Is prison sentencing soft on criminals hard on society?
Has softer punishments made society more dangerous and do criminals still fear going to prison? Are there any workable alternatives or should we just accept the situation as it is?
On the contrary, our prison system is hard on criminals and as a consequence harder on society, our recidivism rates (rates of released criminals who re-offend) ore the highest in the first world, places like Norway have less than half, why? Because their prisons reform and our punish, theirs teach prisoners skills and trades, our teach prisoners how to commit more crimes, theirs expose prisoners to education ours to violence and sexual abuse.
Theirs create prisoners who when released become valuable to society ours just further harden and criminalize them. For this we all pay the cost.
The statistics and facts speak for themselves.
I did notice that the UK reoffending rates are higher than the US yet we consider our prisons softer than the US model.
The opportunities in the countries you mention are a lot better than those to prisoners released in the US or UK.
My father worked in the NYC court and corrections system for years, and helped me get an up close look. For the average middle class citizen in America, prison is a place that has horrors beyond their wildest imaginations. For many people who grow up in slums, it's just a way of life and part of the culture that they have grown up around and simply don't fear. Comparing our prison system to those around the world depends very much on where in the world you compare it to. For example, my friends in the FBI tell me that the Russians in the organized crime network now dominating parts of Brooklyn have no fear of the US prison system. They think it is a joke. They refer to it as the "Hotel".
The biggest problem with the prison system in the US is not just reforming people. The prison system offers educational opportunities and ways to improve yourself for those who wish to participate. Some people don't wish to be reformed and can't be. From what I could see of the environment my father worked in was that we comingle non-violent felons with more serious criminals. Young kids sometimes make stupid mistakes. Perhaps an 18 year old stole a care and caused a non fatal accident. If he received a 6 month sentence in NYC, he was headed to Rikers Island. In Rikers...the inmates run the jail. And he needs to become a violent offender and possibly a killer to survive his sentence. Separating non-violent criminals from those that are hard core sociopaths would go along way to helping reform many offenders. Instead we often make violent offenders out of those that were not when they went in.
I agree with what you say but I believe there should still be Punishment, rehabilitation and release with prisons for varying degrees of crime.
Police have a job I couldn't do. They are forced to abide by laws that make no sense. Then people blame the police instead of the lawmakers. Off the subject...I feel sorry for all the good cops who are given a bad name by the fewer corrupt ones.
Corrections officers have it worse than the police. They literally go to jail everyday and work in a place where the inmates control almost everything.
Our prison system makes no sense to me. One person gets 20+ years for tax evasion and the other gets only 7 years for murder. Our system is too busy arresting petty non-violent criminals and letting violent criminals out early. A 9 time drunk driver get 5-7 years for a hit and run and serves 18 months...and gets back behind the wheel. Tell me...what is wrong with this picture???
There is still a belief that criminals are send to prison to BE punished rather than send to prison AS punishment. Please note the difference. If the authorities and the public-at-large would get this 'revenge thing' out of their craws they might be able to come up with some viable ways of real re-habiliation.
Quite obviously the Scaninavian countries are doing something right if 50% of their released prisoners do not re-offend. In our socieites it seems prison is a sort of an 'apprenticeship' towards being a bigger and better crook. So until a lot more is done to motivate and train prisoners to become good citizens, nothing much is going to change.
The problem is of course is that if there is no punishment then yet is no reason not to commit crime. If criminals think there will be benefits from crime they will do it all the more. The countries you talk about reserve jobs for the rehabilitated.
In my opinion, prison sentencing is tough on the poor, lenient with the wealthy and extremely lax when it comes to pedophiles. I prefaced my comment with "in my opinion" because I did not research my answer, rather it is my perception.
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