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Thread: The US(and maybe other countries) Prison System

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    The US(and maybe other countries) Prison System

    So this discussion has spawned inside the Millennials and Racism thread, and instead of derailing that thread further, I figure we should move to a new thread. Quoted below are the applicable posts from the other topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophichius View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cue1* View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Aea View Post
    What's interesting is that while this is backed up by statistics, black people are generally prosecuted MUCH MUCH more harshly compared to white people in the United States for the same crimes. This is even when adjusted for factors like income, education, etc. There is arguably some racism here. The problem for me is that this is the problem that needs to be solved. Giving people a "leg up" in other areas doesn't do anything to address this problem.

    It's a bit of a catch 22. Black people generally receive harsher punishments because the idea is that they are repeat offenders. The longer that they stay off the street, the better. They're considered repeat offenders because statistically they ARE. However, the reason that they're repeat offenders is often because they get harsh punishments, spend years in prison, and are unable to adapt to civilian life once they're out, so they turn back to crime, making the statistic true.


    From the LEO side, part of the problem is that for many criminals, prison isn't a punishment. For a lot of gangs, prison is college, where they learn from their elders. For the more business oriented, prison is often just a different customer base. Worse yet, the people who might try to reform their lives after prison find it hard to do so because of the stigma involved for one, but mostly because they don't know how to return to being civilians. I know this is a bit of a side track, but this -much like anything else in the world worth discussing- has a lot of other things that loop into it.

    It seems to me that the answer here is bloody simple: Fix our fucking prisons.


    US prisons are not run as rehabilitation facilities, just as long duration holding pens and torture facilities. So yeah, no shit anyone going into one of those isn't going to improve. We need to adopt a treatment model for our prison system, but between the profitability of private prisons, and the lack of political will to see criminals as people, we'll never, ever actually do that.


    -O



    Quote Originally Posted by Keorythe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophichius View Post
    US prisons are not run as rehabilitation facilities, just as long duration holding pens and torture facilities. So yeah, no shit anyone going into one of those isn't going to improve. We need to adopt a treatment model for our prison system, but between the profitability of private prisons, and the lack of political will to see criminals as people, we'll never, ever actually do that.


    -O

    I gotta disagree with you there. The prisons aren't the problem. While we can argue whether they're intended to be rehabilitation or punitive centers is kind of moot. Rehabilitation is bullshit. Once a person does their time, they're still screwed in life. The ability to get a decent job is very small in the US. Access to a number of benefits regular citizens enjoy is gone. Crime re-occurs for many because it's the easier option to make ends meet.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophichius View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cue1* View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Keorythe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophichius View Post
    US prisons are not run as rehabilitation facilities, just as long duration holding pens and torture facilities. So yeah, no shit anyone going into one of those isn't going to improve. We need to adopt a treatment model for our prison system, but between the profitability of private prisons, and the lack of political will to see criminals as people, we'll never, ever actually do that.


    -O

    I gotta disagree with you there. The prisons aren't the problem. While we can argue whether they're intended to be rehabilitation or punitive centers is kind of moot. Rehabilitation is bullshit. Once a person does their time, they're still screwed in life. The ability to get a decent job is very small in the US. Access to a number of benefits regular citizens enjoy is gone. Crime re-occurs for many because it's the easier option to make ends meet.


    But this applies to every race.


    As to Aea's original point. Can you point me to the race that has the culture that promotes crime as a positive in music, media, and dress?

    Agree with Keorythe here. The prisons themselves are not the problem. Yes, they are holding pens, that's the intended function. Working as intended. Serious criminal offender is not on the streets to offend again. The issue is when they get out. Congrats, you did your time, now you're free to go, and we don't want to see you ever again. Except there's nothing to ease them into society. And even if there were, the rest of your life is a sigma. Good luck getting work in the first seven years when you have to report being a felon to any potential employer.

    The prisons are not the sole problem, they are however a major part of the problem. Keorythe, why do you believe rehabilitation is bullshit? You've basically conceded every single point for why rehabilitation should be a focus. Felons have very limited employment opportunities after prison, though realistically they didn't have them before either. They tend to turn to crime because they can't make the system work for them, so they work outside it. Rehabilitation should be focused on teaching useful work and life skills to prevent them from simply going right back to crime to support themselves.


