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Major Reform for Criminal Justice System

Goshin

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Having been part of the system at one time, and seeing its inner workings, I have seen hundreds of repeat criminals go free, or get off very lightly, who should have been incaracerated. Honestly, the way in which career criminals get off with short sentences, probation, or acquittal over and over is truly nauseating to those of us who worked to put them away, where they would be no threat to honest citizens. I've seen it so many times it makes me sick to think about the damage these individuals cause when they are put back out in society again and again.

This is one of the reasons why I advocate some very serious changes in our CJ system. I have come to agree with Korimir, that our system needs to be changed from an orientation towards punishment, to an orientation towards reform. Most minor offenses should involve repayment of those harmed, and/or community service activity. If a person commits a serious felony, (and I mean the FIRST time they commit a serious felony!!) then they are incarcerated in a reform instititute, and they don't leave until there is solid evidence to believe they have truly changed and will go straight. If this takes 5 years, 10 years, 20 years or 40 years, they don't leave until they exhibit changed behaviors and attitudes. I'd then give them 5 years on probation, where they are monitored closely for signs of recidivism, before restoring to them their full rights and freedom.

Those who don't change never get out. I would also say that certain crimes still carry mandatory life-without-parole, and that the death sentence remains suitable for certain heinous crimes. No more of this smack-on-the-wrist for first-time burglars and carjackers.

This is a subject about which I am passionate, because people I care about have suffered at the hands of repeat offenders.


The devil, of course, is in the details.

I think that the FIRST time anyone commits armed robbery, burglary of a private home, carjacking (taking a car while someone is in it), attempted murder or voluntary manslaughter without mitigating circumstances, attempted rape or sexual battery, assault with a deadly weapon with no mitigating circumstances, or indeed any form of violence performed with the intent of material gain, should be placed in a reform institute under an indefinite sentence: prove yourself reformed or you never get out.

Many lesser crimes might result in <1 year in a reform institute, and/or public service, and repayment of the injured parties for damages.

While incarcerated, the convicts should perform useful work. Their privileges will be based on their productivity and the quality and quantity of their work.

They don't get out until a panel of experts is convinced that they are truly reformed and will go straight. Even then, they spend 5 years on parole and are monitored for behaviors indicating recidivism. Parole can be revoked easily for anything worse than a traffic ticket. At the end of parole, if they're still a model citizen, they get their full rights and freedom restored.

As to the details of exactly how you go about reforming criminals, and making sure they are really reformed, I admit that my knowlege of that field is too limited to make specific recommendations. I would have to defer to those who are expert in those fields. I'd be intrested in other posters' thoughts.

Some crimes, IMO, should remain either life-without-parole, or in some cases capital punishment. 1st Degree murder without mitigating circumstances; sexual molestation of a child under 13; forcible rape of anyone, in most cases; murder or manslaughter occurring in the course of a robbery or burglary or other crime-of-gain; possibly some others.

Furthermore, if you are ever incarcerated in a reform institute; are judged reformed and allowed out on parole, and/or complete parole... and EVER commit a second serious felony for which the sentence could be "indefinite", then that's either life-without-parole or the death penalty. Three strikes is too many, your second serious felony should certainly be your last.


Now, along with this I support full legalization of marijuana, including the production/supply chain; decriminalization of use and simple possession of all other drugs; along with a nationwide standard on the right to self-defense and to carry weapons in all non-secure places, including castle law and no duty to retreat (see Florida's laws on this, for the most part).

This is part of an overall package to reduce crime, especially repeat-offender crime.
1. Quit filling up prisons and jails with petty criminals and drug users.
2. Stop letting people who commit serious felonies off with a wrist-slap; put them away the FIRST time.
3. Give those who will reform a second chance; do NOT let anyone out who does not exhibit strong evidence of reformation.
4. Monitor parole-ees better than is currently done, and put them back in the instant they break any condition of their parole.
5. Restore full rights to those who are reformed and who have completed their parole acceptibly. If they're "Safe" to be out among the citizenry, then they should be "safe" to have all their rights restored. If they can't be trusted with full rights, they should not be out at all.
6. Make it easier for all US citizens to protect themselves and their families. Some states practically make this impossible.


Thoughts?
 

MaggieD

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Having been part of the system at one time, and seeing its inner workings, I have seen hundreds of repeat criminals go free, or get off very lightly, who should have been incaracerated. Honestly, the way in which career criminals get off with short sentences, probation, or acquittal over and over is truly nauseating to those of us who worked to put them away, where they would be no threat to honest citizens. I've seen it so many times it makes me sick to think about the damage these individuals cause when they are put back out in society again and again.

This is one of the reasons why I advocate some very serious changes in our CJ system. I have come to agree with Korimir, that our system needs to be changed from an orientation towards punishment, to an orientation towards reform. Most minor offenses should involve repayment of those harmed, and/or community service activity. If a person commits a serious felony, (and I mean the FIRST time they commit a serious felony!!) then they are incarcerated in a reform instititute, and they don't leave until there is solid evidence to believe they have truly changed and will go straight. If this takes 5 years, 10 years, 20 years or 40 years, they don't leave until they exhibit changed behaviors and attitudes. I'd then give them 5 years on probation, where they are monitored closely for signs of recidivism, before restoring to them their full rights and freedom.

Those who don't change never get out. I would also say that certain crimes still carry mandatory life-without-parole, and that the death sentence remains suitable for certain heinous crimes. No more of this smack-on-the-wrist for first-time burglars and carjackers.

This is a subject about which I am passionate, because people I care about have suffered at the hands of repeat offenders.


The devil, of course, is in the details.

I think that the FIRST time anyone commits armed robbery, burglary of a private home, carjacking (taking a car while someone is in it), attempted murder or voluntary manslaughter without mitigating circumstances, attempted rape or sexual battery, assault with a deadly weapon with no mitigating circumstances, or indeed any form of violence performed with the intent of material gain, should be placed in a reform institute under an indefinite sentence: prove yourself reformed or you never get out.

Many lesser crimes might result in <1 year in a reform institute, and/or public service, and repayment of the injured parties for damages.

While incarcerated, the convicts should perform useful work. Their privileges will be based on their productivity and the quality and quantity of their work.

They don't get out until a panel of experts is convinced that they are truly reformed and will go straight. Even then, they spend 5 years on parole and are monitored for behaviors indicating recidivism. Parole can be revoked easily for anything worse than a traffic ticket. At the end of parole, if they're still a model citizen, they get their full rights and freedom restored.

