HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Not only am I against the...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:31 AM

Not only am I against the dp in all cases, I'm against prisons being hell holes.

I'm against super max prisons and extreme isolation. I'm against the mentality of "throw him into general population". I'm against demeaning, dehumanizing treatment of prisoners, even those who have committed the most heinous crimes. I'm against raping the rapists.

I believe that even the most depraved murderer should be treated with basic human dignity, and that's more about us than about the incarcerated murderer or rapist.

And no, I'm not calling for plush vacationland prisons. There's a wide gulf between "hell hole" and "vacationland".

47 replies, 2334 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 47 replies Author Time Post
Reply Not only am I against the dp in all cases, I'm against prisons being hell holes. (Original post)
cali Feb 2013 OP
Scootaloo Feb 2013 #1
Democracyinkind Feb 2013 #2
Comrade Grumpy Feb 2013 #20
Democracyinkind Feb 2013 #22
Kath1 Feb 2013 #3
zeemike Feb 2013 #4
Daemonaquila Feb 2013 #10
zeemike Feb 2013 #16
bemildred Feb 2013 #5
OceanEcosystem Feb 2013 #6
Puzzledtraveller Feb 2013 #7
freedom fighter jh Feb 2013 #8
Nine Feb 2013 #9
Iggo Feb 2013 #11
helveticas Feb 2013 #12
EastKYLiberal Feb 2013 #13
cali Feb 2013 #17
Comrade Grumpy Feb 2013 #21
white_wolf Feb 2013 #23
pampango Feb 2013 #14
mzteris Feb 2013 #15
oldhippie Feb 2013 #18
Bluenorthwest Feb 2013 #19
sorefeet Feb 2013 #24
La Lioness Priyanka Feb 2013 #25
Cleita Feb 2013 #26
cali Feb 2013 #29
Cleita Feb 2013 #33
patrice Feb 2013 #27
MotherPetrie Feb 2013 #28
Comatose Sphagetti Feb 2013 #30
petronius Feb 2013 #31
Solly Mack Feb 2013 #32
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #34
white_wolf Feb 2013 #37
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #43
Comatose Sphagetti Feb 2013 #45
Demo_Chris Feb 2013 #46
aikoaiko Feb 2013 #35
white_wolf Feb 2013 #38
aikoaiko Feb 2013 #44
ZombieHorde Feb 2013 #36
markpkessinger Feb 2013 #39
Coyote_Tan Feb 2013 #40
PufPuf23 Feb 2013 #41
Auntie Bush Feb 2013 #42
donheld Feb 2013 #47

Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:31 AM

1. Seconded on all counts. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:57 AM

2. I can't remember the quote...



Something about that the greatness of Nations should be judged upon how they treat their worst criminals.

Absolutely agree. "Payback" is not justice.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Democracyinkind (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:18 PM

20. "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons."--Dostoyevsky

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #20)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:48 PM

22. I knew it was one of the great russians.. thx 4 helping out...

Who else... thx

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 06:14 AM

3. Agree 100%

The prisons in this country seem almost designed to turn a nonviolent offender into a hardened criminal.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 08:38 AM

4. Well you are out of step then

And so am I.
Much of our culture is based on retribution and vengeance...and anyone who disagrees with them are called soft on crime.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to zeemike (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 09:45 AM

10. Which is such a damned laugh...

when their barbaric methods have been shown only to perpetuate and expand criminal activity.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Daemonaquila (Reply #10)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 10:16 AM

16. But you have to admire the business plan.

If you are invested in the prison system or law enforcement....there a constant growing business is a good thing.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 08:38 AM

5. It is dumb, mean, and very expensive.That last one is why it is so popular. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 08:39 AM

6. Totally agree. n/t.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 08:41 AM

7. One of my biggest personal transformations

was swinging all the way from being ambivalent to the death penalty to being totally opposed as you say, also to include war, drones, et al.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 08:43 AM

8. It's still very much about the incarcerated, not just the society that incarcerates.

Treating people badly does not teach them to improve their behavior -- quite the opposite.

