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View Poll Results: What's more important?
Punishment 2 11.11%
Reform 15 83.33%
Other aspect of the criminal system 1 5.56%
Voters: 18. You may not vote on this poll

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
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Prisons - June 18th 2009, 02:57 PM

I was just having a discussing with my housemate about prisons, trying to get jobs once released, and re-offending.

Reform rates in the UK and USA tend to be quite low (a lot of people reoffend). This lead on to a documentary I saw about Japanese prisons, and their lower reoffending rate, including an interview of two young adults who had killed someone in gang violence. They went to jail for two years, but in the Japanese system, there is more of a focus on reform, and these guys had become completely different people, in the sense they were motivated to be good contributing citizens to society, infact, one was doing a law degree I believe. They suggested in the interview that prison ordered and structure their life, and it made a big difference to them.

I'm not sure how broadly true this actually is of Japanese prisons, but the concept is what I'm sort of talking about.

I then applied it to the UK, and came to the conclusion the public would probably reject such a system, particularly if sentences are shorter, even if it did benefit society as a whole, due to our focus on punishment.

So my question is, what would you value more from our legal system, the punishment or criminals, or the reform of them?
   
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Re: Prisons - June 18th 2009, 03:06 PM

The Japanese culture also has traditionally focused on the society and not the self too.

I think I would rather have the punishment if something happened to a loved one, to be honest.


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Re: Prisons - June 18th 2009, 03:06 PM

Definitely reforming them is much more important to me. What's the point of fining and jailing people if they're just going to turn around and re-offend? Which happens a lot. "Prisons are like finishing schools for criminals." A police officer who worked in a prison came into our grade 12 law class and said that. They use the time they spend there to learn and perfect their craft.

I think that rehabilitation and and reform would be so much more beneficial to everyone involved.
   
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Re: Prisons - June 18th 2009, 04:27 PM

definitely punishment. these people don't deserve time and money spent on them, to help them "reform." a murderer is still going to be a murderer no matter what. i don't care if they think they can change, they should be locked up.. or even better, we should bring back the death penalty, free up a few prison cells that these murderers are taking up.

as for lesser crimes, well.. i can see how reform might work there. but for stuff like muder and rape, naa don't bother with them..


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Re: Prisons - June 18th 2009, 04:32 PM

I think you need a combination of both.

To me, it would all depend on the crime, the person, and the circumstances.

For example, I believe a drug offender would benefit more with Reform tactics than incarceration.

Punishment should be implemented for murders, rapists, and people like that. Because these people simply can't be cured, and are a danger to society...

For other crimes, like say burglarly and theft, I believe punishment would work best, as well as SOME type of reform. I can't really say what would work here though. Also, the more you repeat the same offense, the more punishment you should get.
   
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Re: Prisons - June 18th 2009, 05:46 PM

Um... that's hard. I'm not sure, but I would like to point out that you can't reform everyone. Maybe it will help some people who just made a mistake, but some people are going to re-offend no matter what you do. In my opinion, if you choose to break the law, you shouldn't really be expecting to still have the benefits of society. Besides that, I think that the point of prisons is more to keep the public safe.


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Re: Prisons - June 18th 2009, 06:11 PM

Reform is certainly more important. You can say "oh they don't deserve time and money spent on them" however you're missing the practical facts of the matter which are that if you do not help them reform they will reoffend and that will cost society more time and money than if you'd spent it on them in the first place. It shouldn't be "they don't deserve the time and money spent on them", instead it should be "society deserves the protection and other benefits that the extra money will confer on them". Also, I'm not sure about this but I'm pretty sure, it costs more money to lock people up for a long time than it does to reform them in a shorter time.

The thing is, our system is sort of already focused on reform rather than punishment. Our prisons are generally considered easy time so it's certianly not much of a punishment and we have several schemes in place (or so I've heard) to help reform people. We just generally do a very poor job of reforming people.
   
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Re: Prisons - June 18th 2009, 06:18 PM

A lot of criminals are victims of circumstance, and poor development in various areas, like social skills, and lacking pro-social behaviour, this is often learnt and or reinforce through various experiences.... and they reoffend because it continues in a cycle, and they go back to the groups they were in before, they cant get jobs, they are left bored, and idle... there's evidence to suggest reform is possible, at least in those who havent commited crimes out of pathologies like Anti-social personality disorder.

And yeah, I think the UK have some reform schemes, but they are ineffective
   
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Re: Prisons - June 18th 2009, 06:18 PM

I did law and order in politics this year, and I definately think that prison should as punishment not for punishment - ie for reform.
In countries that use prison as a punishment by denying freedom and encouraging reform have far lower reoffending rates than those the use prison for punishment and treat inmates like crap.
I don't agree with the whole 'give them TVs and video games' thing, but I think offering inmates the chance to gain qualifications and make contributions to society is wonderful.


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Re: Prisons - June 18th 2009, 07:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack View Post
The thing is, our system is sort of already focused on reform rather than punishment. Our prisons are generally considered easy time so it's certianly not much of a punishment and we have several schemes in place (or so I've heard) to help reform people. We just generally do a very poor job of reforming people.
What are some of the reform techniques? (Not an argument, I'm just interested)


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Re: Prisons - June 18th 2009, 07:54 PM

Reform is definately more important. A lot of criminals are messed up from a bad childhood or from a drug/alcohol addiction. While that doesn't excuse their actions, I think it is heartless to ignore that fact. These are human beings. If we can get them to change their lives around that is great. Of course they should still have some sort of punishment and if they are dangerous of course they should be locked up until they are rehabilitated.


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Re: Prisons - June 18th 2009, 08:09 PM

I am curious to the reform techniques also. If it actually works, I'm more for that, since it's better in the long run really, you know?



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Re: Prisons - June 18th 2009, 08:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gidig View Post
I am curious to the reform techniques also. If it actually works, I'm more for that, since it's better in the long run really, you know?
Here's a bit on rehabilitation:

Quote:
In criminal rehabilitation, prisoners are given opportunity to increase their content knowledge base. This is essential as studies show that many inmates do not have basic grade school education. This would severely impede their success of acquiring jobs, thus many had to turn to a life of crime. Basic criminal rehabilitation programs ensure that there is a standard level of literacy amongst the inmates who sign up for the course.

Rehabilitation also ensures that inmates are socially well adjusted. Psychological assessments are being meted to test for mental or physical disabilities that led to their incarceration in the first place. Should the inmates be ready and willing to accept counseling and assessment, many of them are able to return to society as relatively well-balanced individuals. For drug addicts, this is a pertinent issue, as many of them are struggling with addiction problems. Counseling would help to balance inner dynamics that led to the addiction, and possibly the criminal behavior that financed the addiction.

Criminal Rehabilitation - Working Towards A Better Life For Inmates And Their Families


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Re: Prisons - June 18th 2009, 09:49 PM

Rehabilitation in some countries includes giving inmates jobs and educational courses, in order to prepare them for working when released - they can be seen to commit to these which is positive reference when getting a job later.
As well as counselling to treat any problems which may have caused them to commit the crime in the first place, which most often has to be consented to. Things like aversive therapy can be used to 'cure' sex offenders or violent criminals.


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