As to the details of exactly how you go about reforming criminals, and making sure they are really reformed, I admit that my knowlege of that field is too limited to make specific recommendations. I would have to defer to those who are expert in those fields. I'd be intrested in other posters' thoughts.

Some crimes, IMO, should remain either life-without-parole, or in some cases capital punishment. 1st Degree murder without mitigating circumstances; sexual molestation of a child under 13; forcible rape of anyone, in most cases; murder or manslaughter occurring in the course of a robbery or burglary or other crime-of-gain; possibly some others.

Furthermore, if you are ever incarcerated in a reform institute; are judged reformed and allowed out on parole, and/or complete parole... and EVER commit a second serious felony for which the sentence could be "indefinite", then that's either life-without-parole or the death penalty. Three strikes is too many, your second serious felony should certainly be your last.


Now, along with this I support full legalization of marijuana, including the production/supply chain; decriminalization of use and simple possession of all other drugs; along with a nationwide standard on the right to self-defense and to carry weapons in all non-secure places, including castle law and no duty to retreat (see Florida's laws on this, for the most part).

This is part of an overall package to reduce crime, especially repeat-offender crime.
1. Quit filling up prisons and jails with petty criminals and drug users.
2. Stop letting people who commit serious felonies off with a wrist-slap; put them away the FIRST time.
3. Give those who will reform a second chance; do NOT let anyone out who does not exhibit strong evidence of reformation.
4. Monitor parole-ees better than is currently done, and put them back in the instant they break any condition of their parole.
5. Restore full rights to those who are reformed and who have completed their parole acceptibly. If they're "Safe" to be out among the citizenry, then they should be "safe" to have all their rights restored. If they can't be trusted with full rights, they should not be out at all.
6. Make it easier for all US citizens to protect themselves and their families. Some states practically make this impossible.


Thoughts?
Reading your overall post, Draco comes to mind. ;-)

I think focusing on punishment rather than rehabilitation is the reason our justice system draws so much criticism. Until we as a society are willing to devote enough resources to actually reforming/rehabilitating offenders, we'll continue banging our heads against a stone wall 'til the cows come home.

There's not one animal in the world that can be successfully 'trained' (read 'reformed' here) using punishment. There are sociopaths and psychopaths among us who will never be able to be productive members of society. We need to be willing to incarcerate those people for the rest of their lives, if necessary, to protect the rest of us.

But the vast majority of offenders are NOT sociopathic or psychopathic. They would benefit from solid efforts to rehabilitate them and reintegrate them back into society...where they'd stand every chance of staying productive members of society.

Prisons are horrible places where inmates are coerced, bullied, raped, beaten, and otherwise "ruined" by a prison population allowed to run wild. Our society doesn't do enough to ensure that the prisons we send offenders to are safe places. We just don't give a damn.

Then, after they've served their time, even if they do have the best intentions of, "Hell!!! I'm NEVER goin' back to THAT place," they're sent right back to where they came from, can't find jobs, and are branded with a scarlet letter for the rest of their lives. WTF?

Many states have a three-strikes law. I think your suggestions are Draconian. No offense.
 

Goshin

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Reading your overall post, Draco comes to mind. ;-)

I think focusing on punishment rather than rehabilitation is the reason our justice system draws so much criticism. Until we as a society are willing to devote enough resources to actually reforming/rehabilitating offenders, we'll continue banging our heads against a stone wall 'til the cows come home.

There's not one animal in the world that can be successfully 'trained' (read 'reformed' here) using punishment. There are sociopaths and psychopaths among us who will never be able to be productive members of society. We need to be willing to incarcerate those people for the rest of their lives, if necessary, to protect the rest of us.

But the vast majority of offenders are NOT sociopathic or psychopathic. They would benefit from solid efforts to rehabilitate them and reintegrate them back into society...where they'd stand every chance of staying productive members of society.

Prisons are horrible places where inmates are coerced, bullied, raped, beaten, and otherwise "ruined" by a prison population allowed to run wild. Our society doesn't do enough to ensure that the prisons we send offenders to are safe places. We just don't give a damn.

Then, after they've served their time, even if they do have the best intentions of, "Hell!!! I'm NEVER goin' back to THAT place," they're sent right back to where they came from, can't find jobs, and are branded with a scarlet letter for the rest of their lives. WTF?
Now, up to this point, you seem to agree with me. :)

Many states have a three-strikes law. I think your suggestions are Draconian. No offense.

Could you elaborate on that?

Taking some schmuck who robs a Lil-Cricket at gunpoint, and incarcerating him in a reform institute until he exhibits changed behaviors and attitudes that convince a panel of experts that he is "reformed" (trained if you wish) and safe to be part of society again.... how is that draconian?

When you consider that any time someone attempts to commit armed robbery there is a risk of someone losing their life, regardless of the scumbag's intent. What if he accidentally pulls the trigger due to nerves and tension? What if someone decides to disarm him, and in the struggle he kills the would-be hero? What if the cops show up and he panics and takes a hostage?

I'm not talking about putting people away "indefinitely" for stealing a lawnmower out of someone's garage, or spray-painting a bridge with graffiti. I'm talking about serious felonies, things that show a lack of regard for human life, or a putting of personal gain ahead of the lives of innocents.

Why would we take someone who has exhibited such scant regard for the lives of his fellow citizens, and let him back out after a specific period of time even if there is no evidence that he has "reformed"? That is why I say let the sentence for serious felonies be "indefinite".... he can get out when he shows evidence that he's SAFE to be out. When he committed armed robbery or burglary he exhibited that he was a deadly danger to society.... he needs to earn and PROVE that he has a place in society before he is allowed to run free again.

Could you expand on your thoughts?
 
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rbowers

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i read a couple of u paragraphs then u lost me, AM sure some of your ideas r good, but not reasonable, burglary is mainly a crime that supports a habit not all the time but most...u can not throw away the key, many people live in society and do the same as people incarcerated just never been caught ,many of those people are our country leaders and in the cj system themselves yet we would look up to theses people, don't kid yourself everyone has done something criminal and got away some get caught and we want to hammer them...
I do agree certain crime deserve severe punishment and generally they get what they deserve.. we need to spend more money on getting to the root of crime that just clogs the prisons and cost too much of our money ..we can start in the schools with education,,, proper parenting and role modeling,,,policing is horrible anymore, there is no public relations it seems police are looking for anything to put a man in jail these days...simple infractions such as a traffic ticket not paid could land u in jail where one day costs more than the ticket not to mention the police time to book u and put u in jail,,,doesnt make sense... we all need to think more clearly at what we are doing to make a more logical system to educate,incarcerate and judicate responcible. our system plays a role in this at every stage of our lifes...
 