The worst criminals often have a history of being abused. In a world where the rules seem to be that others beat up on you and you have no rights, it may be only natural to treat others the same way. Decent treatment, even in prison, can show people that there is a better way. No, not a country club, just a place where more pain and suffering do not reside around every corner.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 08:49 AM

9. +1 (nt)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 09:47 AM

11. Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 09:54 AM

12. A senisble position

 

durec

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 09:59 AM

13. I'm not. Rapists and murderers should be damned to hell on earth.

 

Nonviolent criminals should get many chances and rehabilitation.

Once you harm someone, I don't give a fuck what happens to you. And neither should the rest of society.

Because there isn't one in the afterlife.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to EastKYLiberal (Reply #13)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 02:45 PM

17. why? what does that achieve? What does it achieve for the victim?

what does it achieve for society?

And as I said, it's about who we are as a society as well as being about the perpetrator.

And what does your "hell on earth" look like? Into torture are you?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to EastKYLiberal (Reply #13)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:20 PM

21. I'm glad we're not all like you.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to EastKYLiberal (Reply #13)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:03 PM

23. Sorry, the dark ages ended several centuries ago. Too bad you missed it, sounds like you'd fit in.

Your attitude is disgusting and barbaric.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 10:03 AM

14. Where the heck are you from? Sweden? Norway? "Basic human dignity"?

You obviously have not learned that we teach people to respect "basic human dignity" by taking it away if they don't.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 10:10 AM

15. It's a business now

With privatization, it became all about the profits. It's in their best interst to create hardened criminals who can't get out or become repeat customers.

Education, not in creation. Spend more on the former than the latter. Prison should be used for mental health and drug treatment, behavior modification therapy, job training skills.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:20 PM

18. They should be safe, humane accommodations where people .....

 

are treated with respect and dignity and afforded educational and cultural opportunities in accordance with their racial, ethnic and spiritual preferences. Anything less is nothing but punishment, and no one would want to go there.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:12 PM

19. I'd go with something like the Dutch system, which delivers results like this:

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:30 PM

24. I despise our prison system

The counry should be ashamed. I understand right from wrong and the need for punishment and treatment/rehab, and our system is nothing but a big FAIL. First, as many people who have been found innocent on DEATH ROW and released I can only imagine how many in regular prison/jail are innocent? Must be in the 10's of thousands out of the two plus million. Warehousing humans for profit has to be a human rights violation, it is so obviously corrupt. How many of our politicians have stock in the prison industrial complex? I have known several people in my life who have gone thru the system, have heard some bad stories. They are aware if you get in the system they don't want to let you go very easy. Some of the things are just to sad to repeat, and I'm not talking about rape, but how they let them die.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:31 PM

25. agreed

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:37 PM

26. I'm against prisons.

I think we should punish felons, whether making them pay their victims, community service and other kinds of punishment that makes their lives uncomfortable. I think dangerous felons should be incarcerated somehow, but not in a prison, maybe a mental hospital or similar institution. All of them should hold down jobs to pay for their incarceration even if it's on the grounds of a facility.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Cleita (Reply #26)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:42 PM

29. A mental hospital for dangerous felons would be a de facto prison. period.

You couldn't very well house murderers and rapists with the non-offending mentally ill. I worked for an organization that advocated for the mentally ill and part of my territory was the criminal wing of the State Hospital. It was, in effect, a prison.

And what is a "similar institution" to a mental hospital? There is no such thing.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Reply #29)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 07:00 PM

33. If that's the way it's run, but if it's run like a hospital even though

other mentally ill would not be housed with the bad guys, I think it would run the private prisons out of business. I think they are an abomination anyway.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:38 PM

27. I stand with you, cali! We MUST break this circle!!!! nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:41 PM

28. K&R

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 06:39 PM

30. It has been my observation and experience...

That the majority of those who champion harsh punishment are authoritarian, conservative, and christian.

