T Nation

American Crime

Most of you have likely seen the statistics for U.S. prison populations.

What do you think about the incredibly large and expensive prisoner welfare program in America?

[quote]Heliotrope wrote:
Most of you have likely seen the statistics for U.S. prison populations.

What do you think about the incredibly large and expensive prisoner welfare program in America?

[/quote]

I havent looked at any charts for this in a while and I’m still not exactly sure what your getting at here. If you are asking about how we feel about prisoners getting welfare when they get out of prison, I dont think they should get a damn thing. Why should they get money from people who obey law (taxes)? While they are in prison why should they even get health care? Have you ever heard of “meth mouth”.

It’s a side effect from using crystal meth that causes your teeth to rot out. A big chuck of money goes towards dental care for inmates who has this. I dont think it’s fair that the government takes money from my check and gives it to some loser junkie to get his teeth fixed. Bullshit!!!

[quote]jawara wrote:
Heliotrope wrote:
Most of you have likely seen the statistics for U.S. prison populations.

What do you think about the incredibly large and expensive prisoner welfare program in America?

I havent looked at any charts for this in a while and I’m still not exactly sure what your getting at here. If you are asking about how we feel about prisoners getting welfare when they get out of prison, I dont think they should get a damn thing. Why should they get money from people who obey law (taxes)? While they are in prison why should they even get health care? Have you ever heard of “meth mouth”. It’s a side effect from using crystal meth that causes your teeth to rot out. A big chuck of money goes towards dental care for inmates who has this. I dont think it’s fair that the government takes money from my check and gives it to some loser junkie to get his teeth fixed. Bullshit!!![/quote]

I do not think it is fair to lock him up in the first place:

Orion

OK I understand that the war on drugs is a joke but I dont understand why you say we shouldnt lock these people up.

[quote]jawara wrote:
Orion

OK I understand that the war on drugs is a joke but I dont understand why you say we shouldnt lock these people up.[/quote]

Because it is their lifes that they are ruining in their double wide trailers.

To put someone into a cage because he indulges in vices you do not approve of and THEN complain that he is living there at your expense means adding insult to injury.

[quote]orion wrote:
jawara wrote:
Orion

OK I understand that the war on drugs is a joke but I dont understand why you say we shouldnt lock these people up.

Because it is their lifes that they are ruining in their double wide trailers.

To put someone into a cage because he indulges in vices you do not approve of and THEN complain that he is living there at your expense means adding insult to injury.

[/quote]

You what, I think your right. If people wanna be stupid and use drugs like that it really should be their choice. I believe in free will.However if they commit a crime against someone else they should be punished. And once again I dont think that I should have to pay for ANYTHING that they want or need while they are in jail for during said crime.

[quote]jawara wrote:
orion wrote:
jawara wrote:
Orion

OK I understand that the war on drugs is a joke but I dont understand why you say we shouldnt lock these people up.

Because it is their lifes that they are ruining in their double wide trailers.

To put someone into a cage because he indulges in vices you do not approve of and THEN complain that he is living there at your expense means adding insult to injury.

You what, I think your right. If people wanna be stupid and use drugs like that it really should be their choice. I believe in free will.However if they commit a crime against someone else they should be punished. And once again I dont think that I should have to pay for ANYTHING that they want or need while they are in jail for during said crime.
[/quote]

I absolutely agree.

Theoretically.

However at least when it comes to “crime” 80-90% of it, at least in terms of economic value are mala prohibita, not mala in se.

Meaning, the overwhelming majority that is in jail is there because the government says they did something wrong, starting with the 50% that are in there for violations of drug laws.

I have no problem with harsh conditions for murderers, rapist, pedophiles and so on, but I insist on at least semi-decent treatment for people who I think should never have gone to jail, like everyone involved in drugs, prostitution, gambling or smuggling.

It could be though, that, if we only incarcerated real criminals, the costs of some efforts in education and decent treatment would actually be negligible.

Incarceration is overused - we should only incarcerate the dangerous.

And I do think many drugs should be legalized and taxed.

The war on drugs has had the same effect that prohibition had with alcohol. It made criminals richer, more dangerous and more powerful. Governments are retarded, you can not stop people from doing what they want to. No form of government has ever succeeded in preventing the wants on people from getting to the people. If people are willing to pay for their vices, someone will find away to get them, and get rich doing it.

Drug crime is a direct result of the inflated price of drugs. I am a firm believer that the more you tell someone they can’t have something the more they want it. If only to find out why, and if it makes them feel good, well look out.