Goshin

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i read a couple of u paragraphs then u lost me, AM sure some of your ideas r good, but not reasonable, burglary is mainly a crime that supports a habit not all the time but most...u can not throw away the key, many people live in society and do the same as people incarcerated just never been caught ,many of those people are our country leaders and in the cj system themselves yet we would look up to theses people, don't kid yourself everyone has done something criminal and got away some get caught and we want to hammer them...
I do agree certain crime deserve severe punishment and generally they get what they deserve.. we need to spend more money on getting to the root of crime that just clogs the prisons and cost too much of our money ..we can start in the schools with education,,, proper parenting and role modeling,,,policing is horrible anymore, there is no public relations it seems police are looking for anything to put a man in jail these days...simple infractions such as a traffic ticket not paid could land u in jail where one day costs more than the ticket not to mention the police time to book u and put u in jail,,,doesnt make sense... we all need to think more clearly at what we are doing to make a more logical system to educate,incarcerate and judicate responcible. our system plays a role in this at every stage of our lifes...
Thank you for your reply. May I suggest that the use of punctuation and sentences, paragraphs and so forth, would make it much easier to read your posts and understand what you are presenting.

I had trouble following what you are trying to say, but I think I got the gist of it.

1. Everyone is a criminal.
---well, there is some truth in this. We have many non-sensical laws that make felonies out of technicalities, and many honest citizens have inadvertently committed felonies and never knew it, because no common sense was involved in the creation of some laws. Granted we need some reform in this area.... but I'm not talking about ALL felonies, only those that exhibit a lack of regard for innocent life, like armed robbery and burglary, attempted murder without mitigating circumstances, etc.

2. Burglary is often performed to support a habit...
--- Yes, this is true. I've seen it myself often enough. How does this excuse the burglar though?
Burglary of a private home is a very serious matter. It is a violation of one's most personal space, but moreso it is a crime that has a high risk of resulting in someone's death or serious harm. Even mild-mannered persons who would surrender their wallet to a mugger, will tend to fight when their home is intruded on. In my home state, burglarizing a home is a good way to get shot. Most burglars either carry weapons, or arm themselves from your kitchen knife stash when they get in. The level of intrustion is severe, and the risk of someone getting killed is substantial. Therefore burglarly, to me, indicates a high level of disregard for one's fellow citizens, and either a terrible ignorance or disregard of the risk of someone getting killed or seriously injured.
I therefore consider burglary to be a very serious felony, that should be treated as such.
 

MaggieD

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Now, up to this point, you seem to agree with me. [Re Maggie's post on 3 strikes] Could you elaborate on that?
:)
Oh, I like the three strikes guidelines, though less than 30 states have them....and, of course, they're all different.

some schmuck who robs a Lil-Cricket at gunpoint, and incarcerating him in a reform institute until he exhibits changed behaviors and attitudes that convince a panel of experts that he is "reformed" (trained if you wish) and safe to be part of society again.... how is that draconian?
What I don't like about your suggestions is this: ".....until he exhibits changed behaviors and atitudes that convince a panel of experts...." Who are these experts? How do they make these subjective decisions? Based on good behavior? We already do that. Based on parole hearings? "Tell 'em what they want to hear...." Sentencing guidelines need to be in place or we'll be warehousing people at the whims of bureaucratic idiots.

Why would we take someone who has exhibited such scant regard for the lives of his fellow citizens, and let him back out after a specific period of time even if there is no evidence that he has "reformed"? That is why I say let the sentence for serious felonies be "indefinite".... he can get out when he shows evidence that he's SAFE to be out. When he committed armed robbery or burglary he exhibited that he was a deadly danger to society.... he needs to earn and PROVE that he has a place in society before he is allowed to run free again.
Actually, we don't let them out after a specifi period of time....most offenders don't serve their whole sentences. They are released early at the discretion of the parole board. How's that workin' out for ya'? Know what I mean? They're making value judgements already. And, as you point out, those value judgements suck. That's why I think we need to focus on rehabilitation.
 

Goshin

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Oh, I like the three strikes guidelines, though less than 30 states have them....and, of course, they're all different.



What I don't like about your suggestions is this: ".....until he exhibits changed behaviors and atitudes that convince a panel of experts...." Who are these experts? How do they make these subjective decisions? Based on good behavior? We already do that. Based on parole hearings? "Tell 'em what they want to hear...." Sentencing guidelines need to be in place or we'll be warehousing people at the whims of bureaucratic idiots.
Very good. Like I said, the devil is in the details.

We wouldn't be warehousing people at the discretion of bureaucrats. Only those who commit serious felonies exhibiting a lack of regard for the lives and persons of their fellow citizens would be subject to "indefinite" reform sentences. I threw out a partial list.
Perhaps you refer to those who would be making the parole decisions. I agree that this is the weakest link in the idea. Probably we'd need to have an objective set of standards that had to be met, like work record, disciplinary record, extra activities or actions that result in commendation from staff, things like that.... along with review of their psychological profile. The standard would need to be high and strict, but minimize subjective judgement. I admit that I lack the necessary background to define how this would be set up, at least in any great detail; I was a cop, not a court shrink.





Actually, we don't let them out after a specifi period of time....most offenders don't serve their whole sentences. They are released early at the discretion of the parole board. How's that workin' out for ya'? Know what I mean? They're making value judgements already. And, as you point out, those value judgements suck. That's why I think we need to focus on rehabilitation.
Exactly. This is the sort of thing I'm talking about. Our current parole system sucks. People get out after a very short term or even NO time at all; the parole office doesn't monitor their activities very well at ALL; they get caught violating parole and either nothing is done or they get a little slap-on-the-wrist 90 day sentence for egregious parole violations. I've seen this crap all too often.

A re-focus on reform could help change this, but along with it we need an objective set of standards that are high and strict and do NOT allow scumbags likely-to-repeat-offend to get out, not until there is REAL and solid reason to believe they have changed. To do so simply gives all too many the opportunity to victimize another honest citizen again, and it is that trail of destruction, the carnage inflicted by career criminals on innocent people, after the criminal had been convicted of two, three or more serious felonies, that breaks my heart. Something needs to be done.

