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Ideas to Reform the Penal System for Economic Gain

 
 
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 03:29 pm
Heres the gist: Prisoners are either skilled, in which case they could be put to work for the good of society during their period of incarceration, or unskilled, in which case they could (maybe) be rehabilitated so that they can be put to work for the good of society during and/or after their period of incarceration. There are two facets to the penile system, punishment and rehabilitation. Why do we not put those prisoners who are skilled laborers or highly educated to work in their field? It is certainly possible to do so, and their work can in part pay for their own incarceration.
Any thoughts?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,786 • Replies: 44
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Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 05:01 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Because that's slavery.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 10:18 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Zetetic11235 wrote:
There are two facets to the penile system
I'm pretty sure this isn't the word you wanted to put here... :rolleyes:

Quote:
Why do we not put those prisoners who are skilled laborers or highly educated to work in their field?
So an imprisoned physician should be allowed (let alone compelled) to practice medicine? And a scientist compelled to conduct science? Etc...

Is the prison system organized enough to economically sustain the professional activities of a diverse class of professionals from different fields? Is it capable of monitoring these convicted criminals closely enough in their skilled activities? Is it able to secure licensure and credentialling for them when necessary?

Do we want the prison system to be an economically competitive system in which its societal mandate is contaminated by capitalistic considerations?

Finally, as Didymos writes, how would we prevent our prisons from becoming slave operations?
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 11:17 pm
@Aedes,
Not slavery, but rather endentured servitude, and it is not for the entierety of their life but rather for the length of their sentence. They do not have to be endentured servents, but they choose it in breaking the law. They also get to keep any money that is in excess of the expenses incurred by their containment, however they cannot spend said money on luxuries while incarcerated but rather it is saved for them upon relase. I fail to see how this is similar to taking innocent people from their homes and forcing them to work to further thier masters for no personal gain but avioding pain of death.
The prisons are already owned by private entities capable of providing the necessary framework in which to conduct this system, it is just a matter of contracting the labor while monitoring the prisoners whith cameras and perhaps RFID chips which I would not object to placing in a felon. Then apprehension would be quite easy.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Tue 10 Jun, 2008 11:26 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Zetetic11235 wrote:
The prisons are already owned by private entities
No they are not, they are publicly owned and funded.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2008 02:44 am
@Aedes,
Quote:
No they are not, they are publicly owned and funded.


Private prison - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Unfortunately, this is a common misconception. Prisons are owned and operated by private companies in the US.

Quote:
Not slavery, but rather endentured servitude, and it is not for the entierety of their life but rather for the length of their sentence.


Indentured servitude is slavery, only slavery under certain conditions, generally concerned with the time of release from servitude.

People who are held against their will are inmates. People who are held and worked against their will are slaves.

Quote:
They do not have to be endentured servents, but they choose it in breaking the law.


If I break the law, I have not decided to go to jail. I knowingly risk jail time, but I do not want jail time.

And yes, I consider prison labor to be slavery, even when conducted by state owned institutions. The private prison system I find to be absolutely revolting - we have a system in which people make money when others go to jail.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2008 04:17 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Private prison - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Unfortunately, this is a common misconception. Prisons are owned and operated by private companies in the US.
Jeez, didn't realize it. However, there are only 99,000 prisoners in private prisons out of more than 2 million total in the country.
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2008 10:43 am
@Aedes,
They would themselfs be making money as well, it would be carefully regulated so that only a set percentage, call it a prison tax would be removed from their normal wages. It will actually ammount to a privilage, they can continue their work and recieve pay(though it will be more heavily taxed) they can choose their hours as long as they work a minimum ammount to pay off the cost of their incarceration.

I conceed to the point you made in reguards to the risk incurred as opposed to definite decision, though in the general case, most hope not to get caught but feel that they can deal with the consequences. Note that I said most and I know that I cannot prove the statement, I speak with more conviction to stimulate more discussion. Once the issue is stripped to its bare bones we can concern ourselfs with every implication of it and the quickest way is whatever gets everyones cards on the table.
Personaly, I would like to further understand your moral qualms with this system Didymos.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2008 02:04 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Quote:
Jeez, didn't realize it. However, there are only 99,000 prisoners in private prisons out of more than 2 million total in the country.


