Saturday, November 20, 2010

MSNBC Lockup

It might sound strange, but I frequently watch MSNBC Lockup of you who know me well, know that I work in a psychiatric prison in Texas.  So, why would I want to watch a television documentary about prison?

I do not know... I see a lot of my day to day work situations on TV. Validated. Explained. And, I learn from how other people handle these situations.

I think prisoners are the forgotten Americans: depending on the jurisdiction in which they are incarcerated, their rights and privileges vary, but they are Americans who have few personal freedoms.  Their criminal behavior has put them in this situation. 

Incarceration is to keep them away from society.  Hopefully to give them the time to think about
the error of their ways. And, while they are incarcerated, to keep them from committing additional crimes during that time. And, if they are in a situation that offers it, giving them the opportunity to learn new ways...

Because, unless they have a life sentence or a death penalty, the people who are in prison are going to be out in our society again.  And, if we do not help them while they are in prison, they are certainly going to continue their criminal behavior when they leave prison.

It would do society well to decide that we can invest in some of these people, and try to give them education, information, and habilitation to teach them about being pro-social....  The cost is high, but for every person reached, the return is even higher. 

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Blogger linda said...

One of my absolute favorite law school classes was criminal law. Among other things we learned there were that the philosophy of punishment has basically four parts: deterrence, retribution, incapacitation, and/or rehabilitation. Prison's "incapacitation" element is obvious, and among the more successful: if someone is not out there in the world, they can't commit crimes against the world out there (although, obviously, they can still commit crimes). The retribution element is also obvious, but a little sketchy--sure, prison sentence lengths vary by crime, but so many other factors also affect it. Deterrence is always a question - it works, but how well does it work? If it was completely successful, there wouldn't be any more prisons. Rehabilitation, though, suffers a lot in our current criminal justice system. I am an enthusiastic 100% supporter of "creative sentencing" for all four elements of punishment, and I thoroughly support thinking more about rehabilitation, the oft-neglected purpose of punishment.

November 21, 2010 2:02 PM  

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