General Question

mowens's avatar

What is everyones take on the United States Prison System?

Asked by mowens (8285 points ) August 14th, 2009

Do you think it is too harsh or too relaxed? Do you think that it is run well or run poorly? Have you ever been in a prison for any reason- if so what are your thoughts? If not, what do you imagine them to be like?

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20 Answers

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

I think there’s too many non violent offenders there.

erichw1504's avatar

Extremely over-crowded and they need to lighten up on the sentencing for small crimes to prevent this.

Judi's avatar

It varies by state. I don’t think it’s fun anywhere.
I do think it’s awful that while our kids get canned slop at their school lunches, here in California, prisoners are entitled to fresh fruit and desert with every meal.
While the working poor go broke because they didn’t have insurance and had to go to the emergency room ruining their credit for years
Inmates get 24 hour dental.
While senior citizens are dieing in their homes because they can’t afford to turn on the air conditioning
Inmates get free HBO and Cinemax.
Don’t get me wrong, it is a horrible place. I can’t believe that the California Prison system is smoke free. Nicotine is therapeutic for a lot of people and I can see how suddenly ceasing it would be torture.
It is appalling how little is spent on prevention (via education) and how top heavy those few education dollars are.
I think there has to be a better way. All we are doing is teaching criminals to be better criminals and putting a scarlet letter on their back when they get out via the information age.

MrKnowItAll's avatar

Not enough judges, lawyers, police, and politicians have been incarcerated.

Judi's avatar

(I meant dessert not desert, although they get plenty of that too.)

Ansible1's avatar

bum rape farm

Steven0512's avatar

More should follow the “Tent City” approach to save tax dollars. It’s harsh, but let’s remember that it is prison and punishment.

Judi's avatar

I didn’t finish answering your question. I have been in a prison doing prison ministry. I also have 2 son in laws who are correctional officers.

gtgeek's avatar

more severe sentences to the serious offenders.

why “for-life”, just end it.

Judi's avatar

@gtgeek ; because it costs more to execute and because we are finding more and more that people on death row have been wrongly convicted.

gtgeek's avatar

@Judi how does it cost more? it’s a one-time cost vs years of food, healthcare, gym, room and board.

It’s why people keep coming back in for those freebies.

Bluefreedom's avatar

The correctional systems in the United States, whether they be federal or state, are ones that are fraught with imperfections and problems. Some prisons are more harsh than others and some locations are run more poorly than others also.

buster's avatar

Federal prison from what my friend who was locked up in one said they are much better than being in a state prison. More privileges and a lot of the guys in federal aren’t crazy raping murderers. A lot of blue collar criminals like counterfeiters, tax evasion, and bank robbers. You got to commit a federal crime to land in one of those. State prison I hear is more restrictive and filled with more violent criminals. I always heard county jails are the worst to be stuck in. I’ve been there a couple of times. The one here you get two meals a day and its slop. Toast, runny fake eggs, and a carton of milk. Dinner is usually a bologna sandwich and some chips. They give out no fruit because people make jailhouse wine called Pruno with fruit. There is no recreational time. No t.v.‘s. No smoking. Visits aren’t thru glass but thru a television monitor. There is one big cage with I think 20 bunks in it. Usually there is at least double in that cage. So they give out mats and if you don’t have a bunk you sleep on the floor. You can’t sleep people are always hollering. Everybody in county is coming down or withdrawing and pissy. It stinks. There are four toilets which are in between the rows of bunks. I actually heard a couple of guys say they couldn’t wait to get out of the Lawrence County and sentenced so they could go to state prison where they treat you better. I don’t think criminals deserve any special privileges. Its kind of fucked up you get treated better when locked up for murder in prison than getting caught with a few pills and staying in county. County jail here also charges you for rent, soap, deodorant, etc. Its added on to your probation cost.

ekans's avatar

It is much more entertaining in The Philippines.
And apparently, the prisoners like their organized recreation.

Judi's avatar

Death penalty costs more because this is America and if someone is going to put you to death you have a right to appeals on several levels.

aprilsimnel's avatar

It’s a criminal warehousing racket at this point. There are companies like Wackenhut that have too much vested in the current system as is. And they have lobbyists.

mattbrowne's avatar

Private ownership and/or operation of prisons is grotesque to say the least. Shareholder value correlating with crime rates leaves me speechless.

mowens's avatar

I recently did some work in some state prisons. Among countless other things they had access to that I felt they should not, were xboxes and Wii’s.

Are these our tax dollars?

aprilsimnel's avatar

Did the prisoners’ relatives buy those machine for them or were they provided by the prisons themselves? That would make a difference to me. I imagine the prisoners were not allowed access to the games if they were supposed to be on some sort of detail. Were they shirking and skipping out on work to play with an xBox?

And if they aren’t supposed to do anything that anyone on the outside can do, then the citizens of this country need to re-evaluate the purpose of a prison. The punitive model of the 19th century is not working. The rehabilitative model of the 20th century is not working. So what to do?

mowens's avatar

The gaming consoles were purchased by the state. They were supposed to be used as a good behavior reward, but they were always on them no matter what time of day I was there for a year.

It just upset me. Personally, I think everyone should be in solitary confinement. (violent crimes) These people have no respect, no restraint, and think everyone is out to get them. I’m sure there is a better way to handle it, but I don’t think letting them stay in a hotel at the tax payers expense is a good enough punishment.

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