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View Diary: Incarceration in the United States. A primer. (81 comments)

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  •  Sympathy? No. How about common sense? (7+ / 0-)

    In the end, most violent criminals will be released. Day after day they live in circumstances that do not resemble ordinary society, and couple that with the long prison sentences some advocate. What do you think that hardened criminal will be like when he's pushed out into the real world? A social butterfly?

    •  I vote for 2 Strikes and you're out, for good. (0+ / 0-)
      •  That's a nice bumper sticker, but how many more (5+ / 0-)

        prisons do you want to build?  How much would be too much money to spend on incarceration?

        No offense, but very little thought seems to go into the crime & punishment debate amongst those who are eager to lock them all up.

      •  In that scheme. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenearth, norahc, john07801, YoyogiBear

        The problems are even worse because if someone gets caught up, steals a candy bar for example, and realizes that he'll be incarcerated for life, then what will prevent him from trying to kill the witnesses?

        If you knew you were going to prison for the rest of your life, wouldn't that make you do desperate things to avoid that?

        •  Good example. It's a cartoonish proposal n/t (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greenearth, norahc, john07801, Kronos Blue
        •  Only for violent crimes... (0+ / 0-)
          •  It's still a robotic slogan. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            debedb, norahc, john07801

            Why have a criminal justice system if everyone will get the same sentence?  I thought sentencing was the job job of the judges?

            With your one-size-fits-all proposal, we could simply create a menu of crimes & penalties and let a computer determine the sentence.

            Naturally, rich people (Bush kids, for example) will be able to use their connections to avoid 2 strikes you're out life sentences, as well.

            Who's going to take care of 80 year old men (or women) who, 50 years ago, got in a 2nd fight and are in prison until they die?

            I look forward to your well thought out answer.

            •  Because, I really (0+ / 0-)

              don't care as long as the violent criminal can't harm innocent people anymore.  If you want to room and board them with your family, be my guest.  And yes, a computer could take care of violent offenders.  

              Your crack about rich people when responding to me is just ...weird.

              I don't care about old people who have committed violent offences to the point of being jailed for life.  That's their choice.  Law abiding citizens have more rights than violent criminals.  That's a novel viewpoint I know.

              I'm not in prison because I make conscious choices about my actions.  Don't you?

              •  I'm trying to clarify some things, that's all (0+ / 0-)

                So, if I understand you correctly:

                • you'd be willing to incarcerate a violent offender using your two-strikes formula, basically for life.  Let's say that someone who has been convicted of assault twice by the time they're 25 years old will live to be 75 y.o.  They will be in prison for 50 years (no judge necessary) at a cost of $20,000/year.  You're willing to spend $1,000,000 (this is probably a very conservative figure) to keep them locked up for life, no matter what sort of progress they may have made or whether or not they become infirm?  What happens to their kids?  They all get raised in an orphanage?  Maybe you'll adopt them?  Will the federal government be paying for this or will states be paying?  Are you happy with the relentless, unavoidable expense you'll incur to permanently imprison all these people, even it it means that schools, roads, and other government services get starved for funding because they have to pay to keep an old man (or woman) in jail?

                I'm not talking about you being rich.  I'm talking about wealthy people who can hire a lawyer to get them off or otherwise use their family connections to quash a conviction.  Would you agree that this probably happens on occasion now?  If so, do you think this is just?

                Of course I make my own decisions.  I'm more interested in the real-world impact of this bumper sticker policy.  Obviously money doesn't grow on trees.  How do you plan to pay for this?  How many more prisons would you build?  Do you think this is an effective use of our limited financial resources?

                I don't mean to offend you, but this reminds me of the right wingers who reflexively call for the nuking of, say, Iran.  It's as though they haven't even bothered to think what happens next (our troops and allies in the region get contaminated by radioactive fallout, no one will ever be able to use the land again to, say, retrieve the oil, etc.)  It sounds muscular but that's all.

                I agree, violent crimes are bad.  But a cookie-cutter approach to dealing with violent offenders is just lazy thinking, in my opinion.  I don't want to spend 10's of billions of dollars every single year to keep every single violent offender in prison for life.  If you want to keep this converation going, I'd definitely be interested in hearing how you'd implement this system (details).  Frankly, I think your response is purely emotional and poorly thought out.

                •  Let me clarify (0+ / 0-)

                  When I say violent crime I mean really violent, not just punching s/o.  Rape, attempted murder, that level.

                  As far as cost.  Not a problem.  Lots of empty space out west.  Work camp set up where they are made to work and produce s/o to offset costs.  Minimal health care, no niceties, basic food and shelter + good marksmen.

                  If rich people are getting away with murder then the court system + judges need an overhaul.  That doesn't mean we let the dangerous and violent loose on society when we do nail them.

                  If we let out all those low level drug dealers, drug users and the like that would be good.  

                  •  Fair enough. Thanks for your time. (0+ / 0-)

                    I still think it would need to be hashed out considerably more than we have been doing and I still think it's an attempt to simplify something that is more complicated than people give it credit for, but I have a better idea what you're talking about, anyway.

        •  In my opinion (0+ / 0-)

          this is why child molestations has turned into murders.

          Get caught for a sexual offense and go to prison forever.  Why would you leave witnesses?

          (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

          by john07801 on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 09:17:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  That's what got California into trouble (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        alizard, mariachi mama

        And CA has three-strikes and you are out.

        Along with huge prison overcrowding and budget overruns.

        Along with cuts in the rehabilitation programs that would prevent recividism.

        No thanks.

        X strikes and you are out is a very bad idea.

    •  As the diarist points out, a person sentenced to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YoyogiBear

      state prison isn't usually a social butterfly upon entry into the prison system.  One actually has to mess up pretty badly to be sentenced to state prison.  

      •  But one so sentenced (5+ / 0-)

        doesn't necessarily have nothing to begin with.

        Prison helps to insure they will have nothing when they come out: no job, no home, no furniture or clothes, no friends and, perhaps, no family. People like this are considerably more likely to break the law, no?

        If the system does nothing to help them stay out of prison the next time, what's the point?

        (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

        by john07801 on Sun Apr 08, 2007 at 08:54:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I live in the land of 3 strikes. When your (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YoyogiBear

          thoughts are posed, many people respond--well at least the inmate can't commit any crimes while they are incarcarated.  Not saying I agree--that's why the effort to require that the third strikek be for a violent felony was voted down.  Of course, California correctional facilities are fast becoming skilled nursing facilities with lots of secutiry.

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