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Does Prison change anyone or anything? July 08, 2004 5:46 PM

I believe that people should be punished for crimes against society, but my issue is the way in which people are punished. I wonder whether there could be more effective methods to deal with crime and criminals. The psychology of a criminal is very interesting to me, and I wonder if more time or effort were spent discovering causes, perhaps crime could be abated in this manner? What do you think?  [ send green star]
 
Yes, it changes people July 08, 2004 5:57 PM

Most times for the worse, unfortunately. Not only is this tragic for the person but for their family and society as a whole.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
I was in a discussion at one point that can fall under this forum... July 08, 2004 6:01 PM

lookie here... http://www.multiverse.org/postp6825.html Here is a taste of what I wrote in the discussion... it addresses problems with the prison system... I wrote: "...there are flaws in our system which are NOT easily fixed. If we can keep [a murderer] in jail forever, that's what should be done right? But that leads to one of the problems... we can't keep people in prison forever-- most of them at least. It takes tax payer money, a lot of it, there is only so much space/ room in prisons, not to mention problems that Mike already brought up earlier. Someone being behind bars simply keeps them off the street, but what does it do to teach him/ her lessons such that when free, he/ she will not repeat the offense(s)? The prison system, time and time again fails in changing people for the better or even not change them at all. Considering cases like this one, and similar ones, and those involving pedophiles, and serial killers-- research shows that these people are "incurable" (correct me if I'm wrong; I'm not saying I'm an expert). Thus, our system of locking them away is only a short-term solution. I've heard plenty of cases where once the prisoner is released, he (usally, as opposed to she) goes and commits another crime soon, if not immediately after being set free."  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Reoffenders July 08, 2004 6:56 PM

Yes, I agree that most people are affected negatively by prison. The stigma of being an 'ex-con' or even having a so-called 'mild' conviction can affect that person's status in society for years if not the rest of their lives. I think prison breeds a criminal mind, and therefore reoffenses occur. I firmly believe people should be punished for their crimes, but with so many flaws in the system, how can it really be effective in prevention? Isn't that the goal...to teach the offender a 'lesson'? Prison was probably meant to be a deterent to people, a reason for NOT committing a crime, but when one is not afraid of going to prison, what happens then?  [ send green star]
 
 July 08, 2004 8:08 PM

Well the guy Bill in the discussion I had, argued that prison isn't made for reform. It's made to punish only, and specifically he used the word "revenge." When a family sighs in relief when the killer of their loved one, they aren't thinking "Yes! Now he will learn the errors of his ways, and be changed for the better." It's about feeling vindicated in that the criminal will be punished for his/ her crime. But then it was added how prisoners-- are they really being punished when they get 3 sqauare meals a day, tv, and recreation? Hmmm....  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
I meant that one sentence to read... July 08, 2004 8:09 PM

When a family sighs in relief when the killer of their loved one is SENTENCED, they aren't thinking "Yes! Now he will learn the errors of his ways, and be changed for the better."  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
I agree that usually it does cause change - for the worse. July 08, 2004 10:58 PM

I think we're beyond more effective methods of abating crime due to some simple but destructive degradations within society's fabric. We no longer have a strong work ethic. People, in general, are no longer willing to do the hard labor. If "it" doesn't come easy they look for another route. Many would rather do nothing than sweat to earn pay but they still want the pay. That thinking creates desperation and desperate people do desperate things. We also have come to a point where we grant tolerance far more freely than ever before. Some things are more than worthy of this long-in-coming tolerance/acceptance - other things not so much. But with creating an atmosphere of "tolerate everything for fear of offending" comes deviations from the norm. Give deviation an inch and it takes a mile, there's no setting it straight and taking it back. Once the door is open to it and it's in, it's in. Whether it's a small offense or large, people who commit crime should be removed from freely mingling with society. That old saying "if you can do the crime, you can do the time" sums up the prison systems purpose. It is to strip you of the freedom you chose to risk. It's not about rehabilitation, it never was. "Rehabilitation" put a humane mask on the system for the public. You know how they say you can't change someone they must change themselves - and they must want to change before that can happen. Being in an atmosphere of other criminals does breed a more criminal mind. Being "supported" so to speak by your peers is a powerful thing and it does not give much room for the consideration of changing one's ways and rehabilitating. As for murderers & pedophiles etc. the inner workings of their collective brain may be interesting to an extent but the outright wrongness contained therein goes on forever. These are crimes that not only breach trust but sever it entirely. It takes a rare soul who will want to invest time & money into trying to rehabilitate & have them re-enter society, and bless that soul who does but they don't have the right to ask society to trust that person among them ever again.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
I think it depends July 09, 2004 6:09 AM

