Does Society Need Prisons?

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Scott
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Scott »

Scott wrote: March 24th, 2021, 7:34 pm
I hope many offenders re-offend, such as people in jail for marijuana possession. I hope they get out and smoke a joint to celebrate their release. Re-offense is often a good thing, in my opinion, since so many good things are illegal.

For example, Martin Luther King was arrested 29 times. I am glad it was 29 rather than 1. I am glad he re-offended, over and over. Recidivism is often a very good thing.
Pattern-chaser wrote: March 25th, 2021, 8:41 am I take your meaning to be that you would like to be made aware of unjust laws, but is it reasonable to expect your fellow citizens to go to barbaric American prisons to highlight these injustices for you?
I am not sure what the context of the word expect is in the question. Namely, I'm not sure if you mean it in the context of desire or prediction. For instance, if I catch a stomach bug and everyone else I know who has had the same bug vomited, I would then expect to soon vomit myself, but I presumably wouldn't want or intentionally help that to happen per se.

In any case, I am not saying that I hope my fellow citizens are put in prison, especially not if they are peaceful. Rather, I am saying that often when someone commits a crime (e.g. illegally feeding the homeless), then recidivism is often a very good (meaning subjectively desirable) thing in my opinion.

Certainly, it would be preferable to me that the violent victimizers (in this case the armed arresters and imprisoners) suddenly choose to stop victimizing or are otherwise forcefully preventing from continuing to violently victimize, but no I do not think it is reasonable to expect that to happen.


LuckyR wrote: March 25th, 2021, 1:26 am Speaking of technology, what should be the punishment for someone who steals your identity and ruins your credit and good name?
Define "should".


Steve3007 wrote: March 25th, 2021, 9:24 am
Scott wrote:I hope many offenders re-offend, such as people in jail for marijuana possession. I hope they get out and smoke a joint to celebrate their release. Re-offense is often a good thing, in my opinion, since so many good things are illegal...
Fair enough. There are some things which are illegal but which shouldn't be illegal. I don't disagree but I don't see it is relevant to my point. I was talking about offences involving crimes that we agree are rightfully considered to be crimes.
I understand that when you wrote word like 'crime' (or by extension 'recidivism') you probably meant something like "act of non-defensive victimization" or something roughly like that, but technically the two things are completely and utterly different. In terms of the situations where the two diverge, I believe it is not a matter of some, but rather most. Most arrestees are only charged with non-violent crimes such as but not limited to marijuana possession or feeding the homeless. Most incidents of violent victimization are done legally, often by the government or its agents. However, it is not just by the government's own figurative hands that legal violent victimization occurs. For instance, marital rape was not fully banned in the USA until 1993. Racial slavery was legal in the USA for well over 200 years. Speaking of slavery, Kamala Harris used slave labor to fight fires in California.

With that said, I agree with the points you intended to convey as I understand them.
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I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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LuckyR
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by LuckyR »

Scott wrote: March 25th, 2021, 4:02 pm
LuckyR wrote: March 25th, 2021, 1:26 am Speaking of technology, what should be the punishment for someone who steals your identity and ruins your credit and good name?
Define "should".
"seems logical to you".
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Sculptor1 »

The biggest question about prisons is to ask what exactly are their fucntions and do they achieve those functions.

1. Deterence to teach criminal forebearance.
2. Encarceration to protect the public.
3, Vengeance to satify victims
4. Correctional to punish the criminals.
5. Rehabilitation.

There is a definite confusion about what they are supposed to achieve. And those wanting points 2,3,4 are horrified by attempts to spend money on 5. That is a massive mistake

For many a young detainee prison is seen as a rite of passage. The earning of wings by which they truly enter the univeristy of crime and get their street cred. Unless society is willing to actively challenge that, recidivism is going to continue to be high.

My view is that 5 is the most important but least persued.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Scott »

LuckyR wrote: March 25th, 2021, 1:26 am Speaking of technology, what should be the punishment for someone who steals your identity and ruins your credit and good name?
Scott wrote: March 25th, 2021, 4:02 pm Define "should".
LuckyR wrote: March 25th, 2021, 4:23 pm "seems logical to you".
If I am understanding correctly (which is never a safe assumption), that means your question is as follows: For someone who steals my identity and ruins my credit score, what punishment seems logical to me?

My answer is that I don't think any punishment for anything would have a logical value one way or other other, so the answer is null or n/a.

Logical inferences have values of logical (a.k.a. valid) or illogical (a.k.a. invalid).

Propositions have values of true (a.k.a. correct or right) versus false (a.k.a. incorrect or wrong).