Our penal system is a direct result of biblical 'eye-for-an-eye' bullshit.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 06:45 PM

31. Completely agree... (nt)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 06:45 PM

32. K&R

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 07:29 PM

34. Agree to an extent (personal experience)

 

I agree we basically everything you said with one exception.

I used to work in a "supermax" prison. For three years I worked in a unit divided with death row inmates on the one side and "high risk potential" disciplinary detention inmates on the others. The unit was set up this way because death row inmates, at least in that system and state, were largely maintenance and trouble free, which allowed more time to deal with those on the other side.

The HRP inmates were a special case, and one that it is important to understand.

There are a good number of people in prison who are simply evil. I understand that some would like to pretend that this is not the case, but the reality is that it is true. I do not believe that this label applies to most inmates, even many who are convicted of murder, but it is a mistake to believe that it does not exist. There are some, however, who go WAY beyond this. There are some people who are not only evil, not only violent, but absolutely brilliant (or otherwise "gifted") as well. In my state's prison system, housing many tens of thousands of inmates, we had about twenty people who fell into this category. It is these men I want to tell you about.

These are men who devote every waking hour of the day towards one thought only: they want to kill ANYONE and EVERYONE they can. They will spend days, weeks, months, watching for repeated mistakes, for any pattern they can exploit, thinking of nothing but how they can main or kill. And again, and this is critical to understand, these people were -- almost to a man -- absolutely brilliant. They are people smart enough to figure out how to turn mac and cheese into an explosive, and then figure out how to get it into the cell next to theirs. Smart enough, and patient enough, to devote months towards studying what made people tick, and how to exploit it.

These men were kept in what amounted to a steel box. Think solid door, no gaps even on the bottom. None the less, I am not exaggerating when I say that there were many officers who quit before spending even a single day in that unit. It was always very dangerous. I understand that this is hard to believe, but there it is. You simply cannot understand how LETHAL people can be until you encounter a sociopathic genius. When a smart person turns their entire mind and purpose for living to murder, heaven help you if you are anywhere in the vicinity.

These are men who MUST be kept in the closest isolation possible. If you have ever worked with them you would understand.

Understand as well that all of us assigned to work with these guys (and there were not many) did everything in our power to treat them with respect, courtesy, and as much kindness and compassion as we possibly could. Even when, as so often happened, someone on our team got creamed by one of these guys, no one EVER retaliated or treated these monsters in anything less than a professional manner. Not that I ever saw, and if I had that officer would have been gone immediately. We didn't tolerate that nonsense at all.

Anyway, YES, I agree with much of what you say. But there is an exception. For every ten or twenty thousand inmates, there is that one exception. And any plan for reform should keep that in mind.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #34)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 08:59 PM

37. Since you have some on hands experience I'd like to ask something.

Of those few exceptions that you say are truly "evil" (I don't like that term personally) I'm curious to get your opinion on something. It seems to me that our prison system often takes decent people who made bad choices and turns them into "evil" people just to survive. A single person alone will have a hard time surviving in prison so they may have to turn to a gang for protection and by the time they get out they are worse than they were to start with. I'm just curious if that's true in your experience, do you think our prison system fails at a rehabilitation aspect and if so what can we do to improve on it?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to white_wolf (Reply #37)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 09:50 PM

43. Thanks (cont)

 

"Of those few exceptions that you say are truly "evil" (I don't like that term personally) I'm curious to get your opinion on something. It seems to me that our prison system often takes decent people who made bad choices and turns them into "evil" people just to survive. A single person alone will have a hard time surviving in prison so they may have to turn to a gang for protection and by the time they get out they are worse than they were to start with. I'm just curious if that's true in your experience, do you think our prison system fails at a rehabilitation aspect and if so what can we do to improve on it? "

Without a doubt. Everything you said is accurate, and if anything it understates the case.

In my opinion the entire system is flawed -- I suspect largely because we are asking the wrong things from it. Worse, these demands are contradictory. We want "justice" (defined as confinement in a horrific dehumanizing setting), while also expecting "rehabilitation." Then when they do get out, when they are finally free from their anti-social society, we do everything we can to ensure that their reintegration back into this society is as difficult as possible. The results are predictable. It would be silly were it not so tragic.

