General Question

fremen_warrior's avatar

How do we help society reintegrate its prisoners?

Asked by fremen_warrior (5461 points ) November 15th, 2012

I am curious what you think on the subject of prisons. Are they serving society to their fullest capacity, or should they be rethought? Do you think perhaps our approach to those we put away is wrong? Should prisons focus more on punishment or on resocialization? What are the moral implications of either stance? And, finally, how do you think the prison systems of the world should evolve, what should they strive to become in the long run?

The reason I ask is that for the most part I think, we have given up on this particular part of society. I think there is not enough public debate on the subject of how we treat those dubbed offenders/criminals, and the whole thing tends to be swept under the rug. I believe we have an obligation to at talk about this subject every once in a while, so here we go…

Discuss.

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43 Answers

DigitalBlue's avatar

Ideally, I’d like to see more focus on rehabilitation. I’d like to see people who are jailed on drug offenses put through treatment programs, and just let the potheads go. That may be a different subject, entirely, though.
I think that there should be more programs aimed specifically at keeping the mentally ill out of prison, since their needs are often unique compared to other prisoners, and often put them at risk of being repeat offenders.
I’d also like to see the death penalty abolished and I’d like to see solitary confinement drastically modified, I’m not even sure that I believe it should ever be used. I don’t think solitary confinement should ever be used with juveniles or prisoners who are diagnosed with mental illness.
Is this vision realistic? Probably not.

zenvelo's avatar

First, we need to take control away from the prison industry. No more private prisons, make the Corrections Union merge with the Peace Officers, no lobbying by the prison guards on anything to do with prison growth.

Second, reform the drug war to reduce the population dramatically. Prisons should be for violent offenders. Non violent offenders should be in camps that punish but not break someone’s spirit.

And there needs to be a big focus on substance abuse and prisoners with either mental illnesses or developmental disabilities. That’s a significant part of the prison population, but there is little or no treatment in prison. If we treated it, the recidivism rate would drop tremendously.

Lastly, violent offenders need to be imprisoned but not warehoused. If they have a chance of being paroled or released during working years, they need skills development and rehabilitation, followed by a long half way house program.

flutherother's avatar

Look at the name, penitentiary, it was supposed to be a place where you acknowledged your mistakes and vowed to do better when you got out. Now they are human dumps that offer no hope. Worst of all are the isolation units of the Supermax prisons where inmates are kept in complete isolation 23 hours a day. This is guaranteed to drive even sane men crazy so they are incapable of adjusting to normal society when they get out.

DigitalBlue's avatar

“Human dumps.” Yes, that. I would like to move away from that.

poisonedantidote's avatar

I don’t like prisons one bit, I think they are open to abuse and allow back door slavery. Specially when you start to privatize them.

I don’t think it is right to use prison to punish, I don’t think government has any right to punish anyone for anything, it is not their beef, they should stick to building roads. The only exception being perhaps terrorism at a national level.

I also think “rehabilitation” is very sick and wrong, I would compare it to brain washing people, or trying to change the fundamental nature of a person. It is very big brother, and just has nothing good about it.

If I was in charge, there would be a handful of consequences to crime, administered 90% of the time at local community level. Small fine, big fine, community service, banishment, and for extreme cases, execution carried out by either the victim or their family.

thorninmud's avatar

This is such an important issue.

The folks above have given good, practical suggestions, so I’ll take a more philosophical line: We have to stop viewing our criminal justice system as an expression of our collective moral outrage. As long as prisons are machines for breaking people because it makes the rest of us feel good to see “evildoers” get ground down, then we’ll continue to see a stream of broken people disgorged back into society. This isn’t a “bleeding heart” issue; it’s a matter of facing the fact that most of these people will once again be our neighbors.

It dismays me when I hear people complain about prisoners getting free educations in prison because people outside don’t have access to that. It is entirely in our best interest to increase the chances that the person exiting prison is as psychologically intact as possible, and has options other than a return to criminallity.

