The Carceral Problem Is Getting Worse
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The criminal justice reform bill, hopefully dubbed the First Step Act, represents a real accomplishment — a positive development in otherwise conservative times. It is all the more remarkable that a reactionary president, who ran a tough-on-crime campaign, is nowpoised to sign the bill.
But let’s not overstate matters. The bill essentially tweaks an otherwise punitive federal criminal justice system. It represents halting progress at best in efforts to scale back hyper-punishment.
The bill contains many commendable provisions. It ends the use of restraints on pregnant women prisoners. It includes provisions for hygiene and job training in prisons. It makes retroactive the 2010 sentencing reforms, which had reduced penalties for crack cocaine power to make them more consistent penalties for cocaine possession or distribution.
It culls back some mandatory minimums, notably reducing “three strikes you’re out” from a lifetime penalty to twenty-five years (a penalty that still remains in excess of the effective maximum penalties for the worst crimes in most developed democracies). It enhances awards for inmates’ good behavior. In all, a few thousand people will get out of federal prisons when the bill is signed into law by Trump, and over time a few thousand more will get out of prison earlier than they might have otherwise.
December 31, 2018 at 1:44 PM #6757NJCherParticipant
- Total Posts: 1,196
I could go on forever about why. It is so expensive and gets such poor results that it is only as bad as our medical system. Why we put up with these grossly inefficient and CRUEL systems is beyond me. We should be better than this.
The legal system that puts people there isn’t much better. The types of people attracted to the field are some of the worst human beings out there: stubborn, competitive, and mean-spirited without an ounce of generosity in their bodies.
Sometime in the last year or so, 60 Minutes featured prison systems of other countries. They are so much more enlightened than we are. Our system looks like a dungeon from the 1600s compared to theirs.
I think the worst part of our system is that it’s essentially a dumping ground for people the country doesn’t want to waste any time with, and that is pitiful. Every human should be encouraged to develop their talents. Everyone has something special about them. What is it and how do we bring that out?
December 31, 2018 at 2:05 PM #6766Ohio BarbarianModerator
- Total Posts: 20,599
Plus our for profit prisons are a neat way to get around the 13th Amendment, you know, the one that bans involuntary servitude. For that matter, when someone gets out to a halfway house they go to work at the Salvation Army or Goodwill or some public-private partnership outfit that puts them to work in cafeterias in public sector office buildings.
And they still get less than the legal minimum wage. Reprehensible.
It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs
You can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution.--Fred Hampton
December 31, 2018 at 4:29 PM #6823LaadeedaaParticipant
- Total Posts: 92
Particularly where juveniles and young adults are concerned – the primary focus in the video below.
But the US is still quite draconian, small-minded, punitive rather than rehabilitative; few U.S. leaders and probably not much of our population would be able to wrap their heads around the concept of offender accountability to the victim/those who were harmed, including the community at large, offender character development, and reparations, as opposed to locking people up for decades, forever, or worse.
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