Does Society Need Prisons?

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Pattern-chaser
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Pattern-chaser »

GE Morton wrote: March 28th, 2021, 10:02 am I agree that the "War on Drugs" is misguided and oppressive undertaking, and should be abandoned.
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GE Morton wrote: March 28th, 2021, 10:02 am It follows from the broader, paternalistic view of the role of government in a free society, that citizens are children and government is their mommy and daddy, obliged to feed them, house them, educate them, keep them healthy, and intervene when they make poor choices.

No, it doesn't follow from anything like that. The War on Drugs was created by the Nixon administration to exercise political control over sections of the population who might otherwise act in a politically undesirable fashion, such as voting for Democrats, or worse (if there is such a thing). By imprisoning activists, they could be prevented from voting. Nothing to do with 'nanny state' government.

Wikipedia wrote:The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did. — John Ehrlichman

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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton »

Sculptor1 wrote: March 27th, 2021, 2:11 pm
You simply do not appreciate the extent of the corruption in the US prison service.
It is simply not in the interests of a privately owned system to do effective rehab since that would reduce their repeat business
You've apparently ignored the facts I gave you in my last post. Private prisons house only a small fraction of US inmates. Most rehab programs --- > 90% --- are operated in government-run prisons. They are minimally effective in reducing recidivism, and in fact, are counter-productive: parole boards consider "successful" completion of a rehab program favorably when considering whether to release an inmate. But because most of those "rehabilitated" inmates will nonetheless re-offend, you end up with more predators on the streets.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

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GE Morton wrote: March 28th, 2021, 10:02 am But drug "criminals" make up only about 18% of US prison inmates (state and federal).
P.S. May I suggest that many other inmates are imprisoned because of murders and assaults they carried out as members of criminal drug-dealing gangs? These also are associated with the War on Drugs.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton »

Pattern-chaser wrote: March 28th, 2021, 10:12 am
No, it doesn't follow from anything like that. The War on Drugs was created by the Nixon administration to exercise political control over sections of the population who might otherwise act in a politically undesirable fashion, such as voting for Democrats, or worse (if there is such a thing). By imprisoning activists, they could be prevented from voting. Nothing to do with 'nanny state' government.
You're ignoring the scope of the "War on Drugs." That "war" was waged, not only by the Nixon administration, but by every successor administration, both Dem and Repub, and by all state governments, both Dem and Repub. Not to mention by the governments of many other countries. The new US president, Joe Biden, was for years a strident drug warrior.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics ... arceration

Whatever Nixon's motives may have been, that "war" had a huge buy-in across the political spectrum. You need a broader explanation for that than venality on Nixon's part.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton »

Pattern-chaser wrote: March 28th, 2021, 10:25 am
P.S. May I suggest that many other inmates are imprisoned because of murders and assaults they carried out as members of criminal drug-dealing gangs? These also are associated with the War on Drugs.
Oh, I agree that criminalizing the drug market spawns a great deal of crime. But the aims, motives, and affiliations of murderers and and other predators is irrelevant; only their acts count.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

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GE Morton wrote: March 28th, 2021, 10:20 am
Sculptor1 wrote: March 27th, 2021, 2:11 pm
You simply do not appreciate the extent of the corruption in the US prison service.
It is simply not in the interests of a privately owned system to do effective rehab since that would reduce their repeat business
You've apparently ignored the facts I gave you in my last post. Private prisons house only a small fraction of US inmates. Most rehab programs --- > 90% --- are operated in government-run prisons. They are minimally effective in reducing recidivism, and in fact, are counter-productive: parole boards consider "successful" completion of a rehab program favorably when considering whether to release an inmate. But because most of those "rehabilitated" inmates will nonetheless re-offend, you end up with more predators on the streets.
You've obviously not heard of the process of farming out services.
Poor attempts at rehab are not evidence that rehab cannot work.
You might want to extend your gaze beyond the failed state USA.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

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GE Morton wrote: March 28th, 2021, 10:51 am
Pattern-chaser wrote: March 28th, 2021, 10:25 am
P.S. May I suggest that many other inmates are imprisoned because of murders and assaults they carried out as members of criminal drug-dealing gangs? These also are associated with the War on Drugs.
Oh, I agree that criminalizing the drug market spawns a great deal of crime. But the aims, motives, and affiliations of murderers and and other predators is irrelevant; only their acts count.
Oh, indeed. But if their crimes - assaults, murders, and the like - are directly associated with the drugs trade, they too must be added to the 18% who (presumably) are in prison for breaking the drugs-possession laws. Perhaps 25% of prisoners are there because of drugs?