Coloma's avatar

Locking someone up has no impact on the decades of dysfunctional beliefs and behaviors that sent them down criminal road to begin with.
“Rehabilitation” must include extensive mental health intervention not just discipline within the system and parole watch after they are released. Most criminals have mental health issues above and beyond the surface behaviors, conduct disorders, personality disorders, sociopathic tendencies. I don’t believe rehab is possible without serious, long term, mental health monitoring and treatment.

@poisonedantidote Are you serious? Execution carried out by themselves or their families? You truly believe that forcing someone to commit suicide or, forcing their family members to kill them is sound and humane treatment?

@thorninmud Yes! Bowing & clapping!

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Coloma I don’t think government AKA “strangers” have any right to execute someone. Nothing would have to be forced.

If some pedophile rapes and kills a bunch of kids, once found guilty, if they are sentenced to execution instead of banishment, you then take them to the family of the victim, and offer them the chance to kill the person how they see fit, if they decline, banish the criminal.

Obviously you would need some kind of neutral zone to banish people to, but that could be done. This way people who opt out of the system can choose to go live in the neutral zone too.

A lot of these criminals are only criminals because we force them to be part of our society and culture, just because they happen to be born a certain place. If they had a neutral zone where they could go to, many of them would probably not even commit a crime in the regulated zone to start with.

I seriously don’t think government should have the right to put people in prison, we should demolish them all. All they do is lower housing prices while they offer hypocritical punishment from strangers who have nothing to do with the crime, or weird Orwellian brainwashing rehabilitation, neither of these things are good.

If someone parks on a yellow line, fine them. If they pollute then fine them big, if they steal give them community service, if they stab banish them, and if they rape and murder, execute or banish. That is how I would go about it.

As for forcing suicide, I never suggested that. I said let the victim carry out the execution if they are still alive and want to, or offer the family of the victim the chance, failing that go with banishment.

If someone wants to volunteer suicide for their crime, then I guess I would be ok with that.

My main priority would be to have prisons done away with, and take away the governments power to enforce prison sentences or executions.

tom_g's avatar

@thorninmud: “We have to stop viewing our criminal justice system as an expression of our collective moral outrage.”

^^ This!

Prison should be a place to protect society from harmful behavior. While there, we determine if a person’s reintegration into society would present a reasonable risk for releasing this harmful behavior back into the wild. If the answer is no, then the only possible explanation for keeping a person in prison is for “punishment” or “justice” or some horeshit that nobody really believes in anyway.

Coloma's avatar

@poisonedantidote I disagree. Allowing crime victims families to murder the perpetrator is insane, immoral and would only smear blood on the hands of the already victimized family members. Bad idea, horrible! I don’t care WHAT crimes a person is found guilty of you would never find me foaming at the mouth to pull the switch, give the lethal injection, drop the platform on the gallows.

Ya know, an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I would think the challenge would be to identify those prisoners that can be reintegrated from those that are not, and are going to be career criminals. Someone can make a mistake and break the law, but there are others that have no regard for society and it’s rules. And then there are the psychopaths. They need a dump to house them.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Coloma I understand how you can think like that, and I do recognize that that my position is extreme, but I still think it is better than the current system.

If I kill one of your kids, and get sentenced to execution, they bring me to you. If you really don’t want to kill me, then I get banished out in to the neutral zone. There would be no blood on your hands.

On the other hand, if someone killed one of my kids, I would be very happy to get a chance to carry out my revenge in person.

Those who want the revenge will get it, those who don’t can just allow the criminal to be banished.

bolwerk's avatar

Make sure prisoners can get gainful employment when they come out. It might be the biggest factor in preventing recidivism. This means reforming policies (e.g., background checks) that make it difficult to find work.