on the person. Some people, who are good deep down inside, feel genuinely bad for what they've done, and even though they do get food and TV every day, they still feel as though they're being punished. Others, the rotten people, think it's funny to be in prison. It's a vacation. A few months in, and they've got more street cred. Cool! I do agree that there has got to be a better way than what they're doing now.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 July 09, 2004 11:35 AM

Good posts, miladies!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
In case you didn't have time to read the link I posted above... July 09, 2004 11:46 AM

here's another excerpt from my writing that addresses ways to "fix" the problems we have with criminals. This stuff is addressed by psychologist and sociologists and other professionals, and, of course, creative people like writers.... I wrote: "The prison system, time and time again fails in changing people for the better or even not change them at all. Considering cases like this one, and similar ones, and those involving pedophiles, and serial killers-- research shows that these people are "incurable" (correct me if I'm wrong; I'm not saying I'm an expert). Thus, our system of locking them away is only a short-term solution. I've heard plenty of cases where once the prisoner is released, he (usally, as opposed to she) goes and commits another crime soon, if not immediately after being set free. slight aside: ** Even the real world "aversion therapy" depicted and exaggerated in the movie "A Clockwork Orange" (injecting ammonia directly up someone's nose), has shown to have no long-term change in behavior (Again, correct me if I'm wrong).** I hate to sound like a pessimist, but there will always be predators. The only way to stop them would be something like... making laws for child bearing and rearing. (Yeah some kind of weird Walden Two/ Brave New World utopian future) The laws would require that you must take a written exam on child rearing/ parenting before being able to legally bear offspring. This will help ensure that every child is raised properly-- from a behavioral point of view. And then you would need adequate "watch dogs." We don't really have that now. I've heard enough cases where social workers and child protective services failed to rescue children from danger. And then how could you eliminate the effects of poverty? There is no easy solution. There's no doubt that we humans are highly complex creatures that require nourishment across a lot of variables (not just talking about food for hunger, you know) in order to turn out "normal." But then again what is the definition of normal? Perhaps in this context, merely someone who can grow up to be an adult and become a productive member of society, who for the most part is in compliance with The Law. So what happens in a theoretical utopia when there are still abherrances? (Consider the movie Gattaca (sp?)) Do we get rid of them as early as possible-- as soon as we detect the abnormality? Or what? Will our science be advanced enough to prevent any abherrances from occuring? (I doubt it.) Back to the real world... my point remains... there will always be predators. We must simply do our best to be vigilant to prevent them from reaching their prey. And if we fail to do so, we must capture them and do what we can to forever stop their unlawful predation. This of course should means improving our laws to facillitate these goals." To sum it up, I believe there are different areas where you can "attack" the problem, but it would take...  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 July 09, 2004 11:48 AM

a lot of ideals, but, unfortunately, I come to learn more and more as I get older and gain more experience and wisdom, the world is far from ideal. To actually achieve perfection or a society that can be deemed "utopian," is just not in the realm of reality. That doesn't mean we should stop trying to improve things though. I believe that "there is always room for improvement." --Jer  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Thx / invite; intro.; glad to be here; Good points :) July 09, 2004 3:41 PM

