The current state of the rehabilitation system as an industry that makes money by incarcerating people of all ages in this country is a serious problem and expense for our society. More people in our country are imprisoned than ever before.
First, people are given prison time for victimless crimes. Prison doesn’t rehabilitate these people. A better solution would be perhaps quick corporal punishment followed by counselling and probation without a felony conviction on the record that would prevent them from getting a good job or education.
Second, many incarcerated persons suffer from treatable mental illness that could be more inexpensively and expeditiously treated outside of the prison system.
For the violent criminal, corporal punishment followed by forced education and job placement should be considered. With strong supervision by a caring and diligent staff might be a better option.
For the truly violent, incarnation in the appropriate setting where they can get treatment and perhaps parole down the road.
For corporal punishment, punishment is rarely effective unless it is unusual. Robert Heinlein pointed out some examples eg. A drunk driver that causes an accident injuring people might be staked out on a road and then driven over. A person who kills a person for no lawful cause should be made by society to make amends, Eg to work to replace the probable future earnings of the individual. (Thank you Hammarabi and Robert A Heinlein)
A form of quick corporal punishment for major infractions is flogging. Please review Judicial Corporal punishment
True psychopaths should be appropriately diagnosed and hospitalized in a facility until they can be cured.
Our existing incarceration system is a waste of human and monetary capital. This is most true when dealing with criminal youth. It is well known that human brains aren’t fully developed until the mid 20’s. Education is the best way to deal with juvenile crime.
Our politicians either lack character or our ignorant of these facts. The truth is that corporate interests with deep pockets are contributing to our political infrastructure. This influences our politicians to use the services of these corporations. Just follow the money.
Our legislators have been creating more and more laws such that an person can innocently break a law with no criminal intent. Many laws have been created that don’t require criminal intent to be convicted of the crime. It’s now recommended by many attorneys to never speak to the police without an attorney present as you may dig your own grave.
To the folks that say a poor upbringing leads to criminal activity by their children. I have two images from my experience to share with you.
1) Jerry G: The grandson of a Federal Judge who attended, parochial high school, worked in a ski area, then worked in a chop shop before joining the US Navy and serving in Gulf War 1, becoming later a pharmacist and husband.
2) Eddie O: The grandson of an Eastern City Police chief. Violently and repeatedly stabs his best friends mother to death in her home.
Jerry G: exhibited some criminal behavior as a youth. He grew up to become a great citizen and contributor to society.
Eddie O: became an incarcerated psychopath.
An informal survey of of 10 men at a recent YMCA Indian Guide campout showed to me that 9/10 men did things in their youth they are ashamed of and would be considered misdemeanors or even felonies.
I can say with authority that even a future US Senator can make a mistake.
Time to reform our laws and treatment of lawbreakers and the politicians who make these laws. While there are no quick answers, we could certainly do a better job.
3/5/2015 – The USA DOJ report on the Ferguson Police Department
4/8/2014 National Academy report on The Growth of Incarceration in the United states
Adam Selene October 2014
Crime and Punishment by Adam Selene is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.