If the 2 million figure already looks monstrous, there is little consolation here.

Quote:
They would themselfs be making money as well, it would be carefully regulated so that only a set percentage, call it a prison tax would be removed from their normal wages. It will actually ammount to a privilage, they can continue their work and recieve pay(though it will be more heavily taxed) they can choose their hours as long as they work a minimum ammount to pay off the cost of their incarceration.


Under these circumstances, the work might seem to be a privilege to the inmates. However, what you suggest here is not far from reality. Inmates do have the option to work at many facilities, some in jobs such as carpentry - skilled work.

Even here I have problems. We are still allowing corporations to profit off the squalor and suffering of other human beings. Such a scheme, like our prison system today, establishes economic gains for some so long as the poorer majority continues to go to prison.

Some fat cat benefits when the poor go to prison. Those profiting on Wall Street have no concern for those suffering in prisons. Such a system promotes corruption (like the War on Drugs - a way to felonize a large portion of the nation's population). That's my problem.
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jun, 2008 04:15 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
If the 2 million figure already looks monstrous, there is little consolation here. .


.
Didymos Thomas wrote:
We are still allowing corporations to profit off the squalor and suffering of other human beings.

This seems to me just a rewording towards your ethical standpoint with little definite grounds in reality. They recieve pay, they are incarcerated because they broke a law that is worthy of incarceration in the eyes of the public. Profit is not inherently evil but indeed can drive men to do evil things. Consider that if the prisoners pay for thier prison time, law abiding citizens do not and taxes are lowered. All parties profit.


Didymos Thomas wrote:
Such a system promotes corruption (like the War on Drugs - a way to felonize a large portion of the nation's population). That's my problem.

I agree with this wholheartedly, but the fact of the matter is that this is allready inplace, my intent is simply to maximize profit of all peoples, the public through tax cuts, the private companies through increase profit and the workers with a means to income while in prison.
I do see, however, that such reforms would actually weaken the argument against the war on drugs as it eliminates the tax burden tht the public has to carry so in this sense it may be a poor policy. I consider the war on drugs to be a grave injustice and a failed one at that, drug use is at an all time high! The only thing I don't understand is why the companies dont realize that they stand to profit off of drugs (especially marijuana) commercially rather than through criminalizing and taking control of the prison systems! The corporations should be presuring politicians to legalize marijuana and step back from the war on drugs stance gradually. I think that perhaps this is happening but very gradually.

Prvatisation of the prison system has its ups and downs.I'm not so sure that any of us can say that we know what the direct consequences will be, but we most definiately will find out.
as0l0
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Jun, 2008 05:45 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Wouldn't it be better to reform the penal system so that it reduces crime?
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jun, 2008 03:18 pm
@as0l0,
Of course! Any ideas? The primary function of instating the penal institution is ment to be a preventative measure, that is why punishments are so harsh, it is not ment as retribution but rather a deterent, the problem is when the preventative measure becomes more damaging than the act i.e. the war on drugs, personal use used to mean 50 years in the carolinas, that is insanity. It damages lives of potentially productive members of society when rehabilitation is really the solution.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Jun, 2008 04:03 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Quote:
This seems to me just a rewording towards your ethical standpoint with little definite grounds in reality. They recieve pay, they are incarcerated because they broke a law that is worthy of incarceration in the eyes of the public. Profit is not inherently evil but indeed can drive men to do evil things. Consider that if the prisoners pay for thier prison time, law abiding citizens do not and taxes are lowered. All parties profit.


I sympathize with your intentions, really. But there are several problems.

First, there is the matter of 'worthy incarceration'. The marijuana laws are a great example. Americans, by a vast majority, do not think marijuana is a dangerous drug and oppose current laws against marijuana. Still, thousands of Americans are arrested, jailed and sent to prison every year for violating those marijuana laws, laws which are unjust in the eyes of the people.

