Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Slime and punishment

It has been said recently that prison is no deterrent, prison IS a deterrent and others say it is too harsh- while others that it is too soft. Truth is- all of these statements are true.

Prison is no deterrent to the recidivist offender, who merely regards it as a part of life, an inconvenience suffered when caught.

Prison is a deterrent to many- thus they don't wind up going there, so they avoid the behaviors that send you inside. This is a hard one to quantify, for obvious reasons!

Prison is very harsh to a person who has lead an otherwise good life and through circumstances finds them self on the wrong side of the law. They have committed the sort of crime that you could say 'there but for the grace of God, goes I!' I have heard the stories of several like this and they do their time very hard indeed.

Prison is a walk in the park to a lowlife who has lived rough and never made any effort to move up from the bottom. They get fed, clothed, have a warm bed and get free medical attention.

My idea for prison reform are that minor and first time offenders get a short sharp shock- a relatively short sentence in a minimum type security, with hard work and spartan conditions. This is a taste of things to come.

The price goes up for each offense.

After several offenses- depending on the seriousness of the convictions, the courts with rule as to whether the individual is a confirmed recidivist. if they are, it's off to the Gulag with them.

Here they spend the rest of their days earning their potatoes & cabbage sorting the garbage of the country into recyclables.

An important factor in prison reform is that prisons should NOT be used as de facto mental institutions- as they are now. These people need treatment not punishment, although some are too dangerous to ever be allowed out, so its a specialist prison for the mentally insane needed there.

Another fact we must no forget- the role of prison is primarily to KEEP THE PUBLIC SAFE. This is done by locking criminals away from the public. Rehabilitation (yeah, right) is a side issue and the guts of the matter is that it is of a 'take a horse to water' nature.

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