand drug trade = gangs, violence, etc so it's a fine line). I think one of our major issues is that we're using jail as a purely punative measure for some with a hope of rehabilitation rather than as a 'seperation' measure to keep dangerous folks out of society.

I think there's better punative measures that can be employed - community service, humiliation rituals (breadboard corner-stands), etc.

Do rapists, murderers and child abusers need to be locked away? Absolutely. In fact, I think we're too soft in some of these cases (esspecially with child abuse)
Do small white-collar crimes, pot-smokers and jaywalkers need to be imprisioned? Likely not.

It sounds like you are part of the 'legalize drugs' crowd, and that's a good thing. You mention that drug trade = gangs, violence, etc. Well, those things would go away if drugs were legalized, just like the alcohol related gangs went away after prohibition. Keep in mind both the percentage of the population that is in jail for non-violent crimes as well as actual drug use has gone up since the war on drugs. The war on drugs is not actually designed to make America safer, it's designed to keep the prison workers union happy and to allow politicians to prove how tough they can be on "crime". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_Drugs
MarcoD
#46
Aug18-11, 04:47 PM
P: 98
Quote Quote by SamRoss View Post
It sounds like you are part of the 'legalize drugs' crowd, and that's a good thing. You mention that drug trade = gangs, violence, etc. Well, those things would go away if drugs were legalized, just like the alcohol related gangs went away after prohibition. Keep in mind both the percentage of the population that is in jail for non-violent crimes as well as actual drug use has gone up since the war on drugs. The war on drugs is not actually designed to make America safer, it's designed to keep the prison workers union happy and to allow politicians to prove how tough they can be on "crime". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_Drugs
Coming from a country which has a perceived liberal stance on drugs, I always find the US "war on drugs" rhetoric a bit of a red herring. Something which goes well with the public and translates therefor to easy political coin.

In my country, people usually try some recreational drugs in their teens and twenties and then usually give up, it is mostly a non-issue. I was always a bit dumbstruck by some German friends where smoking cannabis, or using cocaine, was perceived cool for people well in their thirties where people in the Netherlands usually give up by the time they are twenty-five.

I consider drug abuse in the US a symptom, not a cause. It takes away the arguments from what is really wrong. If you would legalize any of cannabis, cocaine, LSD, XTC, I doubt it would make a real difference. (Though sticking people in jail for recreational use I perceive as irrational.)

As a joke on our cultural divide: Here, our Dutch prime minister Rutte spending his holidays on an open-air house party a week ago.



(I should comment that recreational drug usage I think has declined. The sixties cannabis/LSD hippie period and the eighties/nineties house XTC period are over.)
turbo
#47
Aug18-11, 05:01 PM
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There is a synthetic drug floating around under the name "bath salts" and many other aliases. It has gotten a lot of coverage in this state due to hallucinations, psychosis, etc that its users experience. There was a proposal by some Democrats to criminalize this new drug which was turned down by the Republicans in power. Now, the state GOP has come up with their own proposed legislation that will make the possession of "bath salts" a felony. Just what we need - our jails are full to bursting already.
WhoWee
#48
Aug18-11, 07:05 PM
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Quote Quote by turbo View Post
There is a synthetic drug floating around under the name "bath salts" and many other aliases. It has gotten a lot of coverage in this state due to hallucinations, psychosis, etc that its users experience. There was a proposal by some Democrats to criminalize this new drug which was turned down by the Republicans in power. Now, the state GOP has come up with their own proposed legislation that will make the possession of "bath salts" a felony. Just what we need - our jails are full to bursting already.
What would you like to see them do about this specific synthetic drug?
turbo
#49
Aug18-11, 07:14 PM
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Quote Quote by WhoWee View Post
What would you like to see them do about this specific synthetic drug?
I would love to see the state acknowledge the existence of this drug, and suppress the distribution and sale of such, without making instant felons of every young person that tries it.

At some point, the "war on drugs" has to be weighed against its failures. And the failures are numerous and severe, IMO. The "war on drugs" has solidified the hold that gangs and cartels have on our society, and empowered them with more and more funding as "illegal" drugs get more expensive. Wm F Buckley Jr was well aware of this problem over 40 years ago, and his warnings went unheeded. We could use a few Buckley conservatives today.
WhoWee
#50
Aug18-11, 07:33 PM
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Quote Quote by turbo View Post
I would love to see the state acknowledge the existence of this drug, and suppress the distribution and sale of such, without making instant felons of every young person that tries it.

At some point, the "war on drugs" has to be weighed against its failures. And the failures are numerous and severe, IMO. The "war on drugs" has solidified the hold that gangs and cartels have on our society, and empowered them with more and more funding as "illegal" drugs get more expensive. Wm F Buckley Jr was well aware of this problem over 40 years ago, and his warnings went unheeded. We could use a few Buckley conservatives today.
Is the proposed legislation targeting drug users instead of drug dealers? I'm not sure how you might "suppress the distribution and sale of such" without prosecuting dealers?
turbo
#51
Aug18-11, 07:40 PM
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Quote Quote by WhoWee View Post
Is the proposed legislation targeting drug users instead of drug dealers? I'm not sure how you might "suppress the distribution and sale of such" without prosecuting dealers?
Possession = felony if the GOP plan passes. If you are private contractor and like to build jails, you might make some good bucks in Maine as long as the Tea-Partyers are in power. It's one thing to catch a dealer or a distributor with a large amount of drugs. IMO, it's quite another thing to make everybody who possesses a usable amount of any drug a felon.
WhoWee
#52
Aug18-11, 07:46 PM
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Quote Quote by turbo View Post
Possession = felony if the GOP plan passes. If you are private contractor and like to build jails, you might make some good bucks in Maine as long as the Tea-Partyers are in power. It's one thing to catch a dealer or a distributor with a large amount of drugs. IMO, it's quite another thing to make everybody who possesses a usable amount of any drug a felon.
What in the world does this have to do with the TEA Party?

What did the Democrat plan propose?
SamRoss
#53
Aug18-11, 09:27 PM
P: 70
Very apt video. It's nice to see that other countries understand that people using drugs recreationally is not going to bring down their civilization. I don't even do drugs. Nor do I drink all that often. I'm just so sickened to think that my tax dollars are being used to round up non-violent drug users and throw them in cages (not to mention subsidize apartheid in the holy land, but that's for another post). To paraphrase Bill Maher, there is a progressive element in this country but it's being strangled by a bunch of right wing lunatics. Anyway, thanks for the video and the insight.
Proton Soup
#54
Aug18-11, 09:53 PM
P: 1,070
it's interesting to see what happens in a country like Portugal that simply is too poor to support our drug enforcement model. they decriminalize drug use, channel money that would be spent on keeping people in prison to treatment, and see drug use go down.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=10080

Drug Decriminalization in Portugal:
Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies

by Glenn Greenwald

On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were "decriminalized," not "legalized." Thus, drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm. Drug trafficking continues to be prosecuted as a criminal offense.

...


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