Does Society Need Prisons?

Have philosophical discussions about politics, law, and government.
Featured Article: Definition of Freedom - What Freedom Means to Me
Post Reply
User avatar
chala
New Trial Member
Posts: 4
Joined: December 5th, 2017, 11:08 pm

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by chala » December 21st, 2017, 1:29 pm

Jaa_intelligent wrote:
February 9th, 2016, 10:39 pm
Humans have instincts that will always lead to survive. No matter how much nurture is geared to non-violence, human nature at it most primitive and will want to survive. You might get the exception of a person that will sacrifice himself for another.But for the majority of humans they will choose themselves over another.
It's this instinct of survival that will superceed ones own want over another's. Humans have emotions that are fragile and can be swayed. Humans will always have a possibility for aggression. To what degree depends on many variables.
In no time in history has there been a totally non violent or non criminal society. At some level there will be some type of offense of one person to another the level depends again on many variables. Depending on the society, crime will be measured;according to their standards. And sanctions will be imposed. Prisons are nessacary for punishment or rehabilitation. Or we can use public punishment as a deterrent. Even children raised in positive environments committed offenses.
There is no doubt that we have to include the survival of tyrannosaurus rex within our natures. However, we are also herd animals who want the collective to survive. It would be a great thing if we truly knew what man is, tyrannosaurus rex or pregnant doe. Notions of what the human is change through time and cultural trends.

As it stands and has stood for two thousand five hundred years man is capable of loving his neighbour as himself and this view of man is what we ought to cultivate. Few men are beyond redemption from aggressive dispositions.

This being so, prisons should be purposely formed and run so as to rehabilitate and confine, not so as to punish and deter. The deterrence effect comes with the physical confinement and needs no augmentation by means of cruelty.

User avatar
Tibbir
Posts: 34
Joined: April 25th, 2012, 5:51 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Jesus
Location: Aylesbury, UK
Contact:

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Tibbir » December 22nd, 2017, 10:09 am

We do not want the American system where Prisons are a profit centre. Prisoners are forced to work for no pay and so cover the costs of the prisons. This is effectively slavery. Especially as some cops specialize in arresting blacks on dubius charges just to put them back into slavery.

Prisons should be a place of encarceration for people who are dangerous to our society. The better prisons are the ones that teach empathy to the prisoners toward their victims and teach them the social skills to get them out of the rut of re-offending. Not always an easy task. As any skill can be used by the offender to become a more efficient criminal.

If prisoners work, it should be voluntary and it should be paid. This gives them a good example of a the benefits of a good work ethic.

GE Morton
Posts: 304
Joined: February 1st, 2017, 1:06 am

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton » December 22nd, 2017, 12:29 pm

Tibbir wrote:
December 22nd, 2017, 10:09 am
We do not want the American system where Prisons are a profit centre. Prisoners are forced to work for no pay and so cover the costs of the prisons. This is effectively slavery.
Yes, it is. Slavery is constitutional if imposed "as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted . . ." (13th Amendment).
Especially as some cops specialize in arresting blacks on dubius [sic] charges just to put them back into slavery.
Oh, please. You seem to be overlooking the fact that to be incarcerated a person must not only be arrested, but also charged by a prosecutor, and unless he pleads guilty, convicted by a jury and sentenced by a judge. Are all those players conspiring to re-impose slavery?
Prisons should be a place of encarceration for people who are dangerous to our society. The better prisons are the ones that teach empathy to the prisoners toward their victims and teach them the social skills to get them out of the rut of re-offending. Not always an easy task. As any skill can be used by the offender to become a more efficient criminal.
Not easy at all. Primarily because empathy is not a teachable skill. Nor are criminals' chosen lifestyles due to lack of "social skills."
If prisoners work, it should be voluntary and it should be paid. This gives them a good example of a the benefits of a good work ethic.
No, it should nor be voluntary. They have inflicted losses and injuries upon their victims and imposed costs on the State to investigate, arrest, try, and confine them. They should be compelled to work, with pay at market rates, until that debt has been fully compensated. That is what justice means and requires. Victims and citizens have no duty to absorb those costs.

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 3028
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by LuckyR » December 23rd, 2017, 4:49 am

Tibbir wrote:
December 22nd, 2017, 10:09 am
We do not want the American system where Prisons are a profit centre. Prisoners are forced to work for no pay and so cover the costs of the prisons. This is effectively slavery. Especially as some cops specialize in arresting blacks on dubius charges just to put them back into slavery.