Dear Ali, et al, Good day, all. Thanx for posting! I hope you and yours are well and will continue to be. Cool group. Good lines of inquiry and questions. First, the link to this group that you sent in the invite and list in the group doesn't work when you click on it; one must cut and paste it into the browser instead. One needs only to compare European crime and punishment systems with the US to understand clearly that "we, the people" are allowing our gov't, with its injustice system, to devolve our society by manufacturing a permanent underclass by which the permanent overclass only makes ever increasing amounts of gov't welfare; feeding on taxpayers. See Finland's for example! We incarcerate 30 % of the world's prisoners, while we're only 5 % of the world's population! I've never been a prisoner, yet, could have been due to my political and social work, yet, avoided it for my for my families' sake. Pass them on STOP CHILD EXECUTIONS: Here and abroad A.I. http://www.geocities.com/alabamajuveniles/AI_petition.html CHILD EXECUTIONS: A History http://www.amnestyusa.org/abolish/juve.html Alabama juvenile Death Penalty Project http://www.geocities.com/alabamajuveniles/ Death Penalty Information Center http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/index.php American Bar Association Juvenile Justice Center http://www.abanet.org/crimjust/juvjus/home.html www.congress.org or www.fcln.org NOW w. Bill Moyers: Pol. Deck Stacked Against Poor http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/070904L.shtml Ashcroft Attempting to Silence Former FBI Translator http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/070704A.shtml FBI Delays Interviews in Fighting Terror Plot http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/070604F.shtml Nat Hentoff | Disappearing Prisoners http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/070504C.shtml Prison Chief: Rumsfeld Authorized Torture, Israelis http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/070504A.shtml Former Military Commanders, Diplomats: Bush Must Go http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/061404A.shtml Lost in Washington's Global Gulag http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/061404C.shtml All, what do you think? Lest "we" forget, if you don't exercise responsibility, its Siamese sister, freedom, will wither, as well. Sadly, now, it first needs to be exorcized before its exercised. Copy, share, as you will. Enjoy an estival eve'. I look forward.... Matutinally Yours, james m nordlund reality (aja) Disabled Greens News and discussion http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DisabledGreensNews/ , Abuse in Therapy http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/AbuseinTherapy/  [ send green star]
 
Dos It? July 09, 2004 4:02 PM

Yes and no depending on the individual. So what to do boy thats the question. I know I cant see where TV and other nice things are very punishing, or not having to work to earn at least food, or pay restitution, but Im not too knowladgable on prison life. We always thought a good punishment would be mandatory telemarketing, ha, ha. You have me thinking though and thats good, good job and it hurts to think, how about mandatory thinking as a punishment. Oh gaad, I will stop, the old brain is whizzing. Nan  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
In response to Jerico's post of 7/9 (a.m.) July 09, 2004 5:06 PM

Ah, but one could take an exam and pass beautifully.. once that unique personality of a child enters into it that exam could mean little or nothing. Sometimes it's just the "wiring" of a person to be what they become and has little or nothing to do with their upbringing. I can teach right and wrong all day long and set a living example but still my child could choose with his free-will to do exactly the opposite. (not at all arguing - throwing in a point on the hard task of guiding children to maturity.) There are valid statistics that a percentage of criminal behaviors can be attributed to upbringing and atmospherics but I do believe that is widely abused more often than not as an easy crutch either for legal purposes or simply for laying blame and moving forward as an adult. I agree with you there are elements of contribution we cannot eliminate. Continued interest, discussion and vigilance are key. Re: the "watch dogs" thing... I don't know that I want people to rely on social services for that. I think to the greater extent children and their welfare is the parent's responsibility but also I think neighbors and the general population should stop saying "well, that's their business" and worrying they'll be seen as nosey. To an extent because these children do/will have an affect on the world we live in - our communities.. we must all be guardians and "watch dogs". We don't always have to approach as if we're trying to correct or look down on someone - often if approached in a manner that indicates you're there to offer a hand or a shoulder positive things happen and are appreciated. I've never seen Gattaca and I'm probably no good at discussing utopia ... but (lol) utopia is already theoretically perfect - I would think there would be no deviations from perfect (not necessarily that all would be exactly alike). But for the sake of discussion, I think if there were a deviation from perfection in utopia that indeed science would be able to quickly remedy the situation. I think science is what it is and it's not that it becomes more advanced but that man is increasingly more able to understand more of it and utilize it. Feeling that way I think my question regarding utopia would be how quickly would the tear in perfection be detected. Which kind of brings it back out of utopia and to the world in which we presently live... we detect the tears, just not quickly enough I think. Interesting!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
So much to think about July 09, 2004 5:14 PM