Coloma's avatar

@poisonedantidote Yes, extreme is the word.
Where would you be “banishing” these people to if you do away with the prison system?
If you don’t agree with the state intervening in executions, do you agree with the state deciding on an arbitrary place to banish them to? How would this work?

poisonedantidote's avatar

@Coloma Where the neutral zone would be is a big problem.

Perhaps we could use dredger ships like they used in Dubai to build a big island, or buy some land that could be used, maybe in another country.

My problem is the taking away of freedom. Obviously banishing is a form of prison, that is one of the holes in my argument, but prisons are so regulated with routine and so small, that I think it is wrong to put anyone there, specially if it is national level government that puts people there, at least if they are banished they can roam about.

The big problem as I see it, is that there is no neutral zone, everywhere on the planet is taken by some jackass and his precious made up rules and imaginary lines in the dirt, you are forced to be part of society, and when you don’t comply, you get prison, and that is what I don’t like.

You could even keep the prisons, if you just set up a neutral zone for people to opt out. Like that when they do commit a crime, you can say “hey if you did not like it why did you not go to the neutral zone, you have no excuse” and then lock them up. But while you force people who are born in random places, to automatically form part of the society they was born in to, you can’t really complain if they start robbing your banks and not complying with your society.

It is like if you have a zoo run by the animals, and in one enclosure you have deer, in the other sheep, in the other pigs, and in the other cows. One day a deer gives birth to a lion, and all the deer start telling the lion that it has to be a deer. One day they catch the lion eating some meat, and they lock it up, and take away its freedom until it agrees to be a deer. The deer are to blame, they should have provided a neutral zone for the lion, rather than insist it be a deer and live with them. Who are deer to tell a lion how to live.

At the moment, there are massive economic problems in the world, I would like it if I could just go up in to the mountains some place, or off to some island, where I can just be self reliant and independent. As it is, I can’t. I am forced to remain in this system, or another system, I can’t go anywhere neutral. So if I’m forced to stay, and the system fails me, how can I be blamed for robbing a bank or something else?

Set up an artificial island, or allocate a place in your own country as a neutral zone, some rural place, or make a deal with some starving country, their land in exchange for the right to go live in your country and collect welfare. Failing that, at least make prisons much much much bigger, so the inmates can wander off and be alone or do as they please. No forced lights out or cell times, make it more free.

Some people do need to be removed from society, but don’t remove them at the cost of taking their freedom away from them. Many would rather be executed than have their freedom taken from them.

Forget execution by victims being inhumane, removal of freedom by government is dehumanizing and far worse in my opinion. They are after all, a bunch of strangers to both the criminal and the criminal’s victims.

The problem is, we originally come from the wild. Our cities and countries are in the neutral zone, because that is where they sprouted up. The neutral zone is full of places that claim to be a country and claim to have a society and culture and rules. When someone goes crazy and starts acting wild, it is really the fault of the countries for setting up their society in the middle of what used to be the wild neutral zone, while never allocating an alternative for those who want out.

I never agreed to be a deer, I never agreed that I would not rob a bank, I never agreed that I wont kill people, I was just born here at random, and people assumed I agree. Some thing I do agree with, others I do not. It is wrong for anyone to treat me or anyone else, as if they agreed to obey these rules and laws when they never did. The government is at fault, for assuming all lions agree to the laws of deer.

Anyway, this is getting long and off track of the topic of prisons, so I will end it by saying, that if we really must keep prisons, and keep assuming everyone agrees, to at least make prisons big places the size of a small city, that you can roam about in.

ninjacolin's avatar

Society is a creature of the wild in itself, @poisonedantidote.
As such, she may freely choose to treat all people born under her or about her however she wants.
She’s a lion too.

poisonedantidote's avatar

@ninjacolin Fine, but don’t try and claim you are morally superior as you do it. Eradicate the words justice and fair from the legal system, and admit to being the imperfect broken system that you are, more concerned with convenience and selfishness, than justice or truth or anything fair.