Second, we have to consider the practical implications of the system. A system in which someone profits when another goes to prison promotes the first person to encourage incarceration among his fellow man. As you say so accurately, 'Profit is not inherently evil but indeed can drive men to do evil things.' In the case of private prisons, and in the case of funding addicted government agencies, this profit has driven men to do many evil things.

Third, law abiding citizens are not the only ones who pay taxes, and not all citizens outside of the prison system are law abiding.

Wall Street profits, and bureaucrats who want more money in their department coffers profit.

Quote:
I agree with this wholheartedly, but the fact of the matter is that this is allready inplace, my intent is simply to maximize profit of all peoples, the public through tax cuts, the private companies through increase profit and the workers with a means to income while in prison.


Right, corruption already exists. And I have a problem with profiteering from corruption, and certainly cannot support measures which would gladly allow more profiteering from the corruption already in place.

Also, I see the whole of the private prison system to be corruption. These companies make money by keeping people in cages, and make more money when more people get put into cages, regardless of the offense.

Quote:
I do see, however, that such reforms would actually weaken the argument against the war on drugs as it eliminates the tax burden tht the public has to carry so in this sense it may be a poor policy. I consider the war on drugs to be a grave injustice and a failed one at that, drug use is at an all time high!


The war on drugs is a terrible joke. Yes, use is at an all time high (heheh), but drugs are also pervasive in prison. Talk to people who have been there and they will tell you access to drugs is in no way hampered by being in prison.

Quote:
The only thing I don't understand is why the companies dont realize that they stand to profit off of drugs (especially marijuana) commercially rather than through criminalizing and taking control of the prison systems! The corporations should be presuring politicians to legalize marijuana and step back from the war on drugs stance gradually. I think that perhaps this is happening but very gradually.


You would think so. The real problem is the drug companies. Legalizing marijuana would significantly reduce the need for many expensive drugs. Consider if the drug companies lost their revenues from nausea medication (especially those super expensive chemo-therapy drugs). Marijuana is so versatile and so harmless that the plant would eradicate much of our drug company's revenues.
Also, hemp produces four times the amount of paper from one acre than timber. Suddenly, all of that property bought up by lumber companies loses a great deal of value.

But mostly, it's big pharma. When you start to look at the ex-pharma executives now in government, the story isn't hard to find.

Quote:
Prvatisation of the prison system has its ups and downs.I'm not so sure that any of us can say that we know what the direct consequences will be, but we most definiately will find out.


Sure we do. Massive corruption, huge profit margins for the elite, squalor and suffering for the poor. It's the ancient tale of power abusing the powerless.

The penile system will never reduce crime. If we want to reduce crime, we have to first reconsider our legislation (like the war on drugs), and most importantly, address the causes of crime - poverty. We had a war on pverty in the US, but somehow politicians forgot about it and instead spent time with the war on drugs.

Why you ask?

Because the war on drugs is indefinitely fundable - we can spend and spend forever, and bureaucrats love that. Also, by felonizing large swaths of the population, politicians can target certain demographics in order to positively influence elections. Remember - Nixon passes his drug laws to punish the anti-Nixon hippies and HS Thompson types.
0 Replies
 
as0l0
 
  1  
Reply Sat 14 Jun, 2008 12:07 am
@Zetetic11235,
Zetetic11235 wrote:
Of course! Any ideas?


Death to anyone who commits certain types of crime? Would also help with our population problem.

A society that doesn't place ultimate worth on money/wealth?
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2008 06:32 pm
@as0l0,
Quote:
Death to anyone who commits certain types of crime? Would also help with our population problem.


Is the death penalty a real solution? Sure, fear is damn well effective in the short run, but once he who is feared is gone....
as0l0
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2008 06:51 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Is the death penalty a real solution? Sure, fear is damn well effective in the short run, but once he who is feared is gone....


I'm not so sure that fear would get then job done. Most people don't work well on a basis of fear, so perhaps it wouldn't be a deterrent for future offenders. I'm fairly certain though, that it would be an effective deterrent for repeat offenders. I think it should be fairly widespread. Murder = Death, Rape = Death, Child Porn = Death, Drug Dealing over x amount = Death and so on.