Prisons should be a place of encarceration for people who are dangerous to our society. The better prisons are the ones that teach empathy to the prisoners toward their victims and teach them the social skills to get them out of the rut of re-offending. Not always an easy task. As any skill can be used by the offender to become a more efficient criminal.

If prisoners work, it should be voluntary and it should be paid. This gives them a good example of a the benefits of a good work ethic.
I agree that prisons are an area where profit should not be a factor in decision making. There have been convictions of judges who received kickbacks for sentencing juveniles to for profit prisons.
"As usual... it depends."

User avatar
TigerNinja
Posts: 92
Joined: July 23rd, 2016, 3:59 am

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by TigerNinja » February 28th, 2018, 6:38 pm

It is useful to prevent someone form re offending, as there are certain cases whereby homeless people, or simply people who generally either like(somehow)/need prison or can't control themselves always end up returning. It is effectively a catering home to help prevent people re offending, although this can only really work with lifetime sentences. The more people stay with criminals, that is most likely going to brush off on them as well, turning it into a place much like an area afflicted with the plague. One person gets it, infects two, who infect 4 each, who infect 8 each, and before you know it, you have a prison full of wild, ideological or simply violent prisoners.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

User avatar
jlaugh
New Trial Member
Posts: 7
Joined: September 19th, 2018, 3:44 am

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by jlaugh » September 24th, 2018, 7:17 am

Some argue that families, too, are prisons that prevent individuals from self-actualizing. So, it is necessary to define "prison." I think we could call it a disciplinary measure, often involving punishment. That said, disciplinary measures do not necessarily have to be extreme or negative. For instance, culture itself is disciplinary. Therefore, prisons are inevitable things.

User avatar
ThomasHobbes
Posts: 1108
Joined: May 5th, 2018, 5:53 pm

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by ThomasHobbes » September 24th, 2018, 11:54 am

jlaugh wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 7:17 am
Some argue that families, too, are prisons that prevent individuals from self-actualizing. So, it is necessary to define "prison." I think we could call it a disciplinary measure, often involving punishment. That said, disciplinary measures do not necessarily have to be extreme or negative. For instance, culture itself is disciplinary. Therefore, prisons are inevitable things.
I think when we ask does "society" need prisons, we are talking about the involuntary sort. Families might have a strong influence, but participation is most usually voluntary. Except for fear of upsetting people and failing to comply to obligations, participation in family activities is purely voluntary.

The big questions about prisons are what are they actually for. What are you hoping to achieve by depriving a person of their liberty?
Punishment
Rehabilitation
Venegeance
Protection of the community.
All are implied by a sentence - but which ought to be stressed the most, and to what end?
We need to consider what happens upon release. If the prisoner is more likely to re-offend then the prison has failed in my view.

GE Morton
Posts: 304
Joined: February 1st, 2017, 1:06 am

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton » September 24th, 2018, 12:10 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 11:54 am

The big questions about prisons are what are they actually for. What are you hoping to achieve by depriving a person of their liberty?
Punishment
Rehabilitation
Venegeance
Protection of the community.
All are implied by a sentence - but which ought to be stressed the most, and to what end?
We need to consider what happens upon release. If the prisoner is more likely to re-offend then the prison has failed in my view.
The purposes of a criminal justice system, if it is to be morally defensible, are twofold:

1. Protecting the public from the depredations of criminals, and
2. Securing justice for the victims of crimes.

Prisons serve those purposes, provided they are work centers where inmates are compelled to work to provide restitution to their victims.

Citizens have no duties to "rehabilitate" anyone, and vengeance is an emotional response that serves no practical purpose.

Steve3007
Posts: 5397
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Eratosthenes
Location: UK

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Steve3007 » September 24th, 2018, 2:01 pm

G E Morton. Nice to see you back. Have you met ThomasHobbes? If not, I think a fight between you two would be a good pay-per-view experience.

User avatar
ThomasHobbes
Posts: 1108
Joined: May 5th, 2018, 5:53 pm

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by ThomasHobbes » September 24th, 2018, 4:09 pm

GE Morton wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 12:10 pm
ThomasHobbes wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 11:54 am

The big questions about prisons are what are they actually for. What are you hoping to achieve by depriving a person of their liberty?
Punishment
Rehabilitation
Venegeance
Protection of the community.
All are implied by a sentence - but which ought to be stressed the most, and to what end?
We need to consider what happens upon release. If the prisoner is more likely to re-offend then the prison has failed in my view.
The purposes of a criminal justice system, if it is to be morally defensible, are twofold:

1. Protecting the public from the depredations of criminals, and
2. Securing justice for the victims of crimes.

Prisons serve those purposes, provided they are work centers where inmates are compelled to work to provide restitution to their victims.