Events and behaviors--such as spanking a person on their butt--have neither. Events and behaviors are neither true nor false. Events and behaviors are neither logically valid or logically invalid.


Sculptor1 wrote: March 25th, 2021, 6:26 pm The biggest question about prisons is to ask what exactly are their fucntions and do they achieve those functions.
That question is equivocal and unclear, as already explained earlier in this thread in this post and this post, which I now quote here:

Scott wrote: February 22nd, 2021, 4:57 pm
GE Morton wrote: February 20th, 2021, 10:08 pm Why do we have one?
The question of why we have one is very different than why we might want one. The former question addresses primarily the motivation of the violent person(s) (i.e. the imprisoners) as well as the reason for that violent person's success (i.e. the fact that prisons do currently exist) in implementing their goals (e.g. to make profit) which in modern politics is arguably perhaps best summed by the words violent plutocracy. The second question is more pipe-dream-oriented, and thus more philosophical, which in turn runs the risk of becoming prescriptive where the first question is inherently a matter of the descriptive.

For example, as Frederick Douglass escaped slavery, it would be a very different question for him to wonder why slavery did exist at that time, than if and why he might want (or not want) slavery to exist at all in some hypothetical future or hypothetical alternative reality that is presumably a more utopian version of the society that actually existed at the time.

The two different questions may seem to converge together to the degree one assumes the violent rulers of society are benevolent (e.g. that one is living under a benevolent dictator) and/or that society is already as utopian as practically possible, but I believe we can all easily agree such assumptions are very mistaken.
Scott wrote: March 18th, 2021, 8:11 pm
GE Morton wrote: February 20th, 2021, 10:08 pm "Why do we have a criminal justice system? What is its purpose?"
[The question] appears to fallaciously conflate two very different questions. There are two very different questions that could be asked, and it is not clear which one you are meaning to ask, and thus there is at least the risk that they get fallaciously conflated.

1. Are you asking a descriptive scientific question about why the status quo happens to be the way it is (i.e. why prisons happen to exist at the moment), which would be analogous to Frederick Douglass asking why slavery exists while he is escaping?

2. Or are you asking a philosophically hypothetical question (with potentially prescriptive answers) about why you and I might want something (in this case prisons) to exist or not, which would be analogous to Frederick Douglass asking himself if and why he might want (or not want) slavery to exist at all in some hypothetical future or hypothetical alternative reality?
@Sculptor1, please specify whether you are meaning to ask #1 or #2.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by RexArthur »

Yes, now choose your prison: U.S. prisons whose nonrecidivism "efficacy" rate" is 25% or the Norway model at 80%.

Why?

According to an article in the New York Times written by Jessica Benko, Halden (Norway top security prison) had no security fence or warnings about picking up hitchhikers because no inmate had ever tried to escape the facility. “There were no coils of razor wire in sight, no lethal electric fences, no towers manned by snipers—nothing violent, threatening or dangerous.”

And

According to an NPR article by Jeffrey Kofman, each inmate’s cell is a private room equipped with a fridge, a television, and a desk. Inmates also have access to a fully-equipped kitchen, and a metal and woodworking shop.

If only it were that simple. Perhaps societal differences made the difference. Federal laws make determinations. State laws (varying from state to state) make determinations. Private prisons are a growth industry with kickbacks to local law enforcement Finally, unlike the Norway's welfare state, a lot of Americans are poor. So, while Norway incarcerates 72 per 100,000, U.S. incarcerates 693.

Am sure there are other reasons but a fix, don't know.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by LuckyR »

Scott wrote: March 25th, 2021, 7:33 pm
LuckyR wrote: March 25th, 2021, 1:26 am Speaking of technology, what should be the punishment for someone who steals your identity and ruins your credit and good name?
Scott wrote: March 25th, 2021, 4:02 pm Define "should".
LuckyR wrote: March 25th, 2021, 4:23 pm "seems logical to you".
If I am understanding correctly (which is never a safe assumption), that means your question is as follows: For someone who steals my identity and ruins my credit score, what punishment seems logical to me?

My answer is that I don't think any punishment for anything would have a logical value one way or other other, so the answer is null or n/a.

Logical inferences have values of logical (a.k.a. valid) or illogical (a.k.a. invalid).

Propositions have values of true (a.k.a. correct or right) versus false (a.k.a. incorrect or wrong).