If a government can just treat those born in to it as it likes, it is just as morally just for those born in to the government to treat the government as they like.

The society may continue to exist and treat those born in to it as it likes, but it does not get to claim to be fair or just while it does.

Furthermore I disagree, a corporation is not a person, and neither is a society.

ninjacolin's avatar

Society is a pride then, to extend the metaphor. Or to leave the lions alone.. Society is a gang. A bunch of people working together to make decisions about stuff.. and I would say it behaves in a way so as not to ignore the fact that we’re kinda out of room at this point. We have to live together and it’s impossible to do otherwise without war. So, our prison systems are a part of our peace treaty.

I like a lot of the ideas above. I think prisons need a lot of help. I’ve always thought they should be more similar to educational institutions than merely holding cells. This thing we do of keeping people away from the rest of society for extended periods of time.. I agree that it really is a horrible form of torture.

There isn’t enough room in the world to banish people. So, we have to do something with them. I say.. convince them. Convince them that their way of living is stupid compared to the alternatives available. I’m quite in favor of “brain washing”.. but I think we need to do a better, more convincing job.

I think a greater emphasis on formal education, artistic exploration AND moral education would help.

dabbler's avatar

“buy some land that could be used, (to banish)” how’s that different from a supermax ?

poisonedantidote's avatar

@dabbler One is a large prison with with cells, wardens, guards, lights out rules, and everyone is the same sex.

The other is a massive chunk of land the size of a city, with no guards, no wardens, no rules, and anyone can be banished there regardless of gender.

The walls should be around the city to keep people out, not round the prison to keep people in.

Shippy's avatar

I think this is a great question. And an important one. Forgive me if I repeat anything, as there were too many answers.

When I was studying for my BA in Social Science, I got quite keen on the idea of reform in prisons. Many prisoners have personality disorders which are very difficult to “reform”, like the anti social one. However, there are some prisoners that have easier personalities to work with. Or are there due to circumstance. I think reform is key to a prisons function.

Each country of course treats it’s prisoners differently, depending on budget and so on. But in an ideal world, most people do deserve to try again. Except for the manipulating Sociopathic types since they can of course fool any program of reform.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, the sociopathic types are not reformable, but, otherwise, minus any major psychopathology, what is needed are more “programs” teaching altruism and love of fellow man.
An education in how being caring and cooperative is where self satisfaction lies on all levels.
This is where some community service programs like taking convicts and pairing them up with training wild horses, are so effective in many instances, they “teach” love, responsibility, trust and compassion through bonding. There is some truth in the saying that criminals were never loved enough to matter.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to the “hows”. They are as individual as the individuals involved.

Ron_C's avatar

First of all we need to stop making so many prisoners. I travel a lot and it seems to me that Americans are more afraid of their police than the Chinese.

I also believe that after a convict serves his time, ALL of his civil rights must be restored. I highly disagree with the idea of a felon that has served his sentence isn’t allowed to vote or have certain occupations. Most crimes don’t deserve life sentences.

YARNLADY's avatar

The only way it is ever going to happen is to convince people it would cost less to rehabilitate someone than to lock them away. The biggest factor in any government system is money, coupled with legislators who are powerful enough and smart enough to do something about it. We don’t currently have any of that.

I believe early intervention would reduce the number of offenders, but the early intervention programs, like Head Start, are the first to go in a cost cutting economy.

rojo's avatar

We don’t. And on a personal note, I feel guilty because I did not give someone who had a record but who I felt might have deserved a chance to rent one of my units because I am in one of those moods and did not feel like dealing with the drama right now.

rooeytoo's avatar

I know people who want to rehabilitate themselves and fail time and time again. So I don’t know how you could possibly take a group of people, many of whom don’t give a tinker’s damn about rehabilitation and rehabilitate them. You make it sound as if you simply give a pill or the opportunity and that’s all there is to it.