    And Cue1, if you really just want criminals off the street and don't care about rehabilitating them, you may as well just go all the way to summary execution of the convicted. You've just written them off as ever being worthwhile members of society. Prison is the only point in that cycle where the state has significant ability to alter the individual, throwing that opportunity away because it's expensive, or difficult, or not 100% effective, or because you personally find the idea of (god forbid) helping criminals to be abhorrent is cowardly and pathetic.


    -O



    Quote Originally Posted by Straight Hustlin View Post
    To be fair, if the War on Drugs retardedness ever finally stops, I think we would see a huge drop in the prison pops, especially among minorities.


    But the prison companies and the guard unions are doing everything they possibly can to prevent that from happening.

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    Movember 2011Donor Cue1*'s Avatar
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    For organization sake, I'm going to double post to put my reply in.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophichius View Post
    And Cue1, if you really just want criminals off the street and don't care about rehabilitating them, you may as well just go all the way to summary execution of the convicted. You've just written them off as ever being worthwhile members of society. Prison is the only point in that cycle where the state has significant ability to alter the individual, throwing that opportunity away because it's expensive, or difficult, or not 100% effective, or because you personally find the idea of (god forbid) helping criminals to be abhorrent is cowardly and pathetic.
    Ah yes, because wanting a violent criminal off the street for a significant amount of time is the same as wishing him dead. Gotcha.

    For someone to reform, they have to WANT to reform. You can't pick up a three time felon, shove reform down his throat, and get an ideal model of society out of him; it just doesn't work that way. Which is why a lot of states have a three strikes rule. There are already a lot of programs to help the people who want to reform in prison. Christ, people can get their Bachelors in prison for pretty cheap. The issue isn't in prison, it's outside of it. So you've got a Bachelors in business, now what? No one will hire you, because you're a convicted felon. You can't make enough to live somewhere other than the slums, which surprise surprise, are crime infested. The fix needs to be something around the part after prison. Yes, there could be MORE opportunity for reform offered in prison, but you can't force it. For the people who don't want to reform, the best thing you can do is stop them from offending again, AKA keep them in prison as long as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Straight Hustlin View Post
    To be fair, if the War on Drugs retardedness ever finally stops, I think we would see a huge drop in the prison pops, especially among minorities.

    But the prison companies and the guard unions are doing everything they possibly can to prevent that from happening.
    I'm actually a pretty firm believer in decriminalizing a lot of the softer drugs. Not legalizing mind you, just stop making possession a long term prison sentence. Confiscate the drugs, give them a bill for what they owe in taxes on the drugs, fine them some money, and offer rehab programs. But putting a drug user in prison doesn't really help anything. The dealers shouldn't get any lighter punishment, so possession with intent to distribute shouldn't change, or maybe it should get even harsher.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cue1* View Post
    Ah yes, because wanting a violent criminal off the street for a significant amount of time is the same as wishing him dead. Gotcha.
    You've just admitted that you see them as irredeemable, that you believe prisons' only function is to cage the criminal until they must be released by law and that having them off the streets for longer is better. The conclusion to that line of thought is that having them off the streets forever would be best, and since you've ruled out rehabilitation as an option, that leaves execution as the simplest, most assured method of keeping them off the streets forever. I'm just following your logic to its endpoint.

    For someone to reform, they have to WANT to reform. You can't pick up a three time felon, shove reform down his throat, and get an ideal model of society out of him; it just doesn't work that way. Which is why a lot of states have a three strikes rule. There are already a lot of programs to help the people who want to reform in prison. Christ, people can get their Bachelors in prison for pretty cheap. The issue isn't in prison, it's outside of it. So you've got a Bachelors in business, now what? No one will hire you, because you're a convicted felon. You can't make enough to live somewhere other than the slums, which surprise surprise, are crime infested. The fix needs to be something around the part after prison. Yes, there could be MORE opportunity for reform offered in prison, but you can't force it. For the people who don't want to reform, the best thing you can do is stop them from offending again, AKA keep them in prison as long as possible.
    And this is where you're incorrect. BF Skinner proved that if you control an organism's environment you absolutely can alter its decision-making process, and it will retain those trained behaviors. Humans are no different (In point of fact, behavioral psychology is dedicated to this.) Designing a prison system in such a way that it creates a reward/punishment schedule to break down undesirable behavior and encourage desirable behavior is absolutely doable. We usually couch this in terms like 'counseling' and 'therapy', but at its core, we're talking about behavioral modification via operant conditioning.