Events and behaviors--such as spanking a person on their butt--have neither. Events and behaviors are neither true nor false. Events and behaviors are neither logically valid or logically invalid.
Ok, that's where we differ. Most, including myself definitely agree with incarceration for violent crimes and I would be satisfied with any punishment for non-violent crime that has a moderate chance of reducing that criminal from reoffending. Doesn't have to be incarceration.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by cosinus »

Let's think about the example with drugs.
When we stop punishing drug consumption, drug consumption is instantly legalized, no mater what the law says.
Legalizing drugs will probably reduce the power of the cartels. (Although there are things that speak against.)
But it will also increase the consumption, and therefor it will increase the number of people who lose control.
Those who lose control will eventually lose their job and become a liability to the society.
The Society must pay more taxes for rehab clinics until they start asking why we stopped punishing drug consumption in the first place.
The tax payers will leave the region, and move somewhere, where drug consumption is still forbidden.
Due to the lack of tax income, the infrastructure collapses, and prisons, police and education become to expensive.
At the end all you have is bad prisons, bad police, bad education. Sounds familiar doesn't it?
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton »

Scott wrote: March 23rd, 2021, 8:21 pm
A better reading of the Wikipedia page you provided, shows the following data:

Federal, 225,000 inmates, 7.90% (17,775) in for violent crime
State, 1,316,000, 52.40% (689,584) in for violent crime
Local, 785,556, 21.60% (169,680) in for violent crime
Total 2,326,556, 37.7% (877,039) in for violent crime

Thus, that gives us the answer for #1 and #2 of my requested stats:
Scott wrote: 1. percentage of inmates in USA who are charged or convicted of a violent crime (i.e. violent offenders)

2. percentage of inmates in the USA who are not charge with or convicted of a violent crime (i.e. non-violent offenders)

3. percentage of inmates who are "victimizers", according to your definition of victimization, but not violent (i.e. non-violent victimizers)
In theory, #1 and #2 need to equal 100%, and #3 needs to be less than #2 since #3 is a subset of #2.

#1 (violent offenders) is 37.7%.

#2 (non-violent offenders) is 62.3%

Do you know what #3 is?

We know it must be lower than #2 since it is a subset of #2.
You can derive that from the figures I gave earlier: "victimizers" comprise all violent offenders, all property offenders, and (perhaps) half of "public order" offenders. So about 65% of incarcerated persons are "victimizers." There are, however, many more "victimizers" than the number incarcerated, because most property crimes are not seriously investigated, so no arrests are made. Also, most convicted property offenders are not incarcerated, or are jailed for perfunctory periods. As a result they tend to be prolific repeat offenders.
I explain my answer to that question in reply to first comment on my post, Man is Not Fit to Govern Man: My Philosophy of Non-Violence, Self-Government, Self-Discipline, and Spiritual Freedom. Namely, it depends whether the word is used in the original Proudhonian sense or not.
That is another topic, though an interesting one.
I never said money "plays only a minor role" in politics.
The word you used above is "nil", which I would take as less than minor actually.
Nonetheless, I believe money plays a huge role in determining who gets elected and who gets excluded from being elected.
Yes, it does have a huge role there. If a candidate cannot communicate his agenda to voters he will have no chance of being elected. But being able to reach voters doesn't guarantee their votes.
I believe the billions of dollars collectively spent by companies like Facebook, Amazon, Comcast, and Lockheed Martin on lobbying is not wasted; I believe they are getting their money's worth.
Did the donors who contributed lavishly to the Trump campaign in the last US presidential election get their money's worth?
Due to the logical law of the excluded middle, it is necessarily the case that a given person either is (1) significantly abnormally psychologically more likely to commit violence or non-defensive victimization or is (2) not abnormally psychologically more likely to commit violence or non-defensive victimization.
As I said before the concept of "psychological abnormality" is too nebulous to have any analytical value. Most persons with diagnosed mental illnesses are not criminals. Moreover, the equation between "psychiatric illness" and crime tends to be circular --- the person is deemed "psychologically abnormal" just because he has committed crimes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537064/
Scott wrote:One thing I believe that you and I both want is to protect people from non-defensive violence and victimization.

