Is imprisonment supposed to be rehabilitative?

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by Explorer, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    I was talking with some people in real life about a recent situation, and one person said that jail was supposed to rehabilitate people.

    It's not that I think jail/prison isn't an opportunity to bring down the recidivism rate... but I don't think one should assume that rehabilitation is automatically one of the goals.

    I could immediately think of several circumstances where the goal was to prevent harm to people, to get offenders off the streets, even if those offenders weren't going to turn their life in a different direction.

    Anyway, I wondered if maybe I was off-base, and that rehabilitation was an assumption regarding confinement, as opposed to it being tacked on only in certain circumstances.

    What do you think?
     
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  2. AxeHappy

    AxeHappy SS.org Regular

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    I can't speak for America but when I took a law class in Grade 11 (and my sister was in Law school) rehabilitation was indeed one of the reason for jail versus say corporal punishment.
     
  3. TemjinStrife

    TemjinStrife Power Metal Cellist

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    Punishment, protection of others, and deterrence.

    There's rehabilitation potential there, but I don't see much of it with so many of my friends going into criminal law or working for DAs :lol:
     
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  4. Jakke

    Jakke Pretty wisdomous

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    I believe the ambition is to in part rehabilitate, but sadly that doesn't happen:noway:
     
  5. MFB

    MFB ExBendable

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    Depends which prison system you're talking about - I believe in America, our prison is the first step in a system of rehabilitation where from there you go to a half-way house where you stay, get a job, continue to assimilate back into society then move back into regular communities. Versus in Europe where the prison practically IS a half-way house and it seems to have more rehabilitation aspects in there unlike ours where it's ya know, jail.

    Maybe take a look at some statistics and see which country has the highest rehabilitation rate after prison then look at what's different between the prisons
     
  6. TemjinStrife

    TemjinStrife Power Metal Cellist

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    One big difference is that there is no for-profit private prison industry in Europe.
     
  7. Semichastny

    Semichastny SS.org Regular

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    The concept is supposed to be have rehabilitation involved but in practice it just is an attempt to make a person miserable enough sitting in a cage that they don't attempt their crime again. The problem is that the US prison system is overloading with non-violent drug offenders. There are also many crimes (varying in severity) that jail-time simply won't fix because the underlying issue of why they committed that crime is not addressed.
     
  8. Xaios

    Xaios Foolish Mortal Contributor

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    Prisons were originally meant to be rehabilitative. The concept of the penitentiary came from Quakers who believed that if you isolated a person for a long period of time, they would be able to reflect on their crimes while maintaining their dignity, which was thought to be an important ingredient in the rehabilitation process. Hence the name, penitentiary.

    Alas, didn't really work out it seems.
     
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  9. mr_rainmaker

    mr_rainmaker Resident Cherokee

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    I was a Corrections Officer for a few years.......


    there is almost no oversite,nuff said.
     
  10. flint757

    flint757 SS.org Regular

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    According to my sociology class prison is suppose to be rehabilitation, but because in action it is more about punishment it doesn't really do so good at rehabilitating. In fact it seems that it turns petty criminals into hardened criminals.

    Many are unwilling to put the proper funding into rehabilitation and when you consider the fact that you are penalized even after you are released (can't get a job) makes me think rehabilitation is no longer the goal at all.

    It is about punishment and deterrence which for the most part works in that aspect, but they should really keep criminals of the same caliber together only (something they try to do). For instance I don't think junkies should be in there with murderers. It should be subdivided because the mingling with hardened criminals seems to create really hardened criminals.

    Honestly I don't think the punishment and revenge thing works. I think if you commit a crime you should get punished just like when you are a kid and get in trouble, but if we don't rehabilitate criminals p[roperly all that is going to happen is they are going to end up back there and while personally that is there problem it is also a society problem and I think that trumps the personal responsibility aspect of it all.
     
  11. The Reverend

    The Reverend GHETTO KING OF SWAG

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    There's definitely supposed to be a rehabilitative aspect to prisons in America, but I think we all know they fall short of being that. I can tell you from personal experience that what programs do exist are more like empty gestures.
     
  12. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    One would really be stretching in saying that prisons, from the word prehendere (to seize), and jail, from the word caveola (little cage) were from the Quaker concept... especially since those words were in use for centuries before the Quakers even existed.

    And even when the Quakers were an important group in the colonies, so were those who would use the stocks to exact retribution for violating community standards, so I'd argue that rehabilitation was *not* the goal of even the majority of penal systems in the colonies at that point... assuming one wasn't just executed for a major crime.

    ----

    In fact, I suspect that the whole "incarceration as rehabilitation" idea is probably from the last 200 years at most, and only in small areas. I also suspect that incarceration has normally been a punitive measure for most of human history, and still is today.

    I could be wrong, though, and China, North Korea, African and Arabic nations, and the former Soviet Union are probably on the forefront of rehabilitative incarceration, no?
     