    'They have to want to change' is a cop out. It ignores the fact that a prison is an entirely controlled environment. It's the easiest point in the whole criminal cycle to actually change people. Yes, in order to have maximum success it needs to coincide with changing the environments that prisoners are released into, but the scope of -that- set of changes is orders of magnitude larger. Changing prisons is the efficient point to start.

    -O
    I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those Thukkers, that way I wouldn't have to have any goddamn stupid useless conversations with anybody.
    Failing the Voight-Kampff test, one tortoise at a time.

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    Movember 2011Donor Cue1*'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophichius View Post
    You've just admitted that you see them as irredeemable, that you believe prisons' only function is to cage the criminal until they must be released by law and that having them off the streets for longer is better. The conclusion to that line of thought is that having them off the streets forever would be best, and since you've ruled out rehabilitation as an option, that leaves execution as the simplest, most assured method of keeping them off the streets forever. I'm just following your logic to its endpoint.

    You're following the logic as if it exists in a vacuum. Yes, I think that there are people who are irredeemable, absolutely. I also believe in justice, not vengeance; and that just because I believe a criminal to be irredeemable, doesn't mean they don't deserve the right to prove me wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophichius View Post
    And this is where you're incorrect. BF Skinner proved that if you control an organism's environment you absolutely can alter its decision-making process, and it will retain those trained behaviors. Humans are no different (In point of fact, behavioral psychology is dedicated to this.) Designing a prison system in such a way that it creates a reward/punishment schedule to break down undesirable behavior and encourage desirable behavior is absolutely doable. We usually couch this in terms like 'counseling' and 'therapy', but at its core, we're talking about behavioral modification via operant conditioning.

    'They have to want to change' is a cop out. It ignores the fact that a prison is an entirely controlled environment. It's the easiest point in the whole criminal cycle to actually change people. Yes, in order to have maximum success it needs to coincide with changing the environments that prisoners are released into, but the scope of -that- set of changes is orders of magnitude larger. Changing prisons is the efficient point to start.

    -O
    For how long does Dexter Morgan need to be conditioned before he's reformed? And I mean really reformed, not I'm-going-to-fake-it-so-I-can-get-out-and-get-back-to-what-I was-doing reformed. Skinners very own Pidgeon Project proves my point far better than his other research does yours.

    Skinner complained "our problem was no one would take us seriously." The point is perhaps best explained in terms of human psychology (i.e., few people would trust a pigeon to guide a missile no matter how reliable it proved).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophichius View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cue1* View Post

    For someone to reform, they have to WANT to reform. You can't pick up a three time felon, shove reform down his throat, and get an ideal model of society out of him; it just doesn't work that way. Which is why a lot of states have a three strikes rule. There are already a lot of programs to help the people who want to reform in prison. Christ, people can get their Bachelors in prison for pretty cheap. The issue isn't in prison, it's outside of it. So you've got a Bachelors in business, now what? No one will hire you, because you're a convicted felon. You can't make enough to live somewhere other than the slums, which surprise surprise, are crime infested. The fix needs to be something around the part after prison. Yes, there could be MORE opportunity for reform offered in prison, but you can't force it. For the people who don't want to reform, the best thing you can do is stop them from offending again, AKA keep them in prison as long as possible.
    And this is where you're incorrect. BF Skinner proved that if you control an organism's environment you absolutely can alter its decision-making process, and it will retain those trained behaviors. Humans are no different (In point of fact, behavioral psychology is dedicated to this.) Designing a prison system in such a way that it creates a reward/punishment schedule to break down undesirable behavior and encourage desirable behavior is absolutely doable. We usually couch this in terms like 'counseling' and 'therapy', but at its core, we're talking about behavioral modification via operant conditioning.

