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Wondering about prison sentences

  1. May 15, 2013 #1

    reenmachine

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    My knowledge of the justice system is close to none-existant.I have no criminal record and it's not something that normally interests me.Still , I was wondering about a specific aspect of prison sentences and I wanted to have some feedback on the issue.Why does the justice system , from my limited perspective , never seemed to care about how tough the life in jail will be for prisoner X compared to prisoner Y? I do not want to accept arguments such as "if you're willing to do the crime , you should be willing to do the time" or "if you don't want to suffer in prison then don't commit a crime".

    Suppose a very weak person , both physically and mentally , blue collar worker , is sent to a very tough prison for 10 years.Suppose a 250 lbs gang member that has a very heavy record of violence , is sent to a tough prison for 15 years.Suppose they are convicted for the same crime X in an extremely similar situation and the gang member gets an additionnal 5 years because of his record (very basic and naive exemple on my part).

    From that exemple , the justice is saying to the weak person: If you do X , we'll sent you to a place where you will get repeatedly raped , beaten , intimidated , possibly stabbed or killed , and we'll make sure you stay in that place for 10 years and by the way , no , we probably won't help you if you do get repeatedly raped , beaten ... etc ... even if you tell our staff , because we don't politically care all that much about the human rights in prison since the voters do not care about prisoners.

    But then the justice is saying to the gang member: If you do X , we"ll sent you to a place where you'll have to fight for your survival but where you will have some strong guys of your gang helping you deal with the power struggles.We'll sent you to a place you were prepared (and probably preparing) for and where you have a decent chance at being at the top of the population's hierarchy.

    Without downplaying the extremely cruel reality of being trapped in a prison for many , many years (and potentially life) which is imposed on all prisoners , I think there's a difference between the gravity of punishment from one prisoner to the next and the difference is quite extreme.Anybody got some thoughts on this?
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2013
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  3. May 15, 2013 #2

    Evo

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    Criminals are usually assigned to prisons, and areas within prisons, based on the nature of the crime.

    A gang member in for murder is not going to be with someone serving a light sentence for petty theft.

    County and city jails might have more issues, but that's before final sentencing. It varies widely from one area to another.
     
  4. May 15, 2013 #3

    reenmachine

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    My point was about two different type of people committing the same crime in similar circumstances , I argued that their sentences can't be compared because one will have it easier inside and the other one will live a complete nightmare.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2013
  5. May 15, 2013 #4

    Evo

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    Same crime, same punishment, same prison. We cannot afford, nor should we, to be treating separately, different socio-economic groups that commit an identical crime. We do separate for different types of crimes, I think that is sufficient.

    You can join a gang once you are in prison. I was watching a show about this. people that are imprisoned for violent crimes that have no protection, can get protection by joining a group. There was a rather sad case of a young woman who had agreed to get an old man to open his door, thinking her *friends* were just going to rob him. Once her friends got in, they beat him to death. US law can treat all participants in a crime equally, even if their roles were non-violent and non-intentional. She was sentenced to first degree murder as if she personally had beaten the man to death. She was sent to the most hard core violent crime wing of the prison. So, she had to join a group with a woman that offered protection in exchange for food, cigarettes, etc... I think the decision was wrong, the judge that did this did not care about the circumstances, the fact she had a clean record, the testimony of the actual murderers that she was not part of or even aware that anything but a theft would occur. It's the law. Lesson learned, don't commit crime, don't be with people that commit a crime. Guilt by association. Of course I've seen cases where more lenient sentences were given to ones not directly guilty, but it's up to the judge, the lawyers that cut deals (she apparently had a bad lawyer), the prosecutors.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2013
  6. May 15, 2013 #5

    reenmachine

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    Same crime , same prison , maybe.Same punishment? I highly doubt it.It's common sense that the ultimate penalty is far worst for some physically weaker inmates compared to others who remains predator behind the bars.The punishment is only "officially" equivalent.
     
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