Just because the War on Drugs has been perpetuated by successive governments does not change its original intention: to disenfranchise political activists, not to prevent the sale and use of drugs. Just as you said about criminals, it applies to governments too: only their acts count.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Scott »

I think we can all agree that ending the war on drugs would indirectly cause a significant reduction in the amount of violent crime.

Violence begets violence.

People who grow up or live in a war zone tend to be more violent themselves.

As it is now, it is already the case that the majority of inmates in the USA are non-violent.

In other words, violent offenders are the minority not the majority, as it is already in the USA.

But even that can understate the degree to which the violent victimization is caused by the government's original initiation of non-defensive violence.

In other words, even of those who are violent offenders (the minority), in many of those cases the most effective and cheapest way to protect innocent people from that criminal violence is simply to first protect people from legal violent victimization (e.g. end the war on drugs).

To paraphrase Thoreau, a thousand people will hack away at the branches of a problem for every one who strikes at the root.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

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Scott wrote: March 29th, 2021, 4:00 pm I think we can all agree that ending the war on drugs would indirectly cause a significant reduction in the amount of violent crime.

Violence begets violence.

People who grow up or live in a war zone tend to be more violent themselves.

As it is now, it is already the case that the majority of inmates in the USA are non-violent.

In other words, violent offenders are the minority not the majority, as it is already in the USA.

But even that can understate the degree to which the violent victimization is caused by the government's original initiation of non-defensive violence.

In other words, even of those who are violent offenders (the minority), in many of those cases the most effective and cheapest way to protect innocent people from that criminal violence is simply to first protect people from legal violent victimization (e.g. end the war on drugs).

To paraphrase Thoreau, a thousand people will hack away at the branches of a problem for every one who strikes at the root.
"ending" the drug war isn't good enough, since it would depend on what the new situation is. Make drug use a misdemeanor? Make it legal to use but illegal to sell large amounts? Legal to sell but illegal to make? There are numerous ways to go. Some would keep the big money people intact and money begets violence.
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton »

Scott wrote: March 29th, 2021, 4:00 pm I think we can all agree that ending the war on drugs would indirectly cause a significant reduction in the amount of violent crime.
I agree. And a commensurate reduction in property crime.
As it is now, it is already the case that the majority of inmates in the USA are non-violent.

In other words, violent offenders are the minority not the majority, as it is already in the USA.
Non-violent, but not non-victimizers. You seem to consider property crimes to be of little or no concern. Why is that?
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by GE Morton »

LuckyR wrote: March 30th, 2021, 2:32 am There are numerous ways to go. Some would keep the big money people intact and money begets violence.
Huh? Do you mean that it arouses envy and resentment among persons who have less of it, who then resort to violence to secure more of it? If not, what do you mean?
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

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LuckyR wrote: March 30th, 2021, 2:32 am "ending" the drug war isn't good enough, since it would depend on what the new situation is. Make drug use a misdemeanor? Make it legal to use but illegal to sell large amounts? Legal to sell but illegal to mak? There are numerous ways to go. Some would keep the big money people intact and money begets violence.
I'm surprised that an American doesn't take up the Capitalist viewpoint: the state - or a licensed commercial representative - could produce and sell quality-controlled drugs, and they could and would generate profit, and tax revenue too. That assumes full decriminalisation of all drugs, of course - a policy that has delivered some significant successes in Portugal, and (I think) other countries too.