    'They have to want to change' is a cop out. It ignores the fact that a prison is an entirely controlled environment. It's the easiest point in the whole criminal cycle to actually change people. Yes, in order to have maximum success it needs to coincide with changing the environments that prisoners are released into, but the scope of -that- set of changes is orders of magnitude larger. Changing prisons is the efficient point to start.

    -O

    I called rehabilitation bullshit earlier because people continue to believe that the purpose of jail/prison is just that. However, there are few points in history where this has been the case. As Cue1 mentioned, there have been opportunities granted to help many re-enter society with at least some skills, but those are voluntary. People who put in the real effort will eventually eck out a decent living even hampered by their status as ex-convicts. The problem is again, we can't force that. When their sentence ends, they don't have to feel remorse, they don't have to care, and we can't keep them for any longer than the sentence placed on them.

    Bringing up Skinner and/or Watson is odd since they operant conditioning reinforces exactly what was mentioned before. The positive or negative reinforcement only comes with an individual attempting to reach that positive marker. This has already been in use for decades with mixed success. The famous Attica riots were in part a result of this kind of conditioning.

    This doesn't address the big issue of recidivism as a result of the restrictions and stigma put on them for the rest of their lives. If positive reinforcement included some sort of waiver that would expunge or seal records allowing an individual to re-enter society as a result of good behavior and participation then you would probably see a drop in repeat offenders. I have nothing to prove that right now as I need to sleep. I'll try to dig up some numbers tomorrow if someone doesn't already do that today.

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    מלך יהודים Zeekar's Avatar
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    If rehabilitation doesn't work explain the vastly different rates between repeat offenders in the so called Scandinavian model compared to the USA model.


    

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cue1* View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Straight Hustlin View Post
    To be fair, if the War on Drugs retardedness ever finally stops, I think we would see a huge drop in the prison pops, especially among minorities.

    But the prison companies and the guard unions are doing everything they possibly can to prevent that from happening.
    I'm actually a pretty firm believer in decriminalizing a lot of the softer drugs. Not legalizing mind you, just stop making possession a long term prison sentence. Confiscate the drugs, give them a bill for what they owe in taxes on the drugs, fine them some money, and offer rehab programs. But putting a drug user in prison doesn't really help anything. The dealers shouldn't get any lighter punishment, so possession with intent to distribute shouldn't change, or maybe it should get even harsher.
    I'm going to have to disagree. Decriminalization is largely bullshit, and is just a word that people throw around to make themselves seem forward thinking on the drug problem; when in reality little changes & your liberties have not be restored in the slightest. Until recreational drug use is on the same footing as recreational alcohol use, nothing has changed

    Simple possession is rarely if ever a long prison sentence; and when it is, it is due to laws where someone pulled a number X out of their ass, and if you have more then X, you are obviously a horrible drug dealer type and you get charged with distribution. Consider how retarded that is, if I were to pick up what I smoke in a month in one go; the law requires that I be charged with intent to distribute, regardless if I do or not. Also just as retarded is containering; If I buy 2 eighths that come in separate bags; that's intent to distribute.

    Also, if the government does not legalize possession & purchase of drugs, then they cannot assess a tax on them. Fines are one thing, but I am fairly sure it would be unconstitutional to assess tax on something you cannot legally purchase.

    Prohibition has never worked in the past. All it did for alcohol was create a massive black market for the criminal enterprises to rule. It made good, honest, otherwise law abiding citizens into criminals for simply wanting to enjoy their liberties. It's done largely the same with drugs; except this time instead of rival gangs shooting up the streets of Chicago, the effect has gone global and there are private armies working for the cartels in central America.

    The only sensible way forward is to legalize & start treating drug addicts less like hardened criminals and more like people with a dependency problem that's no different than alcoholism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeekar View Post
    If rehabilitation doesn't work explain the vastly different rates between repeat offenders in the so called Scandinavian model compared to the USA model.
    Of course it works.

    In the US you have crazy weird consecutive sentences dished out to people. Like you're behind bars for 100 years or more if you do a bunch of shit. I heard a Canadian lawyer talking about this a while back, and he pointed out that it's not done in Canada because prison is supposed to be rehabilitation, not punishment. I found it pretty compelling. In extreme cases where someone is really a monster, they label them a dangerous offender, and that gives the possibility of never releasing them (but they are still eligible for parole, afaik).