I think @YARNLADY has a good idea, you have to start with the kids and show them another way to what they see. And this is presuming that most imprisoned come from similar backgrounds which statistically they probably do.

I lived in an area where fantastic programs were offered to a given group of people to not rehabilitate but simply improve their quality of life but yougottawanta and you can lead a horse to water etc. etc. etc. wins out more times than not. And if you take the children away and put them in boarding school, that creates a whole new set of problems but at least those involved are sufficiently literate to complain in writing.

The last one is I don’t want to live next door to a rapist/murderer who has been rehabilitated until this person proves that the rehabilitation has taken! I don’t want to be the statistic that results when the rehabilitation was faked or failed.

livelaughlove21's avatar

This might be my favorite question on Fluther so far. I’ve got so many thoughts running through my head regarding this issue, so hopefully something I say will make sense. As a preface, I’m a college student majoring in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. I’ve got a small amount of experience working in the CJ field and I also have a brother who is incarcerated. I’m by no means an expert, but prisons fascinate me and I make it my business to learn as much as I can about them through TV (non-fiction documentary-types), literature, and research. I’ve skimmed most of the answers here, but excuse me if I repeat something or if I missed something important.

First of all, the four major justifications as to why we punish “criminals” are retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation. Though elementary and day-one Criminal Justice 101 concepts, I think those justifications are extremely important to keep in mind. We incarcerate individuals to “get back at” them for committing crimes, show others that such behavior is not acceptable and hopefully keeping them from committing crimes, keep them from committing more crimes (theoretically), and “treat” them for any underlying cause of criminal behavior. Of course, our criminal justice system is far from perfect and falls short on many, if not all, of these goals. So, as the OP is questioning, what can be done about this, if anything, and would any alternative be more efficient?

I think that rehabilitation is a big one. Prisons don’t have a reputation for great rehabilitation programs. They may sit their prisoners in a room and teach them lecture-style about what to expect when they get out, conduct mock job interviews, and work with them one-on-one in counseling sessions or something similar – and all of those are, in theory, great things. However, they don’t seem to work in the bigger scheme of things. Recidivism rates are staggering, but why? Is it because many criminals are un-fixable? Or is the flaw in the system itself? It would be a great improvement to see these rehabilitation programs re-vamped, but that would cost a great deal of money. Considering the amount of money it costs the government and citizens to house these individuals, there isn’t much wiggle room in the budget.

I think a major problem is our perception of people who have done time. I think the recidivism rate has a whole lot to do with the fact that they aren’t often given chances to survive on the outside. The negative stigma related to ex-cons keeps them from finding employment, housing, or social networks. In many cases, their friends and family have abandoned them, and they are left to the wolves with little to no resources. How can we expect them to “get better” if they aren’t given the opportunity to do so? Unfortunately, changing people’s minds about ex-cons is a lot easier said than done, and we’re far from any improvement on that front. So, the criminal justice system is often blamed for their apparent inability to rehabilitate prisoners.

Then there’s the fact that there ARE people who cannot be helped; people who are criminals for a living, know nothing different, and have no desire to change. No justice system can change that. Those are the people that belong in prison – incapacitation coming into play here. Is there any other alternative that would even work for them? Probably not. These are the people that you find in administrative segregation units because not even a prison environment keeps them from committing crimes. With these individuals, all we can do is control their behavior as best as we can for the sole purpose of protecting the rest of society.

I see that someone above had the argument that the government shouldn’t have the right to punish people for going against social norms that they are expected to abide by just because they were born in a certain place. Well, I’m not sure where you could be born where killing people is considered alright. Now, drug crimes are different. I won’t get into that debate other than saying many of those people don’t belong in prison. If we got rid of the non-violent drug population in prisons, they wouldn’t be nearly as crowded and conditions wouldn’t be nearly as bad. However, violent crimes are different. If we were to go the extreme of “and eye for an eye” and allowing victims’ families to kill murderers, where would it end? You kill my child, so I kill you. Then your brother kills me in retaliation, so my father kills your brother…..and so on. How would you keep this from happening if you’re all but telling people it’s okay to kill someone just because they killed someone you love? This is one reason the death penalty makes no sense.