Once all drugs were legal, the formerly-illegal drugs trade would no longer be profitable. It justifies its prices because the traders in drugs take the risk of discovery and imprisonment. Legal drugs could be sold for half (?) the current price, with working quality-control and consistency, and still deliver a worthwhile profit... 🤔 And no obvious connection to violence either... 🤔



[Moderator's Note: Some replies to this post have been moved to a new topic, Marijuana Legalization Affects on Cost of Marijuana
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by Scott »

@LuckyR, I may have missed it, but I don't think you answered my below question:
Scott wrote: March 26th, 2021, 1:44 pm
Scott wrote: March 25th, 2021, 7:33 pm
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.
LuckyR wrote: March 26th, 2021, 2:46 am Ok, that's where we differ.
I am not sure what you mean. Where specifically is where we differ? Is there a specific sentence from the above post with which you disagree (or most disagree)? Which sentence(s) specifically in the above post do you think are untrue?
I think I could better understand your latter comments once I understand better the precise point in which our views are diverging on the above matter.

Scott wrote: As it is now, it is already the case that the majority of inmates in the USA are non-violent.

In other words, violent offenders are the minority not the majority
GE Morton wrote: March 30th, 2021, 9:13 am Non-violent, but not non-victimizers. You seem to consider property crimes to be of little or no concern. Why is that?
@GE Morton, I think we both agree that crimes can be roughly classified into three categories:


-- 1. violent
(e.g. murder, rape, or a marijuana smoker "resisting arrest" by pulling away while being handcuffed)

-- 2. non-violent but allegedly not victimless
(e.g. scratching a lover's car after catching the person cheating, forgetting to return a VHS movie rental, or using a relative's address to get your kids in a better school district)

-- 3. non-violent and victimless
(e.g. marijuana possession, consensual adult prostitution, pacifistic tax protesting, etc. )


I am very concerned with #3 in that it results in the violent non-defensive victimization of human beings by the government. I am also very concerned with #1 since it often entails non-defensive violence, similar to #3 but the non-defensive violence happens to be committed by citizen-upon-citizen rather than by a big organized government.

So, yes, I am more concerned with violent victimization (i.e. #1 and #3) than non-violent victimization. Are you not?

Most of Rosa Park's and Martin Luther King's crimes would likely be classified as #2 and/or as "property crimes" by your standards along with other cases of trespassing, right?

What about when someone gets arrested for calling a police offer a "pig", which is usually labeled as "disorderly conduct" or some kind of similar public order offense?

Would those kind of property crimes or public order offenses fall into #2 in your categorization?

Regardless, yes, I am much more worried about #3 and #1, which both by definition entail non-defensive violent victimization, then I am about nonviolent crimes.
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 LuckyR »

GE Morton wrote: March 30th, 2021, 9:18 am
LuckyR wrote: March 30th, 2021, 2:32 am There are numerous ways to go. Some would keep the big money people intact and money begets violence.
Huh? Do you mean that it arouses envy and resentment among persons who have less of it, who then resort to violence to secure more of it? If not, what do you mean?
If drug consumption is legal but manufacturing /smuggling is illegal, the cartels will still be in the money and they are the source of much, if not most of the violence.
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: Does Society Need Prisons?

Post by LuckyR »

Scott wrote: March 30th, 2021, 2:39 pm @LuckyR, I may have missed it, but I don't think you answered my below question:
Scott wrote: March 26th, 2021, 1:44 pm
Scott wrote: March 25th, 2021, 7:33 pm
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.
LuckyR wrote: March 26th, 2021, 2:46 am Ok, that's where we differ.
I am not sure what you mean. Where specifically is where we differ? Is there a specific sentence from the above post with which you disagree (or most disagree)? Which sentence(s) specifically in the above post do you think are untrue?
I think I could better understand your latter comments once I understand better the precise point in which our views are diverging on the above matter.
Well since we are speaking of our opinions, there are no untruths in your commentary. As to disagreements I do not share your red opinion. Perhaps my use of the word logical was confusing. When speaking of opinions, generally folks base their opinion on how the pieces of factual information fit together using their personal logic algorithm.
"As usual... it depends."
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