    I found Norway's handling of Anders Breivik laudable, too. It was nowhere near the degree of pitchforks and torches calling for blood that you'd get in North America. Just put him in a box, treat him like a broken specimen of humanity and get on with your life without lowering yourself to barbarism. What did Norway lose by being civilized?

    I'm going to have to disagree. Decriminalization is largely bullshit, and is just a word that people throw around to make themselves seem forward thinking on the drug problem; when in reality little changes & your liberties have not be restored in the slightest. Until recreation drug use is on the same footing as recreation alcohol use, nothing has changed
    Doesn't it make a difference when you're trying to find a job? Muricans love to do background checks on people from what I hear. Pretty sure it'd make a difference to a lot of people. Take what you can get, why treat it like an all or none thing? Progress happens gradually. It's not legal in Canada but man it's totally different up here when nobody gets thrown in jail for smoking a joint.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frug View Post
    I'm going to have to disagree. Decriminalization is largely bullshit, and is just a word that people throw around to make themselves seem forward thinking on the drug problem; when in reality little changes & your liberties have not be restored in the slightest. Until recreation drug use is on the same footing as recreation alcohol use, nothing has changed
    Doesn't it make a difference when you're trying to find a job? Muricans love to do background checks on people from what I hear. Pretty sure it'd make a difference to a lot of people. Take what you can get, why treat it like an all or none thing? Progress happens gradually. It's not legal in Canada but man it's totally different up here when nobody gets thrown in jail for smoking a joint.
    See here is the a big part of the problem; most people do not understand the fine differences between decriminalization & legalization. Decriminalized just means that instead of being charged with a criminal offence, you are charged with a civil offence. For example, in NJ alcohol related offenses are considered civil offences instead of criminal like most states; but you can be sure that an employer can and will hold them against you; and that's for something that is legalized.

    Additionally with decriminalization, it still leaves the problem of biased application of the law that we already see. Except instead of white kids getting conditional discharges & black kids getting hit with possession & time; The white kid is going to be ignored, or just have his drugs taken; and the black kid is going to get hassled & fined.

    Whereas with legalization, neither of these are issues. Under the laws that currently stand, an employer could not deny or fire you from a job for doing something that is legal, unless it affects your job performance or safety. There can be no biased application of the law, because there is no law being broken.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Straight Hustlin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Frug View Post
    I'm going to have to disagree. Decriminalization is largely bullshit, and is just a word that people throw around to make themselves seem forward thinking on the drug problem; when in reality little changes & your liberties have not be restored in the slightest. Until recreation drug use is on the same footing as recreation alcohol use, nothing has changed
    Doesn't it make a difference when you're trying to find a job? Muricans love to do background checks on people from what I hear. Pretty sure it'd make a difference to a lot of people. Take what you can get, why treat it like an all or none thing? Progress happens gradually. It's not legal in Canada but man it's totally different up here when nobody gets thrown in jail for smoking a joint.
    See here is the a big part of the problem; most people do not understand the fine differences between decriminalization & legalization. Decriminalized just means that instead of being charged with a criminal offence, you are charged with a civil offence. For example, in NJ alcohol related offenses are considered civil offences instead of criminal like most states; but you can be sure that an employer can and will hold them against you; and that's for something that is legalized.

    Additionally with decriminalization, it still leaves the problem of biased application of the law that we already see. Except instead of white kids getting conditional discharges & black kids getting hit with possession & time; The white kid is going to be ignored, or just have his drugs taken; and the black kid is going to get hassled & fined.

    Whereas with legalization, neither of these are issues. Under the laws that currently stand, an employer could not deny or fire you from a job for doing something that is legal, unless it affects your job performance or safety. There can be no biased application of the law, because there is no law being broken.
    Are you telling me there's no difference between how long it takes or how hard it is to have a civil offense cleared from your record?