Still, I'd rather have a society where there were no jails, no death penalty and crime was extremely rare.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Jun, 2008 03:48 pm
@as0l0,
Fear can be a great tool. Machiavelli outlined that doctrine.

Quote:
I'm fairly certain though, that it would be an effective deterrent for repeat offenders. I think it should be fairly widespread. Murder = Death, Rape = Death, Child Porn = Death, Drug Dealing over x amount = Death and so on.


And why would this work, other than from fear?
Zetetic11235
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Jun, 2008 07:01 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
You are correct, D.T., the american legal system needs a serious overhaul before we can put in place any incentive to incarcerate citizens such as the profits incurred by my suggested reformation. The laws in this country are ideologically self contradictory and ineffective, even harmful. Furthermore, the prison system can make a man into a monster under the right circumstances and a single innocent man thrown into prison is too many. The system exacerbates many of the problems it was constructed to prevent.

There are a great many laws that have built up due to economic and political benefit. William Randall Hurst quashed the hemp industry so that he could profit from his vast lumber yards, and created anti smoking propaganda to do so. How many possesion laws were made with racial bias? Its insanity, there is not one fact behind these laws that can supply them with a real moral base, only fear of the consequences they bring.

It is not the place of government to mother its citizens. Seat Belt laws=political funding, drug laws=control of the people, political band aids, countless corruptions. Any law which constricts personal freedom by disallowing personal responsibility and choice is a fascist one. I can understand a fine for personal use in public or possesion in public, but nothing more, not even a forced rehabililitation, it is up to the people who use to seek rehabilitation if they feel that they need it.

Now, dealers of large quantities of certain drugs should be arrested. I think that the system should be gradiated at this level basing it scientifically as far a danger of personal use compared to alcohol, the only legal recreational drug. Weed, would have almost not time or be legalised as it is actually less potentially dangerous than alcohol. OCs and hard pills, pain killers ect would be prosecuted much more harshly.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Jun, 2008 08:17 pm
@Zetetic11235,
Zetetic, I agree with almost everything you write in the above post. You see how private economic interests corrupt our public system. And you also see how politicians corrupt that public system.

Quote:
Now, dealers of large quantities of certain drugs should be arrested.


Why? We do not harass the Busch family, nor the various owners of other alcohol companies. And their products kill many times more people than the products of all illicit drug dealers combined.

I do not sympathize with the people making money trafficking large amounts of dangerous drugs - they are unapologetic villains who make their profit exploiting the poor. But these crimes are no different than the leaders of legal cartels like Wal-Mart and McDonald's. The later are probably more destructive.

Quote:
I think that the system should be gradiated at this level basing it scientifically as far a danger of personal use compared to alcohol, the only legal recreational drug. Weed, would have almost not time or be legalised as it is actually less potentially dangerous than alcohol. OCs and hard pills, pain killers ect would be prosecuted much more harshly.


First, alcohol is not the only legal recreational drug. Caffeine is terribly popular and is closely linked to cancer. Under the kitchen sink, in cupboards and medicine cabinets, on spice racks, too, you can find many mind altering, dangerous drugs. Eat a couple tablespoons of nutmeg and call me when you come down.

Alcohol is the most destructive drug I am aware of - in terms of deaths per year (even when we exclude things like car wrecks and limit our numbers to purely medical destruction caused by the drug). No drug compares, not heroin or even cocaine.

Weed presents almost no danger to the user. Marijuana does contain tar and can promote bronchitis with frequent use, but that's about all. I'm not even aware of a single death resulting from marijuana overdose. Television is, I would argue, far more dangerous and addictive than marijuana.

But to the general point - it would be difficult to establish laws based upon the dangers of a given drug. Drugs influence users in remarkably different ways, but really the whole issues comes down to abuse vs responsible use.
0 Replies
 
as0l0
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Jun, 2008 10:11 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
And why would this work, other than from fear?

because they wouldn't re-offend...
 

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