Prisons are not needed for that.
GE Morton wrote: March 20th, 2021, 11:09 pm What are your alternatives?
Alternatives for what?
Excluding everyone who is abnormal in a way that makes them significantly more likely to commit non-defensive violence or non-defensive victimization, who do you want to be put in prison?
Well, first, we remove "abnormal" from the question, since it is undefined and thus analytically useless. And the only criterion we consider for deciding who is more likely to commit a crime is their own criminal history. As for who should be imprisoned other than "victimizers" --- no one.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton »

This answer got deleted from post:
Scott wrote: March 23rd, 2021, 8:21 pm
I never said money "plays only a minor role" in politics.
The word you used above is "nil", which I would take as less than minor actually.
I used "nil" in reference to a question about influence. Money having a role in politics doesn't imply that it influences how Congressmen or voters vote.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton »

So did this one:
Scott wrote: March 23rd, 2021, 8:21 pm
Prisons are not needed for that.
GE Morton wrote: March 20th, 2021, 11:09 pm What are your alternatives?
Alternatives for what?
To prisons, of course --- meaning any facility designed to sequester victimizers from the general population (their victim pool).
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton »

Steve3007 wrote: March 24th, 2021, 6:31 am One little tangential contribution I have to this topic for now:

I am strongly opposed to the idea that one of the purposes of prison is to inflict mental or physical torture on the inmates.
I agree.
Prisoners like those in the "Supermax" prison in Colorado, USA, are made to spend their entire remaining lives isolated from contact with other humans in a small cell, from which they're allowed out for solitary exercise one hour per day. I think that's an example of extreme mental torture. I oppose it regardless of the crime committed.
I also agree. Not only is it torture, it also ignores the losses and injuries suffered by the victims. Instead of being locked in a cell all day, those inmates should be forced to work in prison workhouses, earning money with which to compensate the victims of their crimes.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton »

Steve3007 wrote: March 24th, 2021, 7:04 am
Research seems to suggest that increasing the prison population doesn't reduce the incidence of crime. Countries with higher per-head prison populations don't generally have lower crime rates.
That is a misguided analysis. High crime rates yield higher inmate populations. If those incarcerated persons were released the crime rates would be even higher.
It costs a lot of money, keeps offenders in counterproductive environments and its most tangible positive effect is simply that it physically stops the offenders from re-offending while in prison. So if the ability/opportunity to re-offend can be significantly reduced while keeping the offender out of prison, using technology, then that seems to me a good thing. Electronic ankle tags were a start. How about expanding that general concept with the imaginative use of technology to ensure that the offender's movements are automatically and minutely tracked.
Those work fine until they are removed, which for most inmates will be within an hour after they are released. There is only one sure way to reduce crime rates --- remove criminals from the streets and keep them off.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton »

Steve3007 wrote: March 24th, 2021, 7:27 am I think an advantage of the above, if it can be achieved, is that it addresses (at least to some extent) the problem of trying to work out whether an offender is likely to re-offend when released from prison. That's currently done by crude methods employed by parole boards and is not very reliable, as mentioned earlier in this topic. But if an offender has been released then he is back in the environment in which it's possible to attempt to commit crimes, so the likelihood of attempted recidivism can be tested in a real world scenario, rather than simply being speculated on from his behaviour in prison.
The only reliable evidence for assessing an inmate's risk of recidivating is his past history. No inmate should be released until he has fully compensated all the victims of his crimes. And if he has been previously convicted of (real) crimes 3 or more times, never released.
Ideally, the technology would allow the released offender the freedom to make choices in life, but if he chose to go back to crime it would alert the authorities before the crime has actually been committed.
Huh? What technology would enable that?
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton »

Sculptor1 wrote: March 25th, 2021, 6:26 pm The biggest question about prisons is to ask what exactly are their fucntions and do they achieve those functions.

1. Deterence to teach criminal forebearance.
2. Encarceration to protect the public.
3, Vengeance to satify victims
4. Correctional to punish the criminals.
5. Rehabilitation.
I gave my answer to that in a previous post:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=346&start=570#p380687
My view is that 5 is the most important but least persued.
Quite the contrary. It is pursued almost universally in this country, at great expense. And it is largely ineffective and, indeed, counterproductive.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Pattern-chaser wrote: March 25th, 2021, 8:41 am I take your meaning to be that you would like to be made aware of unjust laws, but is it reasonable to expect your fellow citizens to go to barbaric American prisons to highlight these injustices for you?
Scott wrote: March 25th, 2021, 4:02 pm I am not sure what the context of the word expect is in the question. Namely, I'm not sure if you mean it in the context of desire or prediction. For instance, if I catch a stomach bug and everyone else I know who has had the same bug vomited, I would then expect to soon vomit myself, but I presumably wouldn't want or intentionally help that to happen per se.

I meant that it seems somewhat cruel for those who are imprisoned to be imprisoned just so that you can see the injustice of the law(s) that put them there. You know, as we all do, that some of the laws of your country are unjust. But surely your (our) duty is to those fellow citizens who are unjustly imprisoned, not just to use their incarceration as a reminder that we really ought to do something.... In such an instance the injustice is that these people are imprisoned!
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