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madmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 01:04 PM
Original message
The right's prison conversion
In a fitting piece for the holiday season, the New York Times Magazine ran this extended article entitled "The Right Has a Jailhouse Conversion." The piece effectively explores the Second Chance Act and modern changes in the politics of crime. Here is an introductory snippet:

(A] decline in the exploitation of crime coincides with an odd and surprising change in the politics of crime. The G.O.P., the party of Richard Nixons 1968 law-and-order campaign and the Willie Horton commercial, is beginning to embrace the idea that prisoners have not only souls that need saving but also flesh that needs caring for in this world. Increasingly, Republicans are talking about helping ex-prisoners find housing, drug treatment, mental-health counseling, job training and education. They're also reconsidering some of the more punitive sentencing laws for drug possession....

Perhaps most remarkably, the outgoing Republican-controlled Congress came tantalizingly close to passing the Second Chance Act, a bill that focuses not on how to lock them up but on how to let them out. The bill may become law soon, if Democrats continue to welcome the new conservative interest in rehabilitation.


As detailed in posts below, I have long been spotlighting the importance of recent evolutions in the politics of crime:

* Is there a "new right" on criminal sentencing issues?
* More evidence of a new sentencing reform politics
* Religion, sentencing and corrections
* Meth, mandatories and moral values
* Sentencing and Religion
* Miers, religion, and criminal justice issues
* Crime, sentencing and politics
* Having faith in prisons

Links included at the blog: http://sentencing.typepad.com/sentencing_law_and_policy...


Will Democrats call them "soft on crime" and say they are "coddling criminals," or will they agree that being #1 in prison population the world over is not a traditional American values #1?
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porphyrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
1. I'm hoping for the latter. - n/t
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
2. My son is in prison. If the Dems don't put that bill up I'll be furious.
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madmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Stopping Recidivism -- The Case for Action
Summary of H.R. 4676, the Second Chance Act of 2004

It makes sense, but why the sudden turn? Could it be because the Right doesn't have the political advantage over the Left anymore on "tough on crime"? Or is it sincere?

I hope it helps your son and he stays out once he gets out. Many of these programs could go a long way in helping him accomplish that.

Good luck to you.
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 02:13 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. Thanx. I don't know why the thugs are having a change of heart..
I suspect anything they do. They always have a "secret agenda". The long sentences are cruel and inhumane. Maybe the christians are bitching. I know it's not the business types.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 03:29 PM
Response to Reply #2
17. Oh I am so sorry to hear that
Yesterday my son and I went to the grocery store and we saw the mother of a friend of his. Her son is in prison. I felt so sorry for her knowing she would not be able to spend today with him. My son says he got a bad rap. He always seemed like a nice kid to me, just a bit mixed up. I remember a few kids like him when I was a teenager and none of them ended up in prison.

Hope you have a happy holiday and a blessed 2007.
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acmejack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
3. You have to be concerned about this Faith Based Prison Bullshit
Or you should be, IMHO...

snip>
Florida's new approach to inmate reform: a 'faith-based' prison

MIAMI – Ken Cooper is a convicted bank robber whose life changed after visits in jail from a retired Sunday School teacher. Now, he's getting the chance to return the favor.

Wednesday Mr. Cooper, who has become an evangelical minister, will give the prayer of dedication at a Florida experiment in inmate rehabilitation: America's first totally "faith-based prison."

http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1224/p01s04-usju.html

snip>
Governor's panel urges tripling state's faith-based prisons

TALLAHASSEE — A panel appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to come up with ways to keep former inmates from winding up back behind bars recommends tripling the number of faith-based prisons in Florida within two years, despite no evidence that the institutions work any better than conventional facilities.

The Governor's Ex-Offender Task Force, created by Bush last year, completed its final report in November, stressing that state corrections officials must begin planning with inmates for their release from the first day of incarceration.

Faith finds a home behind prison walls
Florida has continued to expand faith-based prison programs despite objections from civil liberties groups and questions about their effectiveness.

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/politics/content/state/epa...

snip>

RAIFORD - At Lawtey, a medium-security prison where the Bible Belt intersects Florida's prison belt, an anger management workshop looks like this: Ninety-six men in light-blue jumpsuits crowded into an unadorned chapel, singing and clapping as an eight-man choir sings gospel music.

''We thank you, Lord, for our confidence that we don't have to leave here the way we came in,'' said the Rev. Steve McCoy, a round, cheerful man who asks inmates to open their Bibles to Proverbs 14.
It may resemble a church service, but McCoy's class is part of Florida's growing faith-based prison program, and Lawtey is the flagship institution.

Behind several rows of barbed wire fence off a quiet two-lane road, Lawtey houses more than 800 inmates -- men convicted for crimes ranging from cocaine trafficking and grand theft to aggravated assault and second-degree murder. All chose to be part of a controversial experiment, one that tests the boundaries between church and state and entrusts religious volunteers with prisoners' rehabilitation.