I don't know if I've said it before, but I live in Canada and I know that in some ways our prison systems differ from the USA. (I can't even begin to comment on other countries prison systems and hope that information about that topic would come forth soon from some knowledgable soul.) But Canada is a bit different in our laws and punishments, but not so much so that we can't relate to our neighbours to the south. When reading these posts I try to think about prison as a global 'thing' and I've wondered if there is any place on earth that has a good model to showcase to the world. A successful prototype of alternative prison techniques that could be shared and implemented elsewhere. Has anyone heard of such a place? If so, please share that info.  [ send green star]
 
small correction July 09, 2004 5:19 PM

should have read "...as an easy crutch either for legal purposes or simply for laying blame and *not* moving forward as an adult." apologies  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
So much to think about -- Canada Vrs USA July 10, 2004 4:48 AM

While we are on the topic of Canada vrs USA, my opinion is that Canada is a generally a friendlier place, like the State of Maine with one glaring exceptions. Canadian cops suck far worse than ours. The laws are more liberal but you wouldnt know this from enforcement. I see a single reason for this, because I saw the same thing in London a few years ago. There is a core repressive "Anglo" culture which is decendant of royal control, colonialism and slavery. I dont even think the royals are responsible for this, it is just a core of nazi-types that have been in power far too long. Immigration and Border guards are total and undilute slime. I went for a round trip ferry ride to Canada a few days ago, and the immigration officer was so rude I was planning to wait till we got back to America so I could threaten him. He got off in Canada so I missed this opportunity.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 July 10, 2004 10:03 AM

It really depends. I think that a lot of the time, like many of you have said, it does more harm than good. Im very strongly for "ALTERNITIVES." I had 2 people the other day! 1 was around 50 years old and commited some MORE serious crimes. Violent crimes. He/She has been in and out of the system since he/she was 14 years old. They did the rehab, skills training, therapy, community service, you name it. It was decided to put him/her back in prison. EVERYTIME we decided NOT to put him/her back in prison and try different approaches, he'd/she'd do good for 2 to 6 months and commit another crime. Now he/she has gotten violent. At the age of 50, we just arnt seeing even the slightest change for the good. The 2nd person has been in trouble since the age of 12 but he/she is an adult now but only 20 years old. We definalty decided to get him/her job training, drug and alcohol thearpy and electronic monitoring INSTEAD of jail or prison. We want to help whenever we see a glimmer of help. So may people just get sent straight to prison because we havent invested enough money to get them the help they really need. Depending on the crime, I think prison should be a last resort. People just insist on building MORE prisons. If we would put the money for all of those NEW prisons into TRUE rehabilitation, we could make a difference. Unfortunalty it wont happen anytime soon.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Jill--are you a social worker or parole officer? July 10, 2004 10:58 AM