Don't let them out until there is real and solid evidence that they won't offend again, and if they do offend again let that be the last time.
 

rbowers

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Sorry about structure of my writing ,I am just a heating and cooling contractor, doing what I can....

I agree with you dont get me wrong I live in a town next to Camden N.J. a terrible crime ridden environment for anyone..like I said I agree with you, but I have seen first hand that a person can change and of course some cant the ones that cant are a different breed and ultimatley get what they deserve.

I just believe getting to the root of a mans situation can reveal what he thinks and why..

As for a burglary you are right it is a terrifying matter for anyone. the burglary I am refering to is not what i had in mind. burglary is entering someones property without permission. what you do in that property is what brings on the other charges ( theft, assault , etc.)

If a man enters you vehicle for a stereo to support a drug habit...doesnt deserve to be thrown away.. he does deserve to be incarcerated with some sort of treatment (mandatory) to ultimatly resolve the situation. If that man chooses to not participate or continue his ways then he will get what he deserves..

All I am saying is education is paramount, clogging jails with minor offences and the resources we spend to do it dont make sense..its time to change some things we do in the ststem to help all parties involved not just the angry citizen (rightfully so) some of these criminals are our children who we know as parents are suffering from other forms of social problems that led to thier behavior (ADDICTION, MOLESTATION, etc.)

I dont condone any of this behavior, but willing to divert much needed resourses in a different way..

again sorry about writing skills
 

Goshin

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Sorry about structure of my writing ,I am just a heating and cooling contractor, doing what I can....
Not a problem. I'm just a blue collar guy myself.

I agree with you dont get me wrong I live in a town next to Camden N.J. a terrible crime ridden environment for anyone..like I said I agree with you, but I have seen first hand that a person can change and of course some cant the ones that cant are a different breed and ultimatley get what they deserve.

I just believe getting to the root of a mans situation can reveal what he thinks and why..

As for a burglary you are right it is a terrifying matter for anyone. the burglary I am refering to is not what i had in mind. burglary is entering someones property without permission. what you do in that property is what brings on the other charges ( theft, assault , etc.)

If a man enters you vehicle for a stereo to support a drug habit...doesnt deserve to be thrown away.. he does deserve to be incarcerated with some sort of treatment (mandatory) to ultimatly resolve the situation. If that man chooses to not participate or continue his ways then he will get what he deserves..

All I am saying is education is paramount, clogging jails with minor offences and the resources we spend to do it dont make sense..its time to change some things we do in the ststem to help all parties involved not just the angry citizen (rightfully so) some of these criminals are our children who we know as parents are suffering from other forms of social problems that led to thier behavior (ADDICTION, MOLESTATION, etc.)

I dont condone any of this behavior, but willing to divert much needed resourses in a different way..

again sorry about writing skills
We're talking about much the same things, I think.

I don't want the prisons clogged with petty offenders either. Let them make restitution, and do community service. That's more useful that putting them in prison with hardened felons.

Changing the prison system from punishment to reform would give those offenders, who are capable of change and willing to do so, a real chance to get straight. As I said, those who DO reform would get a second chance to prove themselves worthy of being free in society.

I know what you're saying about addiction, molestation, and so on. I know it from direct experience. I know a career criminal with a record as long as my arm, including two felonies. I DO feel sorry for him, becuase I know his family and I know he had a crappy childhood, isn't intelligent at all, and is a habitual druggie who self-medicates to battle his psychological demons. That doesn't change the fact that he's done real damage to innocent people, and will continue to ruin innocent lives if he is allowed to run free. He has children... may God help them, if he helps raise them they're likely to turn out just like him.

We have to break the cycle somewhere. Education only goes so far; financial aid only goes so far. The guy I'm talking about is on gov't disability; he doesn't have to worry about obtaining the basics of life, they are provided for him. He still steals, and threatens, and generally makes life miserable for all those around him.

There's way too much of this going on, and something needs to be done.
 

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good stuff, nice chatting with you...GO EAGLES
 

Korimyr the Rat

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I'm with you on all of this. Throwing in a nationwide standard for self- and home-defense rights is just icing on the cake.

The only downside is that it's going to be expensive. The extra security for inmates, the extra monitoring for parolees... it's all going to add up quickly. But I would say in the end it is still better than having our crime rate and our incarceration rate, and if it is successful in reducing recidivism rates and crime rates in general, it may save us more money in the long run.
 

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Having been part of the system at one time, and seeing its inner workings, I have seen hundreds of repeat criminals go free, or get off very lightly, who should have been incaracerated. Honestly, the way in which career criminals get off with short sentences, probation, or acquittal over and over is truly nauseating to those of us who worked to put them away, where they would be no threat to honest citizens. I've seen it so many times it makes me sick to think about the damage these individuals cause when they are put back out in society again and again.

This is one of the reasons why I advocate some very serious changes in our CJ system. I have come to agree with Korimir, that our system needs to be changed from an orientation towards punishment, to an orientation towards reform. Most minor offenses should involve repayment of those harmed, and/or community service activity. If a person commits a serious felony, (and I mean the FIRST time they commit a serious felony!!) then they are incarcerated in a reform instititute, and they don't leave until there is solid evidence to believe they have truly changed and will go straight. If this takes 5 years, 10 years, 20 years or 40 years, they don't leave until they exhibit changed behaviors and attitudes. I'd then give them 5 years on probation, where they are monitored closely for signs of recidivism, before restoring to them their full rights and freedom.

Those who don't change never get out. I would also say that certain crimes still carry mandatory life-without-parole, and that the death sentence remains suitable for certain heinous crimes. No more of this smack-on-the-wrist for first-time burglars and carjackers.

This is a subject about which I am passionate, because people I care about have suffered at the hands of repeat offenders.


The devil, of course, is in the details.

I think that the FIRST time anyone commits armed robbery, burglary of a private home, carjacking (taking a car while someone is in it), attempted murder or voluntary manslaughter without mitigating circumstances, attempted rape or sexual battery, assault with a deadly weapon with no mitigating circumstances, or indeed any form of violence performed with the intent of material gain, should be placed in a reform institute under an indefinite sentence: prove yourself reformed or you never get out.

Many lesser crimes might result in <1 year in a reform institute, and/or public service, and repayment of the injured parties for damages.

While incarcerated, the convicts should perform useful work. Their privileges will be based on their productivity and the quality and quantity of their work.

They don't get out until a panel of experts is convinced that they are truly reformed and will go straight. Even then, they spend 5 years on parole and are monitored for behaviors indicating recidivism. Parole can be revoked easily for anything worse than a traffic ticket. At the end of parole, if they're still a model citizen, they get their full rights and freedom restored.