Citizens have no duties to "rehabilitate" anyone, and vengeance is an emotional response that serves no practical purpose.
Point 2 is absurd, serving no purpose - it is the vengeance you have already described as "emotional"

By contrast rehabilitation is far from emotional but purely practical. If you put a poor person in gaol for stealing food, only to throw them back onto the street with no means to earn a crust then you are wasting resources, and contributing to a cycle of crime.

Belindi
Moderator
Posts: 1482
Joined: September 11th, 2016, 2:11 pm

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Belindi » September 24th, 2018, 5:36 pm

Right you are Thomas! Well said!

User avatar
ThomasHobbes
Posts: 1108
Joined: May 5th, 2018, 5:53 pm

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by ThomasHobbes » September 24th, 2018, 5:45 pm

Belindi wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 5:36 pm
Right you are Thomas! Well said!
Thanks.

It seems to me that the whole prison service is going the wrong way.
Privatisation means that more money can be made to NOT rehabilitate, since throwing prisoners out with no help almost guarantees that inmates shall return.

Additionally instituting an increasingly hard headed regime inside prison is more likely to result in inmates being charged for minor offences inside thus ruining their chances of early release - which also serves the profit cycle.

Private prisons have no incentive to serve society.

Steve3007
Posts: 5397
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Eratosthenes
Location: UK

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Steve3007 » September 24th, 2018, 7:01 pm

If I was seeking to harness the power of the profit motive in the context of prisons, obviously I'd try to set up the market in such a way that protection, deterrence and rehabilitation are profitable, and perpetuating a cycle of crime is unprofitable. I suppose one thing I'd look at is linking profits (inversely) to some measure of recidivism. Perhaps some system in which the prison operators are financially rewarded more and more for as long as their former inmates don't commit further crimes, and are penalized if a former inmate of one of their prisons comes back to prison. I certainly wouldn't arrange the market such that profit is simply directly proportional to the number of prisoners incarcerated, in the same way that battery chicken farmers are financially rewarded.

GE Morton
Posts: 304
Joined: February 1st, 2017, 1:06 am

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton » September 24th, 2018, 11:07 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 4:09 pm
GE Morton wrote:
September 24th, 2018, 12:10 pm


The purposes of a criminal justice system, if it is to be morally defensible, are twofold:

1. Protecting the public from the depredations of criminals, and
2. Securing justice for the victims of crimes.

Prisons serve those purposes, provided they are work centers where inmates are compelled to work to provide restitution to their victims.

Citizens have no duties to "rehabilitate" anyone, and vengeance is an emotional response that serves no practical purpose.
Point 2 is absurd, serving no purpose - it is the vengeance you have already described as "emotional"
Huh? Are you claiming that justice consists in, or is identical with, vengeance? Justice consists in securing to each person what he is due, by virtue of his actions. Securing justice for crime victims requires making good their losses and compensating for their injuries, as far as possible. Vengeance consists in inflicting comparable (or greater) loss or pain on the criminal --- which serves no rational purpose; it does nothing to repair the damages done.
By contrast rehabilitation is far from emotional but purely practical.
I did not claim that rehabilitation was emotional. I said that Alfie has no duty to "rehabilitate" thief or rapist or murder Bruno. He has no duties whatsoever to Bruno, other than the universal duty not to violate his rights --- which binds Alfie only so long as Bruno does not violate his.
If you put a poor person in gaol for stealing food, only to throw them back onto the street with no means to earn a crust then you are wasting resources, and contributing to a cycle of crime.
You don't throw them back onto the street until they have made good the losses and damages inflicted upon the victims of their crimes, and have reimbursed the State for the costs it incurred investigating the crimes and locating, apprehending, trying, and housing the criminal. Alfie has no duty to provide Bruno with anything --- Bruno, and no one else, is responsible for his own support, for acquiring the means to do so, and for the consequences of his own actions. The world does not owe him a living, or the means of making one.

Moreover, "rehabilitation" is far from practical; it is largely a boondoggle benefiting counselors, lawyers, shrinks, tutors, and other taxpayer-paid featherbedders. The best inmate "rehabilitation" schemes reduce the recidivism rate by about 25%. Most of them do worse.

GE Morton
Posts: 304
Joined: February 1st, 2017, 1:06 am

Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton » September 25th, 2018, 12:57 am

Should be "murderer Bruno," not ""murder Bruno" above.

Post Reply