The crazy thing is the government in there think tank modes make themselves believe that if they legalize drugs everyone is going to use them and abuse them. Alcohol is a drug and a bad one, it’s legal and the world is rotating. Personally I no long do either, they just get in the way of my dreams. So my vote goes to personal FREEDOM!!

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Incarceration is overused - we should only incarcerate the dangerous.

And I do think many drugs should be legalized and taxed.[/quote]

Agreed. Although I have kind of a problem with a society condoning vice, even though the alternative is fighting a losing battle. Heart and head say different things I guess.

Heh, what do you know?

One of the few topics where we have consensus. Yet, the few politicians who actually agree with the “common sense” position are dismissed as loons.

Oh, well…

Now how many more presidential terms will it take for candidates to begin having similar views?

[quote]Majin wrote:
Now how many more presidential terms will it take for candidates to begin having similar views?[/quote]

This probably couldn’t be a presidential issue yet. This is a ground up thing. Mass civil disobedience would be better at this point.

How many Americans favor legalizing pot? When it becomes an overwhelming majority then the politicians will latch on.

The USA has 20-25% of the world’s total prison population and less than 5% of the world’s pop.

We are not that DANGEROUS of a country.

I think we need to put in more corporal punishment, and capital punishment.

Get rid of the victimless crimes, and cut jail sentences when given.

Jail sentences should also be made to be vigorous times for the inmates not jsut “waiting to get out.”

If youi’re locking someone up to rehabiliate them, then rehabilitate them, make their time difficult. Like a bootcamp.

If you’re lockign someone up to punish them, why lock them up? Just cane them. Cane them again, and execute them the third time.

Get to the point.

We dick around too much.

More imprisonment = less crime? Probably:

http://www.volokh.com/archives/archive_2008_03_02-2008_03_08.shtml#1204564945

But I still think this shows that it’s good to imprison violent people - it doesn’t show that we have avoided overusing imprisonment.

One largely immeasurable aspect of large-scale incarceration is that it probably creates more dangerous people than it reforms.

How many convicts, convicted of victimless, non-violent crimes, leave prison a decade later only to commit more serious, and this time violent, crimes? Would they have committed those crimes had they not been exposed to prison life for ten years?

My guess is that most of them would not.

I think that the smartest way to tackle our nation’s drug problem is to view it as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice issue. And adjust public policy accordingly.

Too much time and money is wasted on sealing our borders and striking at production sites abroad, when we could be pouring our resources into drug treatment and general education. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Of course the correctional officers have such a powerful lobby its hard to believe that they’ll be dissappointed by a lack of business in the future. Perhaps if we could strengthen the hospital worker’s lobby we could get rolling.

As for capital punishment? Sometimes dead is better. Although I think its actually more costly to put an inmate to death than it is to imprison him for life. After the appeals process has been exhausted at the taxpayers expense.

I think there should be a moratorium on capital punishment. I don’t think it’s an effective deterrent, plus judges and juries aren’t infallible. As a salve to the victim or their families I suppose revenge is sweet, but is that what we should base our criminal justice system on? Revenge? Of course, in the great state of California the justice system is modeled after sports. Three strikes and you’re outta here!

America has always been a redoubt against tyranny and barbarism. Though we are sometimes slow to realise our mistakes we have always corrected them.

[quote]Varqanir wrote:
One largely immeasurable aspect of large-scale incarceration is that it probably creates more dangerous people than it reforms.

How many convicts, convicted of victimless, non-violent crimes, leave prison a decade later only to commit more serious, and this time violent, crimes? Would they have committed those crimes had they not been exposed to prison life for ten years?

My guess is that most of them would not.[/quote]

I think you’re exactly correct. I think this is particularly the case with juveniles.

[quote]BostonBarrister wrote:
Varqanir wrote:
One largely immeasurable aspect of large-scale incarceration is that it probably creates more dangerous people than it reforms.

How many convicts, convicted of victimless, non-violent crimes, leave prison a decade later only to commit more serious, and this time violent, crimes? Would they have committed those crimes had they not been exposed to prison life for ten years?

My guess is that most of them would not.

I think you’re exactly correct. I think this is particularly the case with juveniles.[/quote]

Unfortunately there is a different problem in Europe where a lot of young wannabe gangsters have no respect for the law whatsoever, because we are very reluctant to imprison them.

So, while I do not think that prison is the answer we must have some way of sending a strong signal that some things are not tolerated.