It's great to have someone on here who can speak on experiences within the system...someone who is a part of it is the one of the best people to comment on it. Do you have any stories of success within the system? I agree that the amount of money funneled into the prison systems might be better allocated toward newer more progressive programs. Are there any types of innovative programs that you personally know about that you have seen work? It must be really sad and frustrating to try so hard to help someone live within the guidelines of our society only to see the re-offend over and over again. This is why I am interested in the psychology of the criminal mind. What makes a criminal a criminal? What makes the career criminal different from a one-time offender? Anyone have any thoughts on this? Does prison change the one-time offender for the better? Should there be more research into the different types of crimes and the people who commit them?  [ send green star]
 
Reply to post :) So much to think about Friday, 5:14 PM, better systems July 10, 2004 12:41 PM

Dear Ali, et al, Good day, all. Thanx for posting! I hope you and yours are well and will continue to be. Ah, you live up north, good for you! I live in the lower 50, myself, KS to be exact. Yes, the prison systems are much different between our 2 countries, I've heard people attempt to manipulate to get to be incarcerated up north, instead. Good lines of inquiry and questions. First, the link to this group that you sent in the second invite works; good job. To answer uyour question, one needs only to compare European crime and punishment systems with the US to understand clearly that "we, the people" are allowing our gov't, with its injustice system, to devolve our society by manufacturing a permanent underclass by which the permanent overclass only makes ever increasing amounts of gov't welfare; feeding on taxpayers. See Finland's for example! We incarcerate 30 % of the world's prisoners, while we're only 5 % of the world's population!Remember: "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, effects all indirectly." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. ~ Mahatma Gandhi, "we must be the changes we wish to see in the world." "Prison is designed to break everyone's spirit and destroy one's resolve. To do this, the authorities attempt to exploit every weakness, demolish every initiative, negate all signs of individuality, all with the idea of stamping out that spark that makes each of us human and each of us who we are." ~ Nelson Mandela "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence." ~ Albert Einstein All, what do you think? Lest "we" forget, if you don't exercise responsibility, its Siamese sister, freedom, will wither, as well. Sadly, now, it first needs to be exorcized before its exercised. Viva la evolution! Music is life's song accompanying the abundance of joy's Spring. "Painting is poetry which is seen and not heard, and poetry is a painting which is heard but not seen." ~ Leonardo da Vinci Enjoy a vernal eve' as you can. I look forward to hearing from you. Ciao, for now. Matutinally Yours, james m nordlund Disabled Greens News and discussion (own), Group home page http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DisabledGreensNews/ , Abuse in Therapy (own), Group homepage http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/AbuseinTherapy/ For those interested "of or pertaining to the morning, day: relating to or happening in the morning or in the early part of the day (formal), (Mid-16th century, from late Latin matutinalis, from Matuta, goddess of the dawn.)" reality (aja) Copy, share, as you will.  [ send green star]
 
John V. July 10, 2004 12:58 PM

Are you talking about Canadian or American Immigration/Border Guards that were so rude? Also, would you care to elaborate on why you feel they are "total and undilute slime"? Michelle [Q]Immigration and Border guards are total and undilute slime. I went for a round trip ferry ride to Canada a few days ago, and the immigration officer was so rude I was planning to wait till we got back to America so I could threaten him.{/Q]  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Easy to blame prisoners July 10, 2004 3:22 PM

Thats the easy way out to try and focus blame on them as inherently criminal as a way to try and explain habituation. If the U.S. had a rehabilitative prison system, only then could we blame them, but it doesn`t, never has, and it`s gotten progressively worse so until that time that they do adopt it, the prisoner simply cannot be blamed.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Hi Ali July 10, 2004 8:12 PM