As to the details of exactly how you go about reforming criminals, and making sure they are really reformed, I admit that my knowlege of that field is too limited to make specific recommendations. I would have to defer to those who are expert in those fields. I'd be intrested in other posters' thoughts.

Some crimes, IMO, should remain either life-without-parole, or in some cases capital punishment. 1st Degree murder without mitigating circumstances; sexual molestation of a child under 13; forcible rape of anyone, in most cases; murder or manslaughter occurring in the course of a robbery or burglary or other crime-of-gain; possibly some others.

Furthermore, if you are ever incarcerated in a reform institute; are judged reformed and allowed out on parole, and/or complete parole... and EVER commit a second serious felony for which the sentence could be "indefinite", then that's either life-without-parole or the death penalty. Three strikes is too many, your second serious felony should certainly be your last.


Now, along with this I support full legalization of marijuana, including the production/supply chain; decriminalization of use and simple possession of all other drugs; along with a nationwide standard on the right to self-defense and to carry weapons in all non-secure places, including castle law and no duty to retreat (see Florida's laws on this, for the most part).

This is part of an overall package to reduce crime, especially repeat-offender crime.
1. Quit filling up prisons and jails with petty criminals and drug users.
2. Stop letting people who commit serious felonies off with a wrist-slap; put them away the FIRST time.
3. Give those who will reform a second chance; do NOT let anyone out who does not exhibit strong evidence of reformation.
4. Monitor parole-ees better than is currently done, and put them back in the instant they break any condition of their parole.
5. Restore full rights to those who are reformed and who have completed their parole acceptibly. If they're "Safe" to be out among the citizenry, then they should be "safe" to have all their rights restored. If they can't be trusted with full rights, they should not be out at all.
6. Make it easier for all US citizens to protect themselves and their families. Some states practically make this impossible.


Thoughts?

Things don't exist in a vacuum. While I propose a reform to the criminal justice system, it's important to understand why criminals are criminals in the first place. I think that there are a few major factors regarding as to why people commit crimes.

1) Economic reasons
Crimes pay well. For many people, they do crimes because it's the only way they can make a living. A drug dealer doesn't need a college degree to sit on a street corner and hand out plastic baggies while pocketing cash. Any woman (or even man) can put an ad out selling sexual services without being required to have any sort of education.

Basically, there are a lot of criminals who aren't criminals because they want to do crimes but rather they are criminals because their source of revenue to pay their bills have been criminalized.

But ex-convicts, especially felons, have a lot of **** going against them with regards to the job market. There are many major franchise corporations who won't accept ex-felons for even minimum wage positions. Also, landlords have full rights to not allow ex-felons to rent their property purely on the basis of them being an ex-felon.

So because of this criminals are caught in a cycle of crime not because they enjoy crime but because it is the only way they can perform a good or service in which they can get paid.

So what kind of reform to the rights of ex-convicts would you provide to give criminals the economic ability to not do crimes?

2) Educational reasons
There are studies that show that there is a high correlation between the educational level of people and the crimes they commit. Basically, there are a lot of people who aren't educated enough to know why some acts are crimes in the first place. Many criminals either don't have the intelligence or don't have the education to understand why a crime is harmful to society.

What I mean by this is that the declaration of an act to be unlawful is quite simple, but the understanding of all the reasons why such an act is unlawful can be complex, and so should be explained to people.

But we don't. Schools don't explain the reasons why assault and battery is bad, or how prostitution exploits people economically. So while a person who goes visits a prostitute is only thinking he's paying someone to give him sexual services, he may never make the leap of that to international kidnapping rings who capture teenage tourist girls to use them as sex slaves.

So what kind of reform to the educational system will you do to ensure that the citizenry is educated enough and informed enough on all crimes that will be less likely to commit them?

%5
 
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Goshin

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Things don't exist in a vacuum. While I propose a reform to the criminal justice system, it's important to understand why criminals are criminals in the first place. I think that there are a few major factors regarding as to why people commit crimes.

1) Economic reasons
Crimes pay well. For many people, they do crimes because it's the only way they can make a living. A drug dealer doesn't need a college degree to sit on a street corner and hand out plastic baggies while pocketing cash. Any woman (or even man) can put an ad out selling sexual services without being required to have any sort of education.

Basically, there are a lot of criminals who aren't criminals because they want to do crimes but rather they are criminals because their source of revenue to pay their bills have been criminalized.

But ex-convicts, especially felons, have a lot of **** going against them with regards to the job market. There are many major franchise corporations who won't accept ex-felons for even minimum wage positions. Also, landlords have full rights to not allow ex-felons to rent their property purely on the basis of them being an ex-felon.

So because of this criminals are caught in a cycle of crime not because they enjoy crime but because it is the only way they can perform a good or service in which they can get paid.

So what kind of reform to the rights of ex-convicts would you provide to give criminals the economic ability to not do crimes?

There's a problem with the economic theory of criminal activity. Actually lots of problems. While it is certain that many criminals come from a disadvantaged background, there are children of wealth and privilege who commit crimes as well. It isn't exclusively about economics.

Secondly, a large proportion of career criminals make part of their living off of government programs. Many of them are engaged in welfare fraud, or disability fraud, or have a spouse who is on welfare, disability, food stamps, etc. I have personally known many criminals whose basic needs are taken care of by the government... yet they continue to steal, rob, con, deal, and so forth. They don't HAVE to steal, in many cases. Most of the time, they aren't going to starve or be homeless if they don't steal, because they're already gaming the system for every dollar they can get out of it. They steal for the "extras": drugs, cable, fancy cellphones, bad-ass ride.... and because they have a mentality that the world owes them, not just a living, but a rich living. Many of them hurt people for similar reasons: they think the world has hurt them, so they strike out at anyone who they dislike.

There is a whole mentality involved that goes well beyond mere economics or education.

2) Educational reasons
There are studies that show that there is a high correlation between the educational level of people and the crimes they commit. Basically, there are a lot of people who aren't educated enough to know why some acts are crimes in the first place. Many criminals either don't have the intelligence or don't have the education to understand why a crime is harmful to society.

What I mean by this is that the declaration of an act to be unlawful is quite simple, but the understanding of all the reasons why such an act is unlawful can be complex, and so should be explained to people.