    Quote Originally Posted by Loire
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keorythe View Post
    I called rehabilitation bullshit earlier because people continue to believe that the purpose of jail/prison is just that. However, there are few points in history where this has been the case. As Cue1 mentioned, there have been opportunities granted to help many re-enter society with at least some skills, but those are voluntary. People who put in the real effort will eventually eck out a decent living even hampered by their status as ex-convicts. The problem is again, we can't force that. When their sentence ends, they don't have to feel remorse, they don't have to care, and we can't keep them for any longer than the sentence placed on them.
    I'm sorry, I'm confused. Are you saying that rehabilitation is bullshit because prisons are not rehabilitation facilities, and therefore rehabilitation doesn't work? Because following your logic that's what I get.

    Bringing up Skinner and/or Watson is odd since they operant conditioning reinforces exactly what was mentioned before. The positive or negative reinforcement only comes with an individual attempting to reach that positive marker. This has already been in use for decades with mixed success. The famous Attica riots were in part a result of this kind of conditioning.
    Citation please? Attica, as far as I know, was not due to operant conditioning attempts but simple brutality and the treatment of prisons as torture facilities. I.e. the very things I'm arguing against. (Also, I suspect that you only have a very basic understanding of operant conditioning. If you're thinking that it requires brute physical feedback, you don't really understand it.)

    This doesn't address the big issue of recidivism as a result of the restrictions and stigma put on them for the rest of their lives. If positive reinforcement included some sort of waiver that would expunge or seal records allowing an individual to re-enter society as a result of good behavior and participation then you would probably see a drop in repeat offenders. I have nothing to prove that right now as I need to sleep. I'll try to dig up some numbers tomorrow if someone doesn't already do that today.
    I agree that prisons are not the only thing that needs to change, but you appear to be arguing for all or nothing. 'Well we can't change society and prisons at the same time, so why bother changing prisons?' essentially. My argument is that changing prisons in isolation will have a lower success rate than changing them in conjunction with a shift in society, but it will reduce recidivism over the current model of treating prisons as holding pens and torture facilities.

    -O
    I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those Thukkers, that way I wouldn't have to have any goddamn stupid useless conversations with anybody.
    Failing the Voight-Kampff test, one tortoise at a time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frug View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Straight Hustlin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Frug View Post
    I'm going to have to disagree. Decriminalization is largely bullshit, and is just a word that people throw around to make themselves seem forward thinking on the drug problem; when in reality little changes & your liberties have not be restored in the slightest. Until recreation drug use is on the same footing as recreation alcohol use, nothing has changed
    Doesn't it make a difference when you're trying to find a job? Muricans love to do background checks on people from what I hear. Pretty sure it'd make a difference to a lot of people. Take what you can get, why treat it like an all or none thing? Progress happens gradually. It's not legal in Canada but man it's totally different up here when nobody gets thrown in jail for smoking a joint.
    See here is the a big part of the problem; most people do not understand the fine differences between decriminalization & legalization. Decriminalized just means that instead of being charged with a criminal offence, you are charged with a civil offence. For example, in NJ alcohol related offenses are considered civil offences instead of criminal like most states; but you can be sure that an employer can and will hold them against you; and that's for something that is legalized.

    Additionally with decriminalization, it still leaves the problem of biased application of the law that we already see. Except instead of white kids getting conditional discharges & black kids getting hit with possession & time; The white kid is going to be ignored, or just have his drugs taken; and the black kid is going to get hassled & fined.

    Whereas with legalization, neither of these are issues. Under the laws that currently stand, an employer could not deny or fire you from a job for doing something that is legal, unless it affects your job performance or safety. There can be no biased application of the law, because there is no law being broken.
    Are you telling me there's no difference between how long it takes or how hard it is to have a civil offense cleared from your record?
    Moving the goal posts a bit, but I'll still hit it.

    Yes there is a difference; but as there is no decriminalization law; it remains to be seen under what type of offence you would be charged.

    Expungement in the US is weird and varies greatly from state to state. Some states do not recognize the expungement statutes of other states. In NJ the expungement period is 10 years for indictable offenses, 5 years for disorderly persons, and 2 years for municipal offenses. However there are certain situations where things cannot be expunged. For example if you have 4 or more disorderly persons offenses than you cannot get your record expunged. Traffic offenses cannot be expunged, so if you get CDS (possession in a vehicle) it will always be on your record.

