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Posted: 7/20/2008 9:10:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/20/2008 9:11:50 AM EDT by Johnny_Reno]
It seems to me that today's prisons are ineffective at reforming prisoners. What they are effective at are taking criminals off the street and isolating them from the populace for a set period of time. After this time, they are released back onto the street to take out whatever pent-up aggression and ideas that they have cooked up during their incarceration.

An idea that I have had regarding prison reform would begin in the courtroom at sentencing. Instead of sentencing a convict for a period to be confined, the convict would be sentenced to a period to be confined at good behavior.

When the prisoner would enter the prison, he would be put in a maximum supervision unit. He would not be allowed any luxuries such as TV, books etc. During this time, the prisoner would be reminded that his current situation and unhappiness with it are a direct result of his behavior. The prisoner would be told that after a pre-determined period of good behavior, he could be transferred to another wing in the prison which offered greater creature comforts. If the prisoner at any time demonstrated any anti-social behavior, he would have his "time-clock" reset and returned to the sparse accommodations that he had just left.

Infractions that would result in punishment are those infractions that should not be tolerated on the outside. Gang affiliation, drugs, assaults, stealing, disrespect towards correctional officers - all would result in suspension of privileges and return to the maximum supervision unit.

Prisoners who do not demonstrate those antisocial behaviors would be allowed to gradually increase their privileges and personal freedoms by demonstrating proper behavior until they reach the top rung of the incarceration ladder. At this point, they start their "good behavior" sentence. Any time spent getting to the top rung does not count in determining time spent behind bars.

Prisoners at the top of this ladder would have to work 40 hours per week and would receive compensation for their work. They would live in unlocked cells and would have a set of rules to follow. As long as they satisfactorily abide by these rules, they continue to run their time off of their "good behavior" sentence.

The point:

Prisoners are not rewarded (taking time off of their sentence) for merely existing in prison. Their sentences are only reduced by demonstrating those behaviors that the public will demand of them when they are released. If it takes the prisoner only 90 days to reach this point, then he will benefit from his behavior and serve less time in the prison. If it takes the prisoner three years to develop good behavior, then he will end up with a longer term behind bars. If he never develops the ability to control his behavior, then he can sit behind bars for the rest of his life and society will be better off without him.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 9:29:36 AM EDT
The legal system is 99% ineffective. The only useful thing it does is remove certain people who are too antisocial to be among us. Jail/Prison should be limited to the traditional felonies and other infractions (such as DUI) that present a clear threat to the public.

All vice and/or regulatory "crimes" need to be reduced to fines only.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 9:34:19 AM EDT
though ive had a lot of corrections classes and learned a lot, ill try to hold off until some Correctional Officers chime in with their knowledge.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 9:35:46 AM EDT
Your entire idea is based on the belief that prisoners can be reformed.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 9:36:22 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SlipShot762:
though ive had a lot of corrections classes and learned a lot, ill try to hold off until some Correctional Officers chime in with their knowledge.



I'd be interested to hear their opinions as well.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 9:38:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By roboman:
Your entire idea is based on the belief that prisoners can be reformed.



Wrong.

My intent is to release those that can demonstrate good behavior and to keep incarcerated those that can't.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 9:39:22 AM EDT
My answer would more prison labor so they can lessen the tax payers burden and pay their own damn room and board.

Also, shit like drugs and prostitution should not end up with jail sentences.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 9:39:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By roboman:
Your entire idea is based on the belief that prisoners can be reformed.


Well, to his credit, his idea handles the ones who CAN NOT be reformed, with a de-facto life sentence...
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 9:40:47 AM EDT

Your entire idea is based on the belief that prisoners can be reformed.


thats just it, some can, some cant. There is no single criminal archtype that catches them all and defines them. The guy in your avatar couldnt be reformed....but did he belong in a prison or an asylum?

Our good buddy olofson is going to or is in prison, can he be reformed you think? Does he even need to be reformed? He just a scumbag now forever more becuz he can be labeled convict?
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 9:48:08 AM EDT
I think you have some pretty good ideas there.,I know what 's going on now is NOT working.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 9:50:27 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Johnny_Reno:


Interesting idea. I think it has merit - other than the sheer cost of implementing it.

Going off of current recidivism rates, I think "boot camp" style incarceration, especially for the less serious offenses, should be used more often.

I'd add education, as well as a 40 hour work week, to your "good behaviour" level. Something along the lines of the must have a GED to be released, or if they have one, appropriate vocational/associates degree.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 9:51:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Lefthandpath:
My answer would more prison labor so they can lessen the tax payers burden and pay their own damn room and board.




My idea requires work on the part of the inmates as the path to their release.

As a result, the prison would have an immense workforce.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 9:54:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Johnny_Reno:

Instead of sentencing a convict for a period to be confined, the convict would be sentenced to a period to be confined at good behavior.

If he never develops the ability to control his behavior, then he can sit behind bars for the rest of his life and society will be better off without him.


Given the history of the U.S. prison system there would be far, far too much potential for abuse. The jail officials now essentially have absolute power over the criminal because they can simply "fail" him and keep him in jail forever. It would not end well.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 9:59:30 AM EDT

Originally Posted By happycynic:

Originally Posted By Johnny_Reno:

Instead of sentencing a convict for a period to be confined, the convict would be sentenced to a period to be confined at good behavior.

If he never develops the ability to control his behavior, then he can sit behind bars for the rest of his life and society will be better off without him.


Given the history of the U.S. prison system there would be far, far too much potential for abuse. The jail officials now essentially have absolute power over the criminal because they can simply "fail" him and keep him in jail forever. It would not end well.



Undoubtedly, there would be abuses in the system.

Having said that, I believe it would be a 100 fold improvement over the system that we have now.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 10:01:37 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Johnny_Reno:

Originally Posted By happycynic:

Originally Posted By Johnny_Reno:

Instead of sentencing a convict for a period to be confined, the convict would be sentenced to a period to be confined at good behavior.

If he never develops the ability to control his behavior, then he can sit behind bars for the rest of his life and society will be better off without him.


Given the history of the U.S. prison system there would be far, far too much potential for abuse. The jail officials now essentially have absolute power over the criminal because they can simply "fail" him and keep him in jail forever. It would not end well.



Undoubtedly, there would be abuses in the system.

Having said that, I believe it would be a 100 fold improvement over the system that we have now.


You would have to put an absolute upper limit on a sentence to be in any way viable. It would simply be unjust to keep someone locked up for 20 years for a first offense DUI because they refused to play the game.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 10:10:57 AM EDT

Originally Posted By happycynic:

Originally Posted By Johnny_Reno:

Originally Posted By happycynic:

Originally Posted By Johnny_Reno:

Instead of sentencing a convict for a period to be confined, the convict would be sentenced to a period to be confined at good behavior.

If he never develops the ability to control his behavior, then he can sit behind bars for the rest of his life and society will be better off without him.


Given the history of the U.S. prison system there would be far, far too much potential for abuse. The jail officials now essentially have absolute power over the criminal because they can simply "fail" him and keep him in jail forever. It would not end well.



Undoubtedly, there would be abuses in the system.

Having said that, I believe it would be a 100 fold improvement over the system that we have now.


You would have to put an absolute upper limit on a sentence to be in any way viable. It would simply be unjust to keep someone locked up for 20 years for a first offense DUI because they refused to play the game.



I've never heard of someone being given a prison sentence for first offense DUI.

Have you?
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 10:13:47 AM EDT
Convicted of a capital crime? You get 1 appeal within the 1st year after conviction. After that, you will hang or fry the Friday following the anniversary date. Make justice swift.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 10:18:55 AM EDT
The only prison reform that will have any kind of impact is a reform of the entire Justice System(sic). The USA has the highest incarceration rate in the world because we criminalize everything. You don't have to be violent or a threat to anyone or public order to be shoved in a prison. Early release comes from one factor: overcrowding of prisons. Overcrowding comes from one factor: too many people going to prison for petty bullshit.

Compare the average prison sentences (time served, not what was put down on paper at the conclusion of the trial) for someone convicted of Second Degree Murder and someone that has a dozen convictions for "Check Fraud" and you'll find your problem. Prisons are a symptom, not the disease.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 10:33:18 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/20/2008 10:34:51 AM EDT by Paveway_]
IMHO prison is about punishment, not reform. People that don't go to prison (IE straight parolees, probation, house arrest, community service) are those that are capable of being reformed. If something is serious enough to warrant prison, then you've already established that they are beyond reform. Sentencing statutes and federal guidelines should reflect the above.

Prison should be 22 hours of solitary confinement. 2 hours would be allowed each day for running and walking exercise in solitary 'exercise' cells with a treadmill, bike, or stair master. No weight lifting. All other exercise can be done in the prisoner's cell (push ups, sit ups, pull ups). Bad behavior with in these limited confines results in taking away some creature comforts like TV (limited to news, weather, and educational channels), even taking away exercise cell privileges. Food is served to each cell. No community cafeterias.

This provides a much safer environment for guards and prisoners alike. Eliminates the breeding ground for gang problems with in prison; eliminates convict on convict violence, rape/sex, communication and plotting of riots/escapes/murders.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 10:49:47 AM EDT
While all of that sounds like an interesting idea, there are some major problems that I see.

There are people who will never get out of the extreme lockup section who really are not bad people. Some people simply cannot control themselves. That does not mean they are a real threat to society but such a structured environment will not change who they are. Plenty of people go to jail/prison for truly victimless or petty crimes. If you have never worked with this type of person it might be hard to believe, but there are many of them out there.

The biggest problem I see are those who should never get released from prison but in that format would be out pretty quickly. The best example I can think of was a client of mine convicted of murder and armed robbery. He spent almost 19 months in jail prior to trial and never had a single problem; no discipline issues, no infractions, etc. He was always very polite and never even raised his voice. The structure of jail was easy for him. If he is ever released, I am almost positive he would kill again. He had absolutely no remorse and no emotion when he was sentenced to life.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 10:59:18 AM EDT

Originally Posted By schneecat:
While all of that sounds like an interesting idea, there are some major problems that I see.

There are people who will never get out of the extreme lockup section who really are not bad people. Some people simply cannot control themselves. That does not mean they are a real threat to society but such a structured environment will not change who they are. Plenty of people go to jail/prison for truly victimless or petty crimes. If you have never worked with this type of person it might be hard to believe, but there are many of them out there.

Lack of self control = threat to society. Period... That lack of self control is, very likely, what put them in prison... If they cannot adress it, why let them out?

The biggest problem I see are those who should never get released from prison but in that format would be out pretty quickly. The best example I can think of was a client of mine convicted of murder and armed robbery. He spent almost 19 months in jail prior to trial and never had a single problem; no discipline issues, no infractions, etc. He was always very polite and never even raised his voice. The structure of jail was easy for him. If he is ever released, I am almost positive he would kill again. He had absolutely no remorse and no emotion when he was sentenced to life.

The OP's plan, would be that the above guy would start his 'life' sentence after working his way up... Sentence service started AFTER good behavior was established
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 11:00:55 AM EDT
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 11:01:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Dave_A:

Originally Posted By schneecat:
While all of that sounds like an interesting idea, there are some major problems that I see.

There are people who will never get out of the extreme lockup section who really are not bad people. Some people simply cannot control themselves. That does not mean they are a real threat to society but such a structured environment will not change who they are. Plenty of people go to jail/prison for truly victimless or petty crimes. If you have never worked with this type of person it might be hard to believe, but there are many of them out there.

Lack of self control = threat to society. Period... That lack of self control is, very likely, what put them in prison... If they cannot adress it, why let them out?

The biggest problem I see are those who should never get released from prison but in that format would be out pretty quickly. The best example I can think of was a client of mine convicted of murder and armed robbery. He spent almost 19 months in jail prior to trial and never had a single problem; no discipline issues, no infractions, etc. He was always very polite and never even raised his voice. The structure of jail was easy for him. If he is ever released, I am almost positive he would kill again. He had absolutely no remorse and no emotion when he was sentenced to life.

The OP's plan, would be that the above guy would start his 'life' sentence after working his way up... Sentence service started AFTER good behavior was established



Yup.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 11:04:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Old_Painless:

I would give the prisoners 1 year to get out of Max. If they can't learn to do that in a year, execute them. Why should society feed and house those that are dangerous and will not change?




To tell you the truth, I'm okay with that. However, we know that society won't allow that to happen.

So, I figure the best alternative is to keep them locked up. The one's trying to get themselves released will cover the labor and expense of keeping the incorrigible away from the rest of society.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 11:05:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/20/2008 11:13:43 AM EDT by FACTS]

Originally Posted By Johnny_Reno:
It seems to me that today's prisons are ineffective at reforming prisoners. What they are effective at are taking criminals off the street and isolating them from the populace for a set period of time. After this time, they are released back onto the street to take out whatever pent-up aggression and ideas that they have cooked up during their incarceration.

An idea that I have had regarding prison reform would begin in the courtroom at sentencing. Instead of sentencing a convict for a period to be confined, the convict would be sentenced to a period to be confined at good behavior.

When the prisoner would enter the prison, he would be put in a maximum supervision unit. He would not be allowed any luxuries such as TV, books etc. During this time, the prisoner would be reminded that his current situation and unhappiness with it are a direct result of his behavior. The prisoner would be told that after a pre-determined period of good behavior, he could be transferred to another wing in the prison which offered greater creature comforts. If the prisoner at any time demonstrated any anti-social behavior, he would have his "time-clock" reset and returned to the sparse accommodations that he had just left.

Infractions that would result in punishment are those infractions that should not be tolerated on the outside. Gang affiliation, drugs, assaults, stealing, disrespect towards correctional officers - all would result in suspension of privileges and return to the maximum supervision unit.

Prisoners who do not demonstrate those antisocial behaviors would be allowed to gradually increase their privileges and personal freedoms by demonstrating proper behavior until they reach the top rung of the incarceration ladder. At this point, they start their "good behavior" sentence. Any time spent getting to the top rung does not count in determining time spent behind bars.

Prisoners at the top of this ladder would have to work 40 hours per week and would receive compensation for their work. They would live in unlocked cells and would have a set of rules to follow. As long as they satisfactorily abide by these rules, they continue to run their time off of their "good behavior" sentence.

The point:

Prisoners are not rewarded (taking time off of their sentence) for merely existing in prison. Their sentences are only reduced by demonstrating those behaviors that the public will demand of them when they are released. If it takes the prisoner only 90 days to reach this point, then he will benefit from his behavior and serve less time in the prison. If it takes the prisoner three years to develop good behavior, then he will end up with a longer term behind bars. If he never develops the ability to control his behavior, then he can sit behind bars for the rest of his life and society will be better off without him.



Prision is supposed to be a deturent to crime. It is in no way, no how a rehab center. It should be so painfull as to not make you want to come back.

I'm not sure what the hell people are thinking but this is the same argument about the death penalty.

If the Death Penalty doesn't exist then 1 death is the the same as 1000 deaths in the eye of the killer.

There has to be an ultimate penalty.

The only thing that will reabilatate people is pain.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 11:09:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Old_Painless:
Many folks that have never dealt with criminals do not really understand them. Most criminals do not want to change at all. They are the way they are because they want to be like that. Your system would "force" them to learn to behave or suffer the consequences.



Right.

Those that refuse to act in a civil manner will be kept in an area where they can do the least damage to society.

Those that have learned antisocial patterns of behavior must demonstrate in a long term fashion that they have learned correct patterns of behavior and live in accordance with those patterns.

Link Posted: 7/20/2008 11:10:03 AM EDT

Originally Posted By happycynic:

Originally Posted By Johnny_Reno:

Instead of sentencing a convict for a period to be confined, the convict would be sentenced to a period to be confined at good behavior.

If he never develops the ability to control his behavior, then he can sit behind bars for the rest of his life and society will be better off without him.


Given the history of the U.S. prison system there would be far, far too much potential for abuse. The jail officials now essentially have absolute power over the criminal because they can simply "fail" him and keep him in jail forever. It would not end well.


This was my immediate impression as well. There's too much room for abuse with that method. Someone could be an absolute angel inside, and an offical with a grudge or an agenda could keep them there forever.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 11:11:03 AM EDT
Seperate the populations

Violent and non-violent and cut way back on creature comforts they have in the prison system.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 11:14:46 AM EDT
Nice to make believe...

*1 Prisons must be self sufficient as they were back in the day. Dairy, meat, agriculture, textile etc etc.
*2 Prisoners must be grouped accordingly to type of crime and criminal history; there is no reason to mix i.e. low-level "victimless" (yeah right) criminals with hard-core criminals.
*3 Programs need to be focused to those that have a greater chance at not coming back into the system. Education, Vocations, and less incarceration time.
*4 Hard Labor needs to return even if its breaking rocks for Max and Death row
*5 More focus to drug and alcohol intervention
*6 From medium custody up remove accommodations, such as TV's Stereo's Commissary and weight piles etc. visitation, law libraries, property, and care packages
*7 any second time offender goes to max period
*8 3 strikes your out.
*9 Execution dates given and administered following the day after their 3rd year anniversary.
10* Classified gang members = life term
11* All Sex offenders life term
12* Reduce all the religion request special treatment stuff, give them a Bible/Koran what eva and be done.
13* All Juvenal’s entering at age 15.5 will be held in limbo until age 18 then transferred into the adult system to serve their sentence,

I could go on and on. Would things like this work? Who knows? But it would be interesting to watch and see how it shakes out after 30 years. Max custody beds and costs would rise but on the lower end of the scale we may make leaps and bounds.

ST~


Link Posted: 7/20/2008 11:14:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By FACTS:

Prision is supposed to be a deturent to crime. It is in no way, no how a rehab center. It should be so painfull as to not make you want to come back.

I'm not sure what the hell people are thinking but this is the same argument about the death penalty.

If the DP doesn't exist then 1 death is the the same as 1000 deaths in the eye of the killer.

There has to be an ultimate penalty.

The only thing that will reabilatate people is pain.



My plan still calls for incarceration of the prisoner.

However, it uses the same technique that we use to train our pets. Behave and get scratched behind the ear. Misbehave and get swatted with the rolled up newspaper.

If your sole method of instruction is pain, your going to get bit in the ass when you go to sleep.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 3:57:59 PM EDT


Bump for the opinion of any Arfcom COs.
Link Posted: 7/20/2008 6:33:17 PM EDT
Good behavior inside rarely translates to good behavior on the outside. Most revert to the same old fucked up pattern. Work in a county jail for awhile and you will see the same old faces, month after month, year after year. Then finally they graduate to D.O.C. time. I'm convinced that for most it is all they expect out of life. They become professional inmates and there is no hope for them.
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