But we don't. Schools don't explain the reasons why assault and battery is bad, or how prostitution exploits people economically. So while a person who goes visits a prostitute is only thinking he's paying someone to give him sexual services, he may never make the leap of that to international kidnapping rings who capture teenage tourist girls to use them as sex slaves.

So what kind of reform to the educational system will you do to ensure that the citizenry is educated enough and informed enough on all crimes that will be less likely to commit them?

%5
I don't entirely disagree. Many criminals I've known were not very intelligent, and/or not very educated.
They have "civics" courses in school that are supposed to teach children about the social contract and why it is bad to break it. However, when you compare the amount of influence school has over a child's attitudes and mindset, compared to their peer-group, their family, the music they listen to, the games they play, and the movies and TV they watch, it is no wonder that the school's current efforts to infuse them with a sense of civic duty is lacking.

How to fix that lack is beyond me. I am quite sure throwing money at the problem will not suffice. I don't think a one-hour a day class on civic virtue is ever going to be able to overcome 16 hours a day of "F--- the police/screw the b----ches" rap music, peers that are anti-authority and anti-business and anti-everything, and especially if the family views law/authority/society/conventional success negatively.

It's like trying to fight a housefire with a garden hose.

As for job training or other forms of education to give them a better chance at success... those are already available for most people who really want it. There are student loans, the Pell Grant, minority college funds, and various gov't programs for job training. The problem with many criminal types is they come from a subculture that disdains education, sneers at conventional success, and glorifies criminality. I don't know how you overcome that with education, unless you actually remove the child from the environment and put him in an environment where the influences on him will be all positive, like some kind of youth camp. This would be leaving the realm of a democratic republic and entering the realm of totalitarianism, though, if done as a general thing.

As a society, we should do what we can to salvage those who are salvagable, of course. We have to bear in mind the hard reality that we're in a economic slump and our budget is 1/3rd debt, and realize that there is only so much we can afford in terms of social programs and education.... and realize that we're already spending at least 30% more than we can afford.

The "War on poverty" was declared 60 or 70 years ago, IIRC.... yet about the same percentages are still judged to be IN poverty. We spend vast sums on education, but many studies are showing that the money you spend on education rapidly reaches a point of diminishing returns.

I don't claim to have all the answers, but I do think that "addressing the root causes of crime" has its limits. The single most important root cause of crime is simple human nature, and changing that would be quite a trick.
 

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There's a problem with the economic theory of criminal activity. Actually lots of problems. While it is certain that many criminals come from a disadvantaged background, there are children of wealth and privilege who commit crimes as well. It isn't exclusively about economics.

Secondly, a large proportion of career criminals make part of their living off of government programs. Many of them are engaged in welfare fraud, or disability fraud, or have a spouse who is on welfare, disability, food stamps, etc. I have personally known many criminals whose basic needs are taken care of by the government... yet they continue to steal, rob, con, deal, and so forth. They don't HAVE to steal, in many cases. Most of the time, they aren't going to starve or be homeless if they don't steal, because they're already gaming the system for every dollar they can get out of it. They steal for the "extras": drugs, cable, fancy cellphones, bad-ass ride.... and because they have a mentality that the world owes them, not just a living, but a rich living. Many of them hurt people for similar reasons: they think the world has hurt them, so they strike out at anyone who they dislike.

There is a whole mentality involved that goes well beyond mere economics or education.



I don't entirely disagree. Many criminals I've known were not very intelligent, and/or not very educated.
They have "civics" courses in school that are supposed to teach children about the social contract and why it is bad to break it. However, when you compare the amount of influence school has over a child's attitudes and mindset, compared to their peer-group, their family, the music they listen to, the games they play, and the movies and TV they watch, it is no wonder that the school's current efforts to infuse them with a sense of civic duty is lacking.

How to fix that lack is beyond me. I am quite sure throwing money at the problem will not suffice. I don't think a one-hour a day class on civic virtue is ever going to be able to overcome 16 hours a day of "F--- the police/screw the b----ches" rap music, peers that are anti-authority and anti-business and anti-everything, and especially if the family views law/authority/society/conventional success negatively.

It's like trying to fight a housefire with a garden hose.

As for job training or other forms of education to give them a better chance at success... those are already available for most people who really want it. There are student loans, the Pell Grant, minority college funds, and various gov't programs for job training. The problem with many criminal types is they come from a subculture that disdains education, sneers at conventional success, and glorifies criminality. I don't know how you overcome that with education, unless you actually remove the child from the environment and put him in an environment where the influences on him will be all positive, like some kind of youth camp. This would be leaving the realm of a democratic republic and entering the realm of totalitarianism, though, if done as a general thing.

As a society, we should do what we can to salvage those who are salvagable, of course. We have to bear in mind the hard reality that we're in a economic slump and our budget is 1/3rd debt, and realize that there is only so much we can afford in terms of social programs and education.... and realize that we're already spending at least 30% more than we can afford.

The "War on poverty" was declared 60 or 70 years ago, IIRC.... yet about the same percentages are still judged to be IN poverty. We spend vast sums on education, but many studies are showing that the money you spend on education rapidly reaches a point of diminishing returns.

I don't claim to have all the answers, but I do think that "addressing the root causes of crime" has its limits. The single most important root cause of crime is simple human nature, and changing that would be quite a trick.
All the job training and education in the world won't help them if people won't hire them because they're felons.
 

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Dammit, it cut off part of my post...

I also listed 2 other reasons.

The third was age. Basically, I pointed out that just like we have those who are unintelligent and uneducated, we also have those who are unexperienced. So a 13-year-old should be judged differently from a 25-year-old who should be judged differently from a 44-year-old who should be judged differently from an 88-year-old. I wanted to know your thoughts on that.

The fourth was issues regard mental illness. I pointed out that while many poor are mentally ill, it's actually the inverse - many mentally ill are poor. This is because peoples' mental illnesses cause them to have abnormal social behavior, which they can't help. And our nation doesn't have a strong national mental health system to deal with them. So it's only natural that peoples' untreated mental illnesses will cause them to get involved with the court system at some point, and the prison system isn't designed for the mentally ill. I was wondering what kind of reform for them you'd do.
 

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Dammit, it cut off part of my post...

I also listed 2 other reasons.

The third was age. Basically, I pointed out that just like we have those who are unintelligent and uneducated, we also have those who are unexperienced. So a 13-year-old should be judged differently from a 25-year-old who should be judged differently from a 44-year-old who should be judged differently from an 88-year-old. I wanted to know your thoughts on that.