Nearly three years after Gov. Jeb Bush inaugurated Lawtey as the nation's first faith-based prison in an elaborate Christmas Eve ceremony, Florida's Department of Corrections has rapidly built up its faith-based venture. Two more prisons have been converted to faith-based institutions, and the state plans to launch another faith-based prison in Central Florida, said Fran Barber, director of classification and programs for Florida's Department of Corrections. Seven prisons around the state now have faith-based dormitories.

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/15985587.htm
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baldguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Accept Jebus, or languish in prison?
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madmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. Belief in a god is not a requirement of the program.
"As of today, 26 religions will be represented among Lawtey's population. Belief in a god is not a requirement of the program. But a commitment to self-improvement is. Of the 819 prisoners housed at Lawtey when the scheme was announced in early December, less than 100 have indicated that they do not wish to take part; they have been moved to facilities elsewhere in the state."

If it is solely and ploy to proselytize, then you have a good point. Separation of church and state and all that. But we condemn them for not acting like Christians but then condemn them when they do?

That doesn't make sense either. Some inmate are Christians. As long as "secular" groups have an equal opportunity, I have no problem with it.

What will happen though is one of these "rehabilitated" people will commit a terrible crime and someone will say, "I told you so!" That will end it.

Or one of the groups will sneak in drugs or a weapon and someone will say, "See, I told you so!" That will end it.

We didn't live in Paradise after all. There ought to be a law.
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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 02:20 PM
Response to Reply #3
11. I've written on Lawtey before, and will again
And will now.

Lawtey's kind of a strange beast in the Florida Department of Corrections. It's kind of a reward. You must be close to the end of your sentence to be selected for transfer to Lawtey, and you've got to have a good disciplinary record.

Lawtey's record speaks for itself: recidivism among Lawtey veterans is very low. The people who are released from Lawtey generally become productive members of society at large.

But look at who's in Lawtey! Everyone there got their shit straightened out in some other prison before they went to Lawtey. Every person who was taken in by Lawtey had already made the conscious decision that they weren't going back to jail. So, obviously, Lawtey's recidivism rate is very good.

If I were the governor of Florida, I'd redesignate the Florida State Penitentiary--The Big House--as a faith-based prison. I challenge the "faith-based prison movement": put up or shut up. You fuckers say Jesus can cure the criminal? Fine. Here's a whole building full of armed robbers and meth cookers. Call me when Jesus has softened their hard hearts.
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madmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Is the Second Chance Act the same as Lawtey?
Just asking and wondering if the two concepts are confused. There seems to be a lot more to the Second Chance Act.
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jmowreader Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. The Second Chance Act and Lawtey are different
Second Chance looks like it's a mainstreaming process--instead of taking a prisoner who hasn't seen anything outside the prison walls if he didn't have a brushhook in his hands for the last ten years, walking him to the gate and saying "now don't come back, y'hear?" they want to reteach them (or teach them in some instances; someone who was sixteen when he was sentenced doesn't have much experience with paying his water bill) how to live on the outside. It can't be worse than what we're doing now.

Lawtey is all about religion. They say participating in Lawtey's religious program is optional, but I gotta call bull on that one: just about everyone there, if not EVERYONE there, signed up for it specifically because of the religious program. There are lots of other prisons in Florida that don't have this program.
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emanymton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
6. To The RW, Once A Convict, Always A Convict.
This is a joke. Right?

Even if a person who is in prison 'converts' to the RW theology; who is going to welcome the 'convert (convict)' into their fold? The RW mega-churches won't want them because they ain't got no money and they ain't no good.
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sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
7. they need to let the drug dealers out to sell the Heroin that is come'n in from Afganistan
i wouldn't get all fuzzy about them yet.. they are incapable of reform, it is difficult for me to believe they intend to reform others..
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. The CIA is doing that.
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sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. sorry i was being facetious.. i used to be a parole officer, i would be the first to say the system
id F'd up.. 87% are in for non violent crimes.. the federal system is totally broken, they will make you plead down.. if you say you didn't do anything they will get pissed and tell you over 90% get convicted.. if you want to do 3 years and get out in 2 take the plea.. if you want to piss us off and do 10 to 20..make my day.

i bet many time they dont even look at the case.. there is just a bed empty and they need to fill it
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 03:04 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Amen to that. It's so true.
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madmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. A lot of people won't believe this...
And they won't believe prosecutors overcharge to get plea bargains. (Tirey (the prosecutor) muses he might load up the indictment with several higher, less likely charges then "drop some things off along the way.")
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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 02:45 PM
Response to Original message
13. This thread points to the deconstruction:
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madmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 04:18 PM
Response to Reply #13
19. True, the used crime to attack liberalism at its roots...
And now they are liberal? I'm so confused!
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-25-06 03:22 PM
Response to Original message
16. Are they doing this because so many repukes are heading
for the slammer? Just asking.
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