    And again things vary from state to state. If you had your record in NJ expunged, and moved to Texas; you would have to disclose your offences because Texas would not recognize the expungement.

    Also expungement does not mean things disappear forever; they have just been removed from the state's public records, and they will release them only when court ordered. If you apply for a job with any municipal, state, federal, military or civilian law enforcement; you are required to disclose expunged offences under penalty of perjury.

    Furthermore; decriminalization is almost always pertaining to simple possession only. It does not address the issues of paraphernalia, production, or transportation; nor does it address ridiculousness around packaging with respects to distribution.

    That said, decriminalization is a surely a step in the right direction; but it falls short of addressing the root of the issue, leaves too much room for biased application of law, and still retains the impression that people who chose to do drugs recreationally are somehow worse members of society than people who choose to drink alcohol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Straight Hustlin View Post
    That said, decriminalization is a surely a step in the right direction; but it falls short of addressing the root of the issue, leaves too much room for biased application of law, and still retains the impression that people who chose to do some drugs recreationally are somehow worse members of society than people who choose to do other, different drugs recreationally.
    Alcohol is just another drug. One with better PR.

    -O
    I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those Thukkers, that way I wouldn't have to have any goddamn stupid useless conversations with anybody.
    Failing the Voight-Kampff test, one tortoise at a time.

  14. #14
    מלך יהודים Zeekar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frug View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeekar View Post
    If rehabilitation doesn't work explain the vastly different rates between repeat offenders in the so called Scandinavian model compared to the USA model.
    Of course it works.

    In the US you have crazy weird consecutive sentences dished out to people. Like you're behind bars for 100 years or more if you do a bunch of shit. I heard a Canadian lawyer talking about this a while back, and he pointed out that it's not done in Canada because prison is supposed to be rehabilitation, not punishment. I found it pretty compelling. In extreme cases where someone is really a monster, they label them a dangerous offender, and that gives the possibility of never releasing them (but they are still eligible for parole, afaik).

    I found Norway's handling of Anders Breivik laudable, too. It was nowhere near the degree of pitchforks and torches calling for blood that you'd get in North America. Just put him in a box, treat him like a broken specimen of humanity and get on with your life without lowering yourself to barbarism. What did Norway lose by being civilized?
    Yes exactly thats my point but I want somebody who believes that it doesnt work to explain why it doesnt work when there is ample evidence of the opposite.


    

  15. #15
    Movember 2011Donor Cue1*'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Straight Hustlin View Post
    Simple possession is rarely if ever a long prison sentence; and when it is, it is due to laws where someone pulled a number X out of their ass, and if you have more then X, you are obviously a horrible drug dealer type and you get charged with distribution. Consider how retarded that is, if I were to pick up what I smoke in a month in one go; the law requires that I be charged with intent to distribute, regardless if I do or not. Also just as retarded is containering; If I buy 2 eighths that come in separate bags; that's intent to distribute.

    This alone proves you have no idea how the law works. Simple possession of a Schedule 1-4 is a class I felony. If you don't have any priors, that's still six months in jail, and it's still a felony, meaning the three strikes rule applies. There are people serving life right now for possession. If that's not a long prison sentence, I don't know what is. NC vs Wiggins proves your second statement wrong. Wiggins had 215 grams of pot on him, but the law ruled he didn't have enough to count as possession. NC vs Wilkins defendant had 1.89 grams of pot in three separate packages, and $1264 in cash beside it, but that's not intent to sell. Or NC vs Nettles where the defendant had five crack rocks individually packaged totaling to 1.2 grams but no money or weighing materials nearby, again, not intent to sell.


    Just because you saw it on CSI or NYPD blue doesn't make it real(and for the record, GSR only lasts for four hours or so).

    Quote Originally Posted by Straight Hustlin View Post
    Also, if the government does not legalize possession & purchase of drugs, then they cannot assess a tax on them. Fines are one thing, but I am fairly sure it would be unconstitutional to assess tax on something you cannot legally purchase.
    This is amazingly untrue. The government currently taxes all drugs, including those that are illegal to possess. Here's the FAQ for my state about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Straight Hustlin View Post
    Prohibition has never worked in the past. All it did for alcohol was create a massive black market for the criminal enterprises to rule. It made good, honest, otherwise law abiding citizens into criminals for simply wanting to enjoy their liberties. It's done largely the same with drugs; except this time instead of rival gangs shooting up the streets of Chicago, the effect has gone global and there are private armies working for the cartels in central America.