  13. Semichastny

    Semichastny SS.org Regular

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    If a person is drawn to criminal activity because of a broken family, substance issues, and bad friends/negative influences, then jail does not seem like the best place to put them. In that situation jail would only harden them, it would add stress into their family life, compound and cement substance problems, and introduce them to much worse people then they might have previously known.
     
  14. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    I'm trying to parse that out.

    I understand the idea that criminality might be nurture, instead of nature. I'd be more impressed if one could determine how much of a percentage of a person's decisions to engage in criminality are based on their free will, as opposed to their being unwilling to help it.

    Until then, is the argument that only the very top of the pyramid of criminals should be imprisoned, as only they don't have someone worse above them? So, only people like, say, Manson would be incarcerated?
     
  15. flint757

    flint757 SS.org Regular

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    My argument is people should get in trouble, but it should be tiered. The lesser the crime the more it should lean towards rehabilitation and the more severe (like Manson) it should be punishment. Considering we have the ability to imprison someone for their entire life or even the death penalty we are already capable and do punish those at the top, but I think we should try (to varying degrees) fix those who seem fixable. It is like I said it seems like you put a car thief in prison and he goes back again a murderer. That to me is a system that just doesn't work.
     
  16. The Reverend

    The Reverend GHETTO KING OF SWAG

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    I think you missed Xaios's point in a big way.

    He didn't imply that prisons are a recent idea, he said that penitentiaries were. In fact, the Eastern State Penitentiary was built according to the philosophy that keeping prisoners solitary would break their criminal identities, allowing them to reflect on their crimes, as well as hinder the ability of criminals to socialize. It's design and the philosophy behind are still being applied in every single modern prison. You were right about one thing though, it was constructed in the early 1800s.

    Xaios was wrong in that it wasn't Quakers who originated the idea, but the argument can definitely be made that such a monastic ideal had its roots in their philosophy.

    Incarceration should be reserved for only the more serious crimes. I think America has something like two million incarcerated people, so while it's not really a hot-button issue in my mind, it's definitely something that needs to change. Anyone who's done any time in a facility can tell you that it's torture. There is a real dehumanizing that goes on in those places, reducing men to dogs fighting for alpha status and petty privileges. Putting people who are nonviolent offenders in jail only results in them walking out of prison with more mental problems and even less ability to find gainful employment. It's only those who hurt people in a serious capacity, be it financially or physically, who should be locked up. For everyone else, it creates more social issues than it solves.
     
  17. Stealthdjentstic

    Stealthdjentstic Banned

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    It's too bad the American/Canadian systems don't put more stress on rehabilitation rather than sending people to The School of Criminals.
     
  18. TRENCHLORD

    TRENCHLORD Banned

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    Yeah it's hard to rehabilitate without rehabituating, meaning that the prisons just reinforce many of the bad habits that led them to their troubles in the first place.

    If we are going to let them out again some day, we better change their habits.
    Actually though, it's a complex problem that exceeds my normal thought commitment :lol:.
    I'm really not sure what I think.
     
  19. in-pursuit

    in-pursuit SS.org Regular

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    I've always thought that jail time for anything petty is really pointless. if you think about how people end up in jail for petty crimes, it doesn't make sense to lock them up as a solution to the problem. for example crimes related to substance abuse, possessing or using illegal drugs in quantities for personal use, also slightly related driving a motor vehicle under the influence, and then also petty theft and other less serious crimes related to drug and alcohol abuse. putting those people in jail doesn't address the root of the problem, and only really serves to push them further down the social heirarchy of life.

    people who go to jail for those sorts of things would benefit greatly from being in contact with people who can influence them positively and help them reflect on their crimes, maybe meeting once a week with a small group of people who have been affected themselves by the sorts of crimes the perpetrator has committed and maybe others who have been found guilty of those same crimes in the past but have changed their ways. I know that sort of thing happens in prison, but it's not necessary to throw some kid who got busted with pot in a cage and then try to force it down their throat. people tend to respond a lot better when they don't feel threatened and intimidated which is how I see the prison system from what friends have told me.

    on the other hand some people who don't get jail time for their crimes definitely should, and a lot of criminals sentences don't accurately reflect the seriousness of their crimes like paedophiles and corporate criminals.
     
  20. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    Actually, here is what he said, causing me to respond.

    And then he talked about the roots of the word penitentiary.

    ----

    For those seeking to convince me that rehabilitation is a good ide: You don't need to convince me thatincarceration is a good place to attempt it. I'm good with that.

    I also agree that there are many crimes which have incredibly out-of-proportion penalties.

    I agree that many crimes are better dealt with rehabilitatively than punitively.

    The one thing I don't agree with is that incarceration is automatically tied to rehabilitation efforts.

    A lot of the points advanced are arguing in favor of linking them, but if they were already linked... why would one have to argue in favor of what were already true?

    ----

    BTW, I have to withdraw an earlier point. I was reminded by someone that Communist China and the Soviet Union did/do engage in "rehabilitation" of prisoners, as did the fictional government of the book 1984.

    Of course, if one were to argue that one doesn't agree with what the "rehabilitation" was meant to accomplish... wouldn't that serve to demonstrate that "common assumptions" aren't really common?
     

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