The fourth was issues regard mental illness. I pointed out that while many poor are mentally ill, it's actually the inverse - many mentally ill are poor. This is because peoples' mental illnesses cause them to have abnormal social behavior, which they can't help. And our nation doesn't have a strong national mental health system to deal with them. So it's only natural that peoples' untreated mental illnesses will cause them to get involved with the court system at some point, and the prison system isn't designed for the mentally ill. I was wondering what kind of reform for them you'd do.

Generally speaking, I don't think a 13yo should be treated like an adult criminal. There are cases where 13yo's and even younger children have done things that are so heinous that I am frankly shocked and not sure what should be done with them.... but those are the exceptions, not the rule. Yes, I believe in going easier on young offenders to some degree, but I think we often go much too easy on them today. Many career criminals begin as teenage criminals, and they recieve such light consequences for their behavior that they begin to think that they will always continue to get off lightly. Regrettably, they aren't far wrong... many of them are arrested a dozen times as an adult before they finally get a real prison sentence, and even then they often serve less than 3 years the first time.

Would I give a 13yo an "indefinite sentence" in a reform institute? Probably not, unless he did something really heinous. But they do need to experience somewhat more serious consequences than is currently the case, I think.

As to the matter of a 25yo vs a 44yo... I think we have to draw the line somewhere and say "You're an adult, you are now fully responsible for your actions." Our society blurs that line, giving partial adulthood to 18yo's and full adulthood to 21yo's. We need to make up our minds...


Mental illness. Yes, lots of criminals are mentally ill in some regard. I've dealt with lots of them. It's a shame, but it doesn't change the fact that they harm innocents and need to be held accountable for that.

If we're reforming the prison system entirely, changing it into a reform-system, then naturally the first step in reforming a criminal is to deal with his mental illness as best modern science can. Only then can we effectively work at changing his attitudes and behaviors using carrot-and-stick incentives and psychological techniques.

The caveat I'd add is that being mentally ill doesn't mean you get out of the House of Reformation any earlier... you get out when you can pass the objective set of standards that indicate you are unlikely to re-offend. If you never meet that standard, you never get out.

Some of the more severely mentally-ill might need to be kept in an institutional setting, perhaps for life, instead. In a sense, we're going to be changing prison into an institution of reform anyway, so this isn't as much of a complication as it might be otherwise. We already have different types of prisons for different types of offenders, different levels of security; in the new system we could have different institutions for dealing with different kinds of problems. We might have XYZ Institute for those with severe mental illness, and ABC Institute for those who issues are primarily a lack of social virtue.
 

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All the job training and education in the world won't help them if people won't hire them because they're felons.
I've been thinking about that.

If we went with the idea I'm putting forward, where you have to DEMONSTRATE reform to even get out of incarceration, then do 5 years parole where you are closely monitored and stuck back inside if you put one foot wrong.... and I figure to restore a person's full legal rights if they successfully reform and complete their parole.... I might even go so far as to be willing to EXPUNGE their criminal record, or at least seal it until/unless they re-offend. Possibly laws against discriminating against ex-cons even.

After all, if we go with my system and it is set up the way I want it set up, the serious offenders are NOT getting out at all, until they prove themselves ready to fit into society and behave. I'd want to make that as failsafe as possible; since we're talking about the worst criminals here, those who commit serious/violent felonies, I'd want to err on the side of keeping them if we have any doubts. As far as I'm concerned their sentence is life, and the burden of proving themselves worthy of society is on them. Anyone who actually gets out of an indefinite sentence should be someone who has proven themselves worthy of trust... and expunging or sealing their record, or otherwise protecting their right to the best job they can do, should be protected.

Their reform may well include job training of some kind, and if they pass all the hurdles I'd put in the way of them getting out at all, then they have to have the means to earn a living, or we're just creating another problem when we let them go.
 

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Just to be really clear about what kind of "standards of reform" I'm talking about here, I'm talking about a very strict standard.

For those who commit burglary, armed robbery, and similar crimes that show a reckless disregard for the lives and persons of their fellow citizens, you understand:

I would expect very few to get out in less than 5 years.
I would expect many to take 10 to 20 years to meet the criteria and prove themselves worthy of release.
I would expect between 20 and 50% to never get out at all, because they are incapable of genuinely changing their criminal behaviors and mindset.

As I said before, the details of this standard, and how to measure it, are somewhat beyond my ability to express in any detail. Certainly a lot of psychological evaluation would figure into it, along with work record and productivity, discipline record, progress in job training and civics education, and so forth. I can't devise the details so much, as it is not my field of expertise, but the standard would be very strict and very high, to regain the right to be free in society after committing such a serious crime.
 

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This is part of an overall package to reduce crime, especially repeat-offender crime.
1. Quit filling up prisons and jails with petty criminals and drug users.
2. Stop letting people who commit serious felonies off with a wrist-slap; put them away the FIRST time.
3. Give those who will reform a second chance; do NOT let anyone out who does not exhibit strong evidence of reformation.
4. Monitor parole-ees better than is currently done, and put them back in the instant they break any condition of their parole.
5. Restore full rights to those who are reformed and who have completed their parole acceptibly. If they're "Safe" to be out among the citizenry, then they should be "safe" to have all their rights restored. If they can't be trusted with full rights, they should not be out at all.
6. Make it easier for all US citizens to protect themselves and their families. Some states practically make this impossible.


Thoughts?

Sorry, I skipped to the bottom. What you have ^^^^^ sounds right to me.
I don't know if you addressed pedophiles. I really don't know what to do about them because they can't be rehabilitated. I guess I'd like them locked up for life at any cost.
 

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I don't know if you addressed pedophiles. I really don't know what to do about them because they can't be rehabilitated. I guess I'd like them locked up for life at any cost.
I know what kind of damage they do to children. Put two bullets in them and call it a day.
 

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I don't know if you addressed pedophiles. I really don't know what to do about them because they can't be rehabilitated. I guess I'd like them locked up for life at any cost.
They can be rehabilitated, I've seen it happen.

As for Goshin's ideas, I think they're great, and would go a long way to solving many problems.
 

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Having been part of the system at one time, and seeing its inner workings, I have seen hundreds of repeat criminals go free, or get off very lightly, who should have been incaracerated. Honestly, the way in which career criminals get off with short sentences, probation, or acquittal over and over is truly nauseating to those of us who worked to put them away, where they would be no threat to honest citizens. I've seen it so many times it makes me sick to think about the damage these individuals cause when they are put back out in society again and again.