    The only sensible way forward is to legalize & start treating drug addicts less like hardened criminals and more like people with a dependency problem that's no different than alcoholism.
    There's a difference between alcohol and meth. By your logic, we should make murder legal since we only tend to solve about ten percent of those cases. Tell me about all the good, honest, and otherwise law abiding citizens who do meth. There are drugs, then there are Drugs. One responsibility of a government is to protect it's citizens from habits that could make the citizen unproductive. Helpfully, this is in the governments own interest as well as the interests of the citizen. Hard drugs are a quick way to make a productive citizen unproductive.

  16. #16
    Ophichius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cue1* View Post
    There's a difference between alcohol and meth. By your logic, we should make murder legal since we only tend to solve about ten percent of those cases. Tell me about all the good, honest, and otherwise law abiding citizens who do meth. There are drugs, then there are Drugs. One responsibility of a government is to protect it's citizens from habits that could make the citizen unproductive. Helpfully, this is in the governments own interest as well as the interests of the citizen. Hard drugs are a quick way to make a productive citizen unproductive.
    Okay, I'll bite. Say hello to one of the most brilliant mathematicians of all time, as well as long-term amphetamine user, Paul Erdos

    Addiction isn't a crime, it's a disease. The sooner we stop treating the afflicted as criminals, the sooner we can address the problem in an effective manner. Drugs aren't the problem, addictive behavior is. By stigmatizing and criminalizing drug use, you force the very people who most need easy, confidential access to help away from every institution which could help them.

    -O
    I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those Thukkers, that way I wouldn't have to have any goddamn stupid useless conversations with anybody.
    Failing the Voight-Kampff test, one tortoise at a time.

  17. #17
    Movember 2011Donor Cue1*'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophichius View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cue1* View Post
    There's a difference between alcohol and meth. By your logic, we should make murder legal since we only tend to solve about ten percent of those cases. Tell me about all the good, honest, and otherwise law abiding citizens who do meth. There are drugs, then there are Drugs. One responsibility of a government is to protect it's citizens from habits that could make the citizen unproductive. Helpfully, this is in the governments own interest as well as the interests of the citizen. Hard drugs are a quick way to make a productive citizen unproductive.
    Okay, I'll bite. Say hello to one of the most brilliant mathematicians of all time, as well as long-term amphetamine user, Paul Erdos

    Addiction isn't a crime, it's a disease. The sooner we stop treating the afflicted as criminals, the sooner we can address the problem in an effective manner. Drugs aren't the problem, addictive behavior is. By stigmatizing and criminalizing drug use, you force the very people who most need easy, confidential access to help away from every institution which could help them.

    -O
    Which is why I'm for decriminalizing, but not legalizing. Try to keep up.

  18. #18
    Donor Aea's Avatar
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    I feel this thread has rapidly transitioned from prison system to justice and sentencing.

    My feeling on the decriminalization debate is that regardless of how far you feel it needs to go decriminalization is a step in the right direction. The legalization of marijuana in Colorado and many other steps followed this path. Reduce sentencing -> Decriminalization -> Legalization.

  19. #19
    Ophichius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cue1* View Post
    Which is why I'm for decriminalizing, but not legalizing. Try to keep up.
    Which is just a fancy way of saying you still want it to be stigmatized, you just don't think the current level of stigma is the correct one. Try to think things through before you post.

    -O
    I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those Thukkers, that way I wouldn't have to have any goddamn stupid useless conversations with anybody.
    Failing the Voight-Kampff test, one tortoise at a time.

  20. #20
    Donor Aea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophichius View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cue1* View Post
    Which is why I'm for decriminalizing, but not legalizing. Try to keep up.
    Which is just a fancy way of saying you still want it to be stigmatized, you just don't think the current level of stigma is the correct one. Try to think things through before you post.

    -O
    This is an exceptionally idealistic all-or-nothing viewpoint.

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