The government considers crimes against its citizens to be crimes against the nation, and rightfully so. The government attempts to separate criminals from the rest of us in order to protect us.

The island idea boggles my mind. What exactly would life on this island be like? If these are all murderers, as was suggested, why wouldn’t they all hurt and kill each other? Does violence not breed violence? There’s much more evidence to support them being inclined to harm each other than there is to support the idea that they’d live peacefully together. So, is it fair to put all of their lives in danger in this fashion? Violence is prevalent in prison, but at least there is an effort to keep them safe from themselves and each other. What exactly would letting them roam free with other violent offenders solve?

Yes, the prison system is flawed. Yes, there are things that could possibly be done to help that. But tearing them all down and putting murderers on a “neutral” island or settling it lex talionis style solves nothing, which is why we developed a criminal justice system in the first place. In no way would that ever work again – it would be chaos and it makes no sense in the world we currently live in.

I know I provided no real answers, and maybe there aren’t any. More of an effort should be made to rehabilitate, change society’s views on ex-cons, and address underlying mental health issues, but it takes a lot more than a good idea for this to happen.

rooeytoo's avatar

Just a little note to this question. Australia is keen on rehabilitating and releasing those who have done their time back into society after serving only portions of their already lenient sentences. So now a man who murdered a young woman by stabbing her 7 times in the face and several times in the throat because she rejected his advances was paroled after serving 13 of his 16 year sentence. he was released in 1988, since then he had been arrested and jailed again for kidnapping and again several times for assorted sexual offenses. Each time he was arrested his record could not be introduced into the proceedings because he had served his time and paid his debt to society. And of course had been rehabilitated each time. Last weekend he met up with a pretty young woman he supposedly met on Facebook, and he murdered her. The news say “her remains” have been identified which to me would indicated that her body is probably not in one piece. Anyhow, I think it is time to stop worrying about the perpetrators and start considering the victims and their families. They have interviewed the parents of his first victim and of course they are furious because he was released after serving only 13 years for killing their child and now he has killed again. And of course his previous record again will not be allowed to be used against him in court. Anyhow, I guess the question is, how many women do you want to be killed before you decide maybe a guy isn’t really rehabilitated? DNA evidence has proved the innocence of many in jail but it can also prove the guilt.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@rooeytoo Wow, and everyone thinks the US justice system is flawed. Our three strikes laws are constantly under fire, but they’d certainly be welcome in a case like this.

Yes, the victims should always come first. Unfortunately they get pushed to the side during trial and, if alive, only serve as witnesses. If you ask me, efforts should be made to see that they get justice as well – just not in the form of physical vengeance on the defendant. But this is a trial issue, not a prison issue.

Sentences on murder charges should never be lenient, simply put.

rooeytoo's avatar

@livelaughlove21 – you are a kinder, gentler human than I. If it were my kid stabbed and dismembered I would want the killer tortured, stabbed and dismembered as well. I am sick and tired of paying for their room and board and entertainment. Now someone is bound to chime in and say what a rough time they must endure in prison but I say it is not as rough as being dead or losing your kid.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@rooeytoo Of course you’d WANT that, especially if it was a heinous murder, but that doesn’t make actually doing it more rational.

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ninjacolin's avatar

Nurture and support the entreprenerial spirit with legal business potential:

http://www.ted.com/talks/jeff_smith_lessons_in_business_from_prison.html

They need to have Internet!

rooeytoo's avatar

I would rather give aid and succor to the victims of crime, not the criminals.

People speak of rehabilitation as if it is a pill or this easy solution to a complex problem. I have seen so many people really want to change and rehabilitate themselves (not BE rehabilitated) and fail time and time again. Therefore I find it difficult to accept that prisoners can BE rehabilitated unless they are damned willing to work very hard and even then most will not succeed. No big deal unless they kill your kid or mother when the rehabilitation fails.

Ron_C's avatar

I see that Australia was given as an example of a country with lenient sentencing and regulations regarding using a person’s record against them. I believe that their approach is valid for non-violent criminals. However violent criminals and people that are sociopaths, and psychotic should be treated differently. Some behavior problems are just not curable. sociopaths are born, not created and consistently violent people need to be isolated from society and sometimes even destroyed. I don’t see why a determination can’t be made, before sentencing, to determine if the person has a problem that can be cured.

ninjacolin's avatar

Because lives aren’t simple enough to make such a determination with accuracy.

Everyone needs help, the victims and the offenders. Offenders don’t offend because it’s fun. They offend because they don’t have any other option given their precise life circumstance. If no one offers to assist them in learning how to make healthier decisions, how could you expect them to miraculously learn on their own?

Ron_C's avatar

@ninjacolin ” Offenders don’t offend because it’s fun” I totally disagree with that statement. Sure some felons commit crimes because they feel that they have no other option but a large number commit crimes, especially drug dealing and theft because it’s easier than working and a lot more exciting. I talked to a guy once that said “driving a 100 MPH on the interstate with 100 pounds of grass in the trunk is one of my greatest thrills”. I expect that it’s a pretty big rush to steal and get away with a couple hundred thousand from a bank. It may even be a pleasure when a hit man makes a successful strike.

Those are the kind of people that need to be taken off the street. Instead, police are arresting teenagers with drug paraphernalia (whatever that means).

We need to stop the war on drugs and work on establishing a kinder and gentler society.

Bellatrix's avatar

On what basis are we saying Australia is a country with lenient sentencing and prison regulations? I would like to see some comparisons to say the US or Norway that show Australia has a lenient system. It isn’t enough for a member to say this – we surely need some evidence or some form of information about how they are gauging leniency before we accept it without discussion. I can’t agree or disagree without some ‘real’ clarity around what aspects of the Australian prison system this judgement is based on. I would like to see some data to support this claim.

ninjacolin's avatar

@Ron_C I’m not saying that those activities are not any fun. They sure sound like fun! But there are many “fun” things available even to you right now that you aren’t pursuing. If you think about it, driving off a bridge would be a hell of a lot of fun as well but these guys aren’t doing that. Why? Because it’s not practical. Practicality is why they do anything. The ready possession of skill is why they do things.

If you know exactly how to cheat a system in 2 hours in order to get away with a reward of $1000 and if you have no skills at typing or wording a resume to attract a high paying employer.. what do you expect someone with expert skill at cheating systems will do?

You expect them to not cheat the system? Why? Where’s the motivation not to cheat the system in the face of poverty, hunger, bad debts, and 3 starving children?

Ron_C's avatar

@ninjacolin ” what do you expect someone with expert skill at cheating systems will do?” That’s my point It is also why we have so many drug dealers and car thieves that come from the under-privileged background. If there is not honest employment available or if is is so poorly paid that you stay poor, it is not rational to take that job. It is rational to sell drugs or develop you skills at thievery.

It is a proven fact that theft decreases during prosperous times. Ironically, church attendance also drops. Maybe church attendance encourages dishonest behaviour.

ninjacolin's avatar

^ gotta have something to seek forgiveness for, maybe? lol

I like your ideas.

rooeytoo's avatar

Just from my personal observations and living extended periods of time in both countries, I would say that Australia has extremely lenient sentencing. I can’t believe how easy it is here. I saw one guy get out of jail after 6 months for killing his cousin by hitting him on the head with a rock during a drunken brawl. But that was considered cultural. However in so many noncultural situations it is no different.

@Bellatrix – do you really not think it is lenient???

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