This is one of the reasons why I advocate some very serious changes in our CJ system. I have come to agree with Korimir, that our system needs to be changed from an orientation towards punishment, to an orientation towards reform.
If a child's room has a tv, toys, computer, phone and many other things, would it make sense to send that child to his room as a punishment in the even that child does something wrong? I think most people would laugh their ass off on the idea of a child being sent to their room as a form of punishment when that child has a computer,video games, tv, phone and other luxuries. Yet somehow many of the inmates have many of the same luxuries they did outside of prison and the worst thing to fear about prison is getting stabbed and or butt rapped and act as though this is some sort of punishment. We should first make the punishment a actual punishment before trying to throw away one of the main reasons to send someone to prison..
 

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If a child's room has a tv, toys, computer, phone and many other things, would it make sense to send that child to his room as a punishment in the even that child does something wrong? I think most people would laugh their ass off on the idea of a child being sent to their room as a form of punishment when that child has a computer,video games, tv, phone and other luxuries. Yet somehow many of the inmates have many of the same luxuries they did outside of prison and the worst thing to fear about prison is getting stabbed and or butt rapped and act as though this is some sort of punishment. We should first make the punishment a actual punishment before trying to throw away one of the main reasons to send someone to prison..

I felt that way for a long time too, James. It is still my emotional reaction to criminals. And I'm not talking about coddling them and giving them everything for nothing. As I said in one post, privileges would be tied to work productivity and lack of disciplinary problems.

Reform-orientation doesn't mean they have it easy. It means that if they EVER EVER want to get out of prison, they're going to have to work their butt off; come to grips with their inner demons and wrestle their bad attitudes and behaviors into submission with the help of staff; CHANGE their ways and DEMONSTRATE those changes under rigorous standards and conditions. It ain't gonna be no picnic, and those who won't make an effort and won't work hard and behave themselves can sit in a bare cell for the rest of their life if that's what they choose to do.

The point is twofold:
1. No more letting out unreformed criminals, like we do today after a set number of years.
2. Those who DO get out have learened a viable job skill, learned how to work and behave, and demonstrated real reform before they get out... then once out they have to be a model citizen for five years more before they are really free.... and if they ever offend again they're done, they get life.


If we're going to go with punishment-as-deterrent for our whole purpose, then we'd need to bring back the whipping post, branding, and hand-chopping, because prison as a deterrent apparently isn't working very well at all. At least not the way we do it today...
 
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I felt that way for a long time too, James. It is still my emotional reaction to criminals. And I'm not talking about coddling them and giving them everything for nothing. As I said in one post, privileges would be tied to work productivity and lack of disciplinary problems.

Reform-orientation doesn't mean they have it easy. It means that if they EVER EVER want to get out of prison, they're going to have to work their butt off; come to grips with their inner demons and wrestle their bad attitudes and behaviors into submission with the help of staff; CHANGE their ways and DEMONSTRATE those changes under rigorous standards and conditions. It ain't gonna be no picnic, and those who won't make an effort and won't work hard and behave themselves can sit in a bare cell for the rest of their life if that's what they choose to do.

The point is twofold:
1. No more letting out unreformed criminals, like we do today after a set number of years.
2. Those who DO get out have learened a viable job skill, learned how to work and behave, and demonstrated real reform before they get out... then once out they have to be a model citizen for five years more before they are really free.... and if they ever offend again they're done, they get life.

Prison should should be about reform but the punishment aspect should be the primary reason for sending someone to prison. Because not focusing on the punishment reason for sending to prison it is how inmates have tv, libraries, weight rooms, air conditioning, prison sex, video games in some states, tax payer funded hormone pills so inmates can look like ugly women, cigarettes, magazines, free education and many other luxuries they would have on the outside of prison.

I remember a year or two ago I asked the poll question "Should criminals be released(no prison)if rehabilitation came in the form of a pill?" and I was surprised by how many people voted that they should be released immediately after taking the pill. Does that many people really have no regard for the victims what so ever?



If we're going to go with punishment-as-deterrent for our whole purpose, then we'd need to bring back the whipping post, branding, and hand-chopping,because prison as a deterrent apparently isn't working very well at all. At least not the way we do it today...
And that would have to do with the fact inmates practically have the same luxuries they did on the outside. Which is why I asked the question would you a send a child to his room as punishment if he has a tv, video games, computer and other stuff in his room. How would it be a punishment sending a child to his room if he has all those things in his room that he does outside his room? Prison today is no different, about the only thing a inmate can not get in prison that he can on the outside is a gun,
 

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Prison should should be about reform but the punishment aspect should be the primary reason for sending someone to prison. Because not focusing on the punishment reason for sending to prison it is how inmates have tv, libraries, weight rooms, air conditioning, prison sex, video games in some states, tax payer funded hormone pills so inmates can look like ugly women, cigarettes, magazines, free education and many other luxuries they would have on the outside of prison.

I remember a year or two ago I asked the poll question "Should criminals be released(no prison)if rehabilitation came in the form of a pill?" and I was surprised by how many people voted that they should be released immediately after taking the pill. Does that many people really have no regard for the victims what so ever?





And that would have to do with the fact inmates practically have the same luxuries they did on the outside. Which is why I asked the question would you a send a child to his room as punishment if he has a tv, video games, computer and other stuff in his room. How would it be a punishment sending a child to his room if he has all those things in his room that he does outside his room? Prison today is no different, about the only thing a inmate can not get in prison that he can on the outside is a gun,
Like I said, James, I'm not talking about coddling them.

The standards would be very high; it would take an extraordinary person to complete all the requirements in under five years.

Privileges would be tied to behavior and work. You start off with a cell, a bunk, a sink and a toilet. You EARN privileges like TV, visitation or whatever by working, and by not creating discipline problems, and by participating in behavioral-conditioning and psyche programs in a cooperative manner. The privileges you earn can be reduced or removed at any time if you misbehave or are uncooperative. Act up too much and you're in solitary in a bare cell for a few months with no privileges at all.

Any violence or intimidation towards other inmates is dealt with harshly. Any violence towards staff is a one way ticket to life without parole in a bare cell.

If I was setting all this up, rest assured being incarcerated would not be easy or pleasant, at least not until you had worked you way up to the point where you were almost eligible for parole.

And as I said, there are some crimes like forcible rape, first-degree murder, and other heinous crimes where the sentence would still be either life without possibility of parole, or death. Anyone incarcerated in a life-without-parole institution has left "reform" behind and therefore will have it anything BUT "cushy".
 
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