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Old 23rd May 2017, 05:09 PM   #41
deadrose
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And this just in: Nearly 160 tons of food produced in a prison kitchen for institutional consumption have been recalled because the water used was contaminated with fire retardants from the nearby Air Force base. What fun!

http://knkx.org/post/nearly-160-tons...tchen-recalled
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Old 23rd May 2017, 07:10 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by deadrose View Post
Most of the work is technically paid, at a dollar or two a day, to use in the commissary for toothpaste, soap, snacks, and so on, but since so many states are also billing you for your stay and food, at much higher rates, there's no way you can keep yourself out of debt.

Some people say they're learning useful skills to use on the outside. Well, no, because those jobs are all outsourced to the prisons or out of the country. How many industrial garment manufacturers run factories in the US legitimately? How many license plate factories are there in your town?
So yeah that's all true, but then again these people have to do something to occupy their time. Just having them lift weights, or smash big rocks into smaller rocks is a colossal waste of manpower, not to mention the kinds of things people come up with when they have too much idle time.

I know of some projects locally where inmate labor was used to construct some backpacking trail sections on state land, that required stacking lots of boulders to create stone staircases in the backcountry. As I understand it, these guys were not paid at all, but were largely happy to get out and do the work.

So that's what I'd like to see, forced labor, but for the public good.
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Old 24th May 2017, 10:51 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Pterodactyl View Post
So yeah that's all true, but then again these people have to do something to occupy their time. Just having them lift weights, or smash big rocks into smaller rocks is a colossal waste of manpower, not to mention the kinds of things people come up with when they have too much idle time.

Things to occupy their time? Let's see, how about addiction counseling, mental health treatment, remedial primary/secondary education (needed by the majority of inmates), job skills training and apprenticeships, post-secondary (university) education, personal improvement activities (behavioural management therapy, family management, developing creative outlets, etc.), social re-integration counseling, community outreach programs, and so on.

Quote:
So that's what I'd like to see, forced labor, but for the public good.

How about we worry about making sure that they can be productive, contributing members of society once they get out, and are not going to just end up right back in prison, before indulging our nostalgia for the good old days of slave labour? Save the "public good" projects for low-level offenders and those with "community service" sentences.
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Old 24th May 2017, 11:28 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
Things to occupy their time? Let's see, how about addiction counseling, mental health treatment, remedial primary/secondary education (needed by the majority of inmates), job skills training and apprenticeships, post-secondary (university) education, personal improvement activities (behavioural management therapy, family management, developing creative outlets, etc.), social re-integration counseling, community outreach programs, and so on.
Sounds really nice.
Almost makes breaking the law sound like a good option in the face of working some menial job in hopes of making a living or paying for a better education.
I totally agree that we should transition into a more rehabilitative model, but how many years of classes does a person need? A guy doing 10 years can only sit in a classroom for so long.

Quote:
How about we worry about making sure that they can be productive, contributing members of society once they get out, and are not going to just end up right back in prison, before indulging our nostalgia for the good old days of slave labour? Save the "public good" projects for low-level offenders and those with "community service" sentences.
Shouldn't paying your debt to society actually somehow benefit society though, and not just the offender? I dont know that "slave labor" is the right descriptor. I prefer community service.
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Old 24th May 2017, 11:47 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by Pterodactyl View Post
So that's what I'd like to see, forced labor, but for the public good.
Originally Posted by Pterodactyl View Post
Shouldn't paying your debt to society actually somehow benefit society though, and not just the offender? I dont know that "slave labor" is the right descriptor. I prefer community service.
Keep in mind that forced labor is not even remotely cost effective.

I used to run labor crews in National Parks and BLM lands, including the occasional con crew.

A horde of motivated volunteers, or college-age labor crews from SCA or ACE can do an amazing amount of work, with fewer limitations on what sort of work they can do than the average convict crew can.

Convict crews require armed guards and need to be able to return to the jail/prison each day. If you want to work them further afield, you need to fork out for 24/7 law enforcement details to guard them, you need to put them up somewhere, find a way to feed them. It adds up.

The SCA/ACE crews need none of that. Little direct supervision, and they'll just camp wherever you tell them to and make their own meals. And those crews are very self-motivated, they'll work very, very hard so long as they understand what it is they are supposed to be doing, and why (they "why" part is very important to the self-motivation thing).
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Old 24th May 2017, 11:56 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by crescent View Post
Keep in mind that forced labor is not even remotely cost effective.

I used to run labor crews in National Parks and BLM lands, including the occasional con crew.

A horde of motivated volunteers, or college-age labor crews from SCA or ACE can do an amazing amount of work, with fewer limitations on what sort of work they can do than the average convict crew can.