Criminals are people who, for any number of reasons, failed to make it in our society without getting caught breaking the law. Very few are monsters who were just born bad, they all have their stories to tell, and while in many cases these stories involve bad decisions and poor choices, they are mistakes and choices many of us might have made under similar circumstances and life-experiences. I am not pardoning criminals, simply saying that things are not as black and white as some suggest.

I once took on an abused dog with severe psychological problems. This is a dog that would literally piss all over the place if anyone so much as looked at her. No exaggeration, she was that terrified. She loved people, she wanted to be around them, but she was sooo scared she couldn't help herself. It took three or four months and a lot of work (and paper towels) before she would come when called (you couldn't look at her while doing it though). She loved to be petted, but even after all those months she would panic if you looked at her while petting her. She would sneak up to cuddle, but only behind you. It took years, but by the time she died no one would have ever suspected that this was that same dog -- she was everyone's buddy.

If I went about saving the dog the way our criminal justice system deals with inmates, instead of compassion and understanding and trying to work through her problems, I would have beaten her every time she failed to perform the way a proper dog should. It would not have worked with that dog and it does not work well with people.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #34)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 11:10 PM

45. "There are a good number of people in prison who are simply evil."

There is no 'evil.'

But there is illness.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Comatose Sphagetti (Reply #45)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:29 AM

46. One label addresses cause, the other describes both cause and effect...

 

In any case, I understand your point.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 07:35 PM

35. In a cell for 23 hours, 3 hots, cot, medical,1 hr exercise, safe, & visitation is no hell hole.



I'm fine with providing these needs as a basic human dignity.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aikoaiko (Reply #35)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 09:00 PM

38. I question how safe the U.S. prison system is.

From what I've heard even guards and wardens can be in danger at times, so I highly doubt your average inmate is safe.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to white_wolf (Reply #38)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 09:53 PM

44. The supermax conditions I described are generally very safe.


Its expensive though.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 08:49 PM

36. Awesome!!!! Thank you so much!!!!

This OP is the best I have seen in a while.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 09:22 PM

39. Very eloquent statement!

And one about which I am in 100% agreement with you. It amazes me that people don't seem to grasp that, when you incarcerate someone, for any period of time, separating him/her from everything he or she cares about -- from their friends, from their family, indeed from their life -- that is already a HUGE punishment in and of itself. The idea that you have to heap additional punishment on top of that -- indeed, treating people like animals -- is simply barbaric. It serves no useful purpose (beyond satisfying a certain public sadism), and should have no place in a civilized society.

My aunt's ex-husband worked for many years as a prison guard at one of the State correctional facilities in PA. (He was also certified to teach publish school, and so taught adult education courses to the inmates in addition to his guard duties.) I remember during the '80s and '90s, when nearly all politicians of both parties were pandering to the "get tough on crime" sentiment that swept the country. At one point, there was a debate about having gymnasiums, weight-lifting equipment, etc. in prisons. Lots of people were making the argument that there should be nothing to "benefit" prisoners in any way, physically, psychologically or emotionally. But my (now former) uncle had a different take on things. He pointed out that a relatively small number of guards are charged with keeping inmates, and themselves, safe during their incarceration. He pointed out that the very LAST thing he, a as a guard, would want, is a population of prisoners, some of whom were seriously bad news, sitting around idle with nothing to occupy their time for long stretches. As he pointed out -- and I suspect he was right -- that's just creating a breeding ground for violence among inmates.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 09:24 PM

40. Good for you...

 

I think prison should be hell on earth...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 09:30 PM

41. Agree. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 09:33 PM

42. Great post! I agree 100%.

And close all the private prisons while you're at it. Eliminate the death penalty and let out the casual drug users...create more halfway houses.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cali (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:00 AM

47. Prisons for profit is about making money not solving crime.

It's horrible and must end.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread