Poll

7 votes (35%)
6 votes (30%)
6 votes (30%)
10 votes (50%)
5 votes (25%)

20 members have voted

mkl654321
mkl654321
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February 3rd, 2011 at 12:31:02 AM permalink
Quote: Croupier

There is a lot of talk in Britain (mainly thanks to the European Court of Human Rights) about prisoner's Human Rights. As far as I am concerned, by commiting a crime, you have infringed upon the human rights of someone else, therefore you obviously do not value human rights, so yours are forfeit.

We dont really have such harsh prisons as MKL mentions, which I personally think is a shame.



But that kind of thinking is obviously flawed, in that it assumes that human rights are granted by the state and can therefore be taken away for cause. If it is wrong for the individual to take away someone's rights, then it is wrong for the state to do so, even as punishment. And by "taking away rights" I specifically mean not freedom per se, but the right to be treated as a human being.

And if a prisoner should not have human rights, as you suggest, does that mean his jailers have free rein to beat, torture, rape, or kill him?
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
P90
P90
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February 3rd, 2011 at 3:33:20 AM permalink
Quote: mkl654321

But that kind of thinking is obviously flawed, in that it assumes that human rights are granted by the state and can therefore be taken away for cause.


From the state's point of view, this is exactly the case.
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RonC
RonC
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February 3rd, 2011 at 4:12:55 AM permalink
I don't necessarily "like" the way some of these prisoners are treated but I don't have an alternative to present, so I don't feel like I should complain. I am not in the situation--I am neither the prisoner or the guard--but the prisoners are being held in "my" name because I am a part of the state and nation.

The prisoners shown on these shows have usually "earned" their way to the strictest confinement by failing to conform to the rules of the institution. Not only are they criminals, but they take it to the next level by being the most violent of the already violent group they share the prison with. They try to kill prisoners and guards, start fights, throw feces on guards, threaten people, etc. Their behavior is so far from the norm that I am not sure many of us in the noncriminal population can even understand it.

They are not all on life sentences. Some of the shows show them being released back in to society. That is scary in itself... Many of them end up right back in the prison system.

If you feel they way they are treated is unfair, how would you change it?
P90
P90
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February 3rd, 2011 at 4:24:33 AM permalink
Quote: RonC

They try to kill prisoners and guards, start fights, throw feces on guards, threaten people, etc. Their behavior is so far from the norm that I am not sure many of us in the noncriminal population can even understand it.


Why, I can certainly understand it. If I were put in a cell, I'd have a hard time containing myself from doing that. Killing someone would at least be something I could do to get closer to even. And it's not like they offer a wider range of alternatives there anyway.
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weaselman
weaselman
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February 3rd, 2011 at 4:48:16 AM permalink
I can't begin to imagine what you guys call "inhumane" about solitary confinement. It sounds like, if things continue going at this rate, a few years from now, people will be debating the humanity of internet deprivation, or whether a prisoner has a right to choose the make and model of his state provided car, or how many megabytes his mobile data plan should provide. Come on!

The argument that human rights are not provided by the state, and therefore should not be taken, is a good one in theory, but completely idealistic. What is the alternative? Close prisons, dismiss courts, and just let everybody do whatever they want?

As the solitude goes, I don't even see it as a punishment (not any more than internet deprivation anyway), if the guy is violent, and a threat to other inmates, he needs to be isolated. If he doesn't like it ... tough luck. If I were inside, I think, I'd pay to get that kind of treatment.

Regarding suicide, as somebody pointed out earlier, you can't forbid it, because it can't be punished. Even punishing attempted suicide is questionable - how do you punish somebody who is already serving a life sentence? Pretty much the only thing he's left is his life, and he doesn't value it anyway. A rule, that cannot be enforced, does not make sense, thus suicide should not be forbidden.
I think, it would be a good idea for the state to offer an option to substitute life sentence with the death penalty. Of course, it will never happen, because some would say, this is "inhumane" too.
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FleaStiff
FleaStiff
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February 3rd, 2011 at 6:12:50 AM permalink
AdSeg (Administrative Segregation) is the only reasonable alternative to the General Population. Snitches, Targets, Cops, etc. all get AdSeg because an assignment to the General Population is a death sentence. General Population usually eat in the Mess Hall but those with money in their accounts get a "spread" from the Commissary because the violence in the mess hall is so great a risk.

Scandinavian countries have almost pleasant prisons and people usually make appointments to report for their sentences. Most punishments are fines and fines are based on income, so a traffic infraction can cost thousands of dollars for wealthy drivers.
SFB
SFB
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February 3rd, 2011 at 6:53:37 AM permalink
Have ANY of us ever been in an actual prison?

Inmate or otherwise?

The "Lock-up" show is the extreme end of the prison population. Prisoners in that end of the spectrum, probably NEED to be in that type of confinement. They are that far outside of the "normal" prison population.

I have been to a prison. The infamous DC Governments Lorton Reformatory in 1987. (Now Closed) Not for a crime. But for a business transaction. I was supposed to meet some administrator, and walked up to the gate. I was buzzed in, my briefcase was searched, and I was told to go over to *that* building, the guard pointed across the lawn. There were plenty of people standing around.

I walk over towards that building, and the folks walking around walk over and start talking to me. "How you doing? What ya doing? Nice suit!" Whatever. I say "Thanks, nice day!" I get to the building, and the administrator walks out to greet me. I ask him who those folks out there are. He told me, "The prisoners, why?".

The vast majority of prisoners are in minimum confinement, and have many freedoms. Unlike the rest of us, they only can go to thier four walls of the prison, not where ever they want, be it LV, or Detroit, for that matter.

You can learn from the prison masters how to become a better thief, dealer, whatever, nothing new about that. And the majority of prisoners are in for drug crimes. And they should be diverted into treatment. Nothing much different about US prisons and overseas prisons, in many respects. THere are many attempts at reform of the prisoners. It is probably easier for a prisoner to get a college degree than someone the same age on the outside working and making $20k a year.

So, letting "lifers" commit suicide is fine by me. They won't. And that quality of life that they are being deprived of, can be improved by thier OWN choices. By following the rules, and then they move back into the general population.

JMVHO

SFB
mkl654321
mkl654321
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February 3rd, 2011 at 10:08:08 AM permalink
Quote: RonC

If you feel they way they are treated is unfair, how would you change it?



I didn't say "unfair", I said "inhumane". We neither have the stomach nor the practical ability to administer "fair" punishment to a violent criminal (for instance, raping him repeatedly then stabbing him to death, if that was his crime). There are obvious limits that we have imposed on the punishments we will administer.

How would I change it? I would not confine the inmate to such a small space for so long a period of time. I've seen "exercise cages" that are at least open to the outside and allow enough room for the prisoner to jog back and forth. I would allow the inmates more access to those facilities than one hour a day. I would also let them eat outside their cells--they could be shackled to the tables in the mess hall if potential violence is a problem.

I think that one of the major concerns--"humane", aside--is that you don't want to have to deal with an enraged, crazy inmate. But if a given inmate wasn't that way before, he sure as hell will be after you stick him in a box and deny him any communication with even the immediate outside world.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
mkl654321
mkl654321
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February 3rd, 2011 at 10:16:40 AM permalink
Quote: weaselman

I can't begin to imagine what you guys call "inhumane" about solitary confinement. It sounds like, if things continue going at this rate, a few years from now, people will be debating the humanity of internet deprivation, or whether a prisoner has a right to choose the make and model of his state provided car, or how many megabytes his mobile data plan should provide. Come on!

The argument that human rights are not provided by the state, and therefore should not be taken, is a good one in theory, but completely idealistic. What is the alternative? Close prisons, dismiss courts, and just let everybody do whatever they want?



Those are two fairly silly "reductio ad absurdum" arguments. We have obviously evolved as a society, and we consider many practices to be "cruel and unusual punishment" that were happily done in previous centuries. English prisons in the 19th century regularly starved and tortured inmates; they were forbidden to speak, to have visitors, to have or read books, to get medical attention, etc. etc. And good upstanding Victorians though that this was fair, just, and good--after all, they were "only" criminals. They would have viewed feeding prisoners edible food, or giving them a pillow and a blanket, as being ridiculously soft on them.

The argument that we can't impose law and punishment because those things violate human rights is ludicrous. We can acknowledge that a convicted criminal retains all those human rights that the courts do not specifically take away. A prisoner no longer has a right to freedom, but does he have a right to life and the pursuit of happiness, to name the other two "fundamental" human rights? I would think so, since the court didn't take those rights away.
The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.---George Bernard Shaw
dm
dm
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February 3rd, 2011 at 12:21:20 PM permalink
I voted for "allow" but I would have been happier with "demand."

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