Convict crews require armed guards and need to be able to return to the jail/prison each day. If you want to work them further afield, you need to fork out for 24/7 law enforcement details to guard them, you need to put them up somewhere, find a way to feed them. It adds up.

The SCA/ACE crews need none of that. Little direct supervision, and they'll just camp wherever you tell them to and make their own meals. And those crews are very self-motivated, they'll work very, very hard so long as they understand what it is they are supposed to be doing, and why (they "why" part is very important to the self-motivation thing).
Interesting.
I also have worked in national parks with SCA crews, and have found them to be a mixed bag, but overall good to work with.
What i have seen of convict labor, so long as it is not detailed work, has tended to be pretty impressive, in terms of amount accomplished. You might be right that the costs of paying guards and other logistical constraints could make this inefficient or not cost effective in some circumstances. But that's maybe an artifact of how prisons are run now.
Whereas if you had crews of trustees trained in certain types of work, guard foremen, etc. who did only this kind of stuff, and guys could work years off their sentences, it might become very efficient. Like CCC style.
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Old 24th May 2017, 12:48 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
And that is exactly the point.

The American prison system is working exactly as intended. It was originally designed to perpetuate the institution of de facto slavery, after de novo slavery had been explicitly outlawed. Which was also the reason that prisons have always had a disproportionately high rate of incarceration for minority populations.
Yeah, that was the design. Because there were no prisons in America until after slavery was abolished.
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Old 24th May 2017, 12:58 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Yeah, that was the design. Because there were no prisons in America until after slavery was abolished.
there you go again: Spoiling a ideological rant with facts.
Seems to me there is need for a balance between rehabilitation and deterrence and it is not a either or situation, but that would upset the ideologues on both left and right.
I admit I am a lot more sympathetic toward Criminals who crimes are not violent then with violent criminals.
Some people can be rehablitiated, others should have the key thrown away on them. Problem is identifying which is which.
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Old 24th May 2017, 01:36 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by crescent View Post
Keep in mind that forced labor is not even remotely cost effective.

(snip)

Convict crews require armed guards and need to be able to return to the jail/prison each day. If you want to work them further afield, you need to fork out for 24/7 law enforcement details to guard them, you need to put them up somewhere, find a way to feed them. It adds up.
This was discovered a few years ago here in Washington state. Due to various immigrations crackdowns, the usual migrant work crews didn't arrive for apple-picking season.

Orchard owners cried loudly to the press about their desperate need for workers, and huge numbers of out-of-work people headed over to pick apples, only to be turned away by the owners and foremen. They were told they were too inexperienced and would pick too slowly for the owners to make a profit. But the migrants still stayed away, so many of the orchardists ended up hiring convict labor to bring in the crop. The convicts ended up costing about $25/hr each because of the guards, housing, food, and so on. And of course they were no more experienced than the people who had traveled over to fill the jobs.

That money didn't go to the prison laborers, of course. Wouldn't it make more sense to have the unskilled labor jobs for the unskilled laborers? No matter how much we claim it, not everyone is going to be college degree material, especially as we butcher education. So we can deny them any chances, then lock them up for slave labor, or we can take those jobs back out of the prisons and give people an opportunity to earn a living from them.
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Old 24th May 2017, 03:23 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Yeah, that was the design. Because there were no prisons in America until after slavery was abolished.
Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
there you go again: Spoiling a ideological rant with facts.

You're kidding, right? It is a frighteningly well-documented fact that the modern US prison system was re-designed after the Civil War, and intended predominantly to perpetuate the institution of slavery. This is common historical knowledge for anyone with even a passing familiarity with American history. It's not even controversial, except to a handful of white supremacists, self-serving reactionary conservatives, and those who haven't bothered to study any American history beyond primary school.

Just a handful of references on the subject:

Slavery By Aother Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II
by Douglas Blackmon
Which, incidentally, won a Pulitzer prize.

Criminal Justice In America
By George F. Cole, Christopher E. Smith, Christina DeJong

The Oxford History of the Prison: The Practice of Punishment in Modern Society
eds. Norval Morris and David J. Rothman

Additional references
http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cg...context=socssp
http://www.asanet.org/sites/default/...ARaceCrime.pdf
http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/theoryatmadi...symbiosis.html

