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How good are prisons?

  1. Jun 26, 2005 #1
    prisons are the last resort in dealing with people that cant otherwise be dealt with in a way that is safe for society. the prison system is vary costly and i'm wondering what people's thoughts are on the usefulness of this institution if criminals reoffend or are otherwise not made safe for society after being released.

    after watching a show (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/asylums/) on the mentally ill in the prison system iv been questioning how this staple of the justice system can be considered effective and not in need of dramatic change
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 26, 2005 #2
    The Justice system does need dramatic change. Imprisonment of nonviolent offenders is a serious drain on the system. From theft to drug laws, there are more effective ways to deal with a number of 'criminals' than simply throwing them behind bars for a number of years. When people are being sent to prison for smoking marijuana or even prescribing it to people with cancer -


    -and rapists and murderers are being released, something is definitely wrong.
    A number of states have adopted a three strikes rule, which would be a good idea if it was limited to serious crimes.

    http://www.njsbf.com/njsbf/student/eagle/spring03-1.cfm [Broken]

    I don't know much about how prisons handle the mentally ill and plan to go over your link when I have more time, but if they are not able to function in society they should, of course, be kept out of it. I do think more should be done to try to rehabilitate prisoners and treat the mentally ill. The reason to look more closely at the nonviolent offenders being locked away is that the cost that could be saved by using other punitive methods would allow the system to handle the real criminals in more effective ways.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  4. Jun 26, 2005 #3


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    It doesnt need to be changed, it needs to be... investigated? But then again who knows. Who are we to say whats wrong with the system when we only get little 6 paragraph snippets from newspapers and special interest groups.

    For one, its easy to tell someone "hes recieved 50 years for stealing a hat!" and get them to hate the law but it all changes when you say "hes recieved 50 years for stealing a hat after grand theft auto and a home invasion". We need to remember that these are repeat offenses and its not exactly easy to think that th epersons going to change.
  5. Jun 27, 2005 #4
    Prisons would be much more effective if they could introduce a school system inside that will teach studies comprable to that of univeristy or collage. Most people in prisions are uneducated unemployed people.
  6. Jun 27, 2005 #5
    to watch the show instead of just read transcripts, just click on 'watch the full program on-line'

    to quote an introduction on the site
    on the over all subject of prisons i vary much agree with mapper. these people needs to be given skills that can be used productively for society after release. it doesn't do enough good to put these people back were they came from without providing the beginning for an alternative lifestyle
  7. Jun 28, 2005 #6
    While I agree that there are some people who should be treated that way, I believe others are being caught up in the system, who if an honest attempt was made to rehabilitate and treat them, could become productive members of society and not a drain on the community at a cost that can range from $15,000 to over $30,000 per prisoner per year.

    Personally, I wouldn't consider a shoplifter a danger to society. Even if that person has committed a serious crime in his/her past. The three-strikes law can place a person in jail who hasn't committed a single violent crime. People who may have committed felonies in the past, whether it be burglary or grand theft and years later are charged with shoplifting or even posessing a small amount of marijuana should not be sent to jail for life, IMHO.
    I have no problem with throwing a child rapist or murderer in jail for life without parole on the first offense - people who pose such a clear threat to society. If we don't want to see people murdered or children raped by people who have already been charged with these crimes, then the system does need to be changed, IMHO.
    When the US has the highest incarceration rate in the world,
    then system needs to be changed, IMHO.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2005
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