Well to answer your questions.... Im working in several areas. Once you're in law enforcement, you kinda become a "JILL/JACK of all trades" so to speak. I cant EVER use my own name. Not because Im scared but its best for my safety and those around me. Success stories are very few right now. Thats why Im so frusterated!! This is very close to my heart and I put tons of hours, many of them on my own time, TRYING to help the system. Everytime I see someone succeeding, they quit. We had one recently that was almost done with their probation, 30 more days and decided to run. It was very sad. They flat out arnt getting what they need to rejoin the community and become successful! Like someone else said "You cant blame the prisoners." I believe for the most part. If you lock someone up for years and give them no skills, no therapy etc. and then release them, how can they become productive memebers of the community? Yes there are most certainily, people that belong in prison, and Im not excusing those who commit crimes. I just think that sending all of them to prison isnt the answer. I see people serving more time in jail for having pot or meth than the rapist do. YES there are some new programs. There are new Parole/Probabtion boards that are made up of citizens who VOLUNTEER their time, that are offering some different options . They WANT to help. They only see small crimes but they offer supervised community service, in-patient or out-patient rehab, parenting classes, skill training, and one of my MOST important things, an education. From getting a GED to going to college. The people that are sick of seeing more prisions going up and fewer success stories, are finally geting heard, but not by very many!! More communities need to take back whats theres and help each other. Ok, Im off my soap box now. I just care deeply and I get aggrivated.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
 July 10, 2004 8:15 PM

Ali, Im afraid that being a member here will upset some people or make other not want to open up. PLEASE tell me if thats true!! Any of you, please just tell me, no hard feelings!!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Hi, new to this group... July 11, 2004 9:23 AM

Hello Everyone, I am new here, I thought I'd introduce myself. My name is Christy. I've worked in a correctional facility for the past 10 years. I started out as a Corrections Officer, which is an entry level position. In 2000 I was promoted to Caseworker. I believe I have much experience to share in this group. I sometimes feel I could write a book on the subject! Which would surely be the end of my career....so for now I'm holding off. I have found my calling in life and love what I do. Being in a position to help people change their destructive habits into productive ones is an awesome responsibility, and I feel fortunate to be in such a position. I am looking forward to participating in this group. I was wondering what experiences the rest of you may have? i.e., police officer, C/O, etc.... Christy  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Jill--You are very welcome here! July 11, 2004 3:56 PM

I believe that a group should represent various opinions and to have someone so closely linked to the system and within the system is great! I don't believe that you have offended anyone in here, and in fact provided some interesting materials to discuss! I welcome you here and look forward to your input as well as any others. I hope all on here will also accept the opinions of others with tolerance and acceptance, even if they differ from their own. Diversity is an important facet of discussions.  [ send green star]
 
Christy July 11, 2004 4:00 PM

I also want to welcome your input in here, as I hope to encourage all people from all areas of the law system to come and talk here. I also hope to encourage those who may have had personal experiences with their own criminal past will come forward and share their stories too. We need to hear from those who experienced it from the inside out. Post anonymously if you need to!! My stepdad is also a correctional officer here in Canada, and although he never spent much time talking about his work, there was enough said for me to gain some insight into the system.  [ send green star]
 
Prisons... yay or nay? July 12, 2004 11:11 AM

I think the idea behind a prison is ok... depriving somebody of privelages when they are bad... basically! This is probably more effective with children... they learn that when they are naughty they don't get what they want With adults it is much more complicated... does an adult stop offending after being locked up? Re-offending is common... in my opinion prison is not a good enough deterrent... well they are full for a start... that doesn't really give me much faith in their usefulness! Like I said in a previous post I think some sort of offender programme should be started... I'm not sure how it would work but it could be a good idea to try help these people sort their lives out... learn and live a better life etc Coz lets face it... when they get outta prison, that's it, just back on their own again to go back to their life exactly how they left it!  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
Jill L. July 16, 2004 8:50 AM

regarding your post [Q]Saturday, 8:15 PM Ali, Im afraid that being a member here will upset some people or make other not want to open up. PLEASE tell me if thats true!! Any of you, please just tell me, no hard feelings!![/Q] It's not true for me! I've worked in the field of law myself and my spouse presently works in Federal law enforcement. It takes everyone's thoughts and experience. I appreciate that you're here sharing! Michelle  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 
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