Numerous more references in this article:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...b087a29a54880f
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Old 24th May 2017, 03:31 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
You're kidding, right? It is a frighteningly well-documented fact that the modern US prison system was re-designed after the Civil War, and intended predominantly to perpetuate the institution of slavery. This is common historical knowledge for anyone with even a passing familiarity with American history. It's not even controversial, except to a handful of white supremacists, self-serving reactionary conservatives, and those who haven't bothered to study any American history beyond primary school.
Yep. It's very well understood that, as one very clear example, "vagrancy" laws were often used to fine black people onerous amounts, and then to "allow them to work it off" by forcing them to work for white households when they could not pay. While I do sometimes feel that Michelle Alexander can take on a bit too much of a preaching affect she's far too well researched to just toss out weak strawmen. Hell, even in the modern day, we see blatant cases of white supremacist policing such as the Ferguson MO police and courts. - and considering we know that they functioned as a means to drain wealth out of black citizens, and give it to some white citizens, yes that is white supremacist.
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Old 24th May 2017, 04:14 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
You're kidding, right? It is a frighteningly well-documented fact that the modern US prison system was re-designed after the Civil War, and intended predominantly to perpetuate the institution of slavery. This is common historical knowledge for anyone with even a passing familiarity with American history. It's not even controversial, except to a handful of white supremacists, self-serving reactionary conservatives, and those who haven't bothered to study any American history beyond primary school.

Just a handful of references on the subject:

Slavery By Aother Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II
by Douglas Blackmon
Which, incidentally, won a Pulitzer prize.

Criminal Justice In America
By George F. Cole, Christopher E. Smith, Christina DeJong

The Oxford History of the Prison: The Practice of Punishment in Modern Society
eds. Norval Morris and David J. Rothman

Additional references
http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cg...context=socssp
http://www.asanet.org/sites/default/...ARaceCrime.pdf
http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/theoryatmadi...symbiosis.html

Numerous more references in this article:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...b087a29a54880f
Well, I have to say that if the prison system was designed to perpetuate the system of slavery, it's doing an awfully poor job of it. Let's take one of the claims in the Huffington Post article:

Quote:
The United States called by some the land of the free and the home of the brave, leads the world in incarceration, with over 2 million people behind bars; that is a 500 percent increase over the past 40 years.
Okay so 2 million people are in jail and that's a 500% increase since roughly 1976. That means that in 1976, there were approximately 333,333 prisoners. In 1976 there were approximately 25 million African Americans, so even if we assume that all the prisoners were black, that would still mean that only about 1.3% of the African American population was behind bars in 1976. If we accept a more reasonable estimate that about 38% of the prison population was black, that would indicate an incarceration rate of about 0.5%. Put another way, for every African American in jail in 1976, there were approximately 197 free. Not quite the same as slavery in my book, YRMV.

The system of convict leasing almost certainly was instituted as a replacement for slavery. But arguing that the entire American prison system was designed to replace slavery is taking an extreme position; the northern states, for example, mostly did not engage in convict leasing nor did some of the former slave states.
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Old 24th May 2017, 05:48 PM   #53
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So I've been moving about the internet a bit looking at information on recidivism rates in the United States. It's generally about as bleak as you'd expect. Also turns out that actually measuring recidivism is slightly tricky, so stats can sometimes be misleading. Virginia, for example, was claiming recidivism rates of less than half the national average, but it turns out that they might have been counting differently.
Pretty interesting website www.crimeinamerica.net has some good info on the subject. They conclude here that programs that try to reduce recidivism seem to be able to deliver about 10-20% reductions. Less than I'd like but by no means irrelevant.
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Old 24th May 2017, 06:38 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Civet View Post
Pretty interesting website www.crimeinamerica.net has some good info on the subject. They conclude here that programs that try to reduce recidivism seem to be able to deliver about 10-20% reductions. Less than I'd like but by no means irrelevant.

The problem is that there is a great deal of fundamental change that needs to be made in both the American criminal justice system and American society in order to make a more significant impact on crime and recidivism. Right now, one of the most pressing and disconcerting problems is the "school-to-prison pipeline" that exists in poor minority communities. A direct artifact of institutionalized racism, and in particular racist policing.
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Old 25th May 2017, 06:29 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
You're kidding, right? It is a frighteningly well-documented fact that the modern US prison system was re-designed after the Civil War, and intended predominantly to perpetuate the institution of slavery. This is common historical knowledge for anyone with even a passing familiarity with American history. It's not even controversial, except to a handful of white supremacists, self-serving reactionary conservatives, and those who haven't bothered to study any American history beyond primary school.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...b087a29a54880f
This is where I stopped reading, not really but it is where you loose the argument. You start with anyone who disagrees with you is a white supremacist. Could it be that some folks have never heard of this idea, nope, they have to be ********.
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Old 25th May 2017, 07:09 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
This is where I stopped reading, not really but it is where you loose the argument. You start with anyone who disagrees with you is a white supremacist. Could it be that some folks have never heard of this idea, nope, they have to be ********.
The people who had never heard of this before would b e covered by that third category - the people who hadn't bothered to study much US history.

(I wouldn't have been quite so harsh myself - most people don't spend much time developing a wide understanding of US history, after all...)
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Old 25th May 2017, 07:43 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by Mumbles View Post
The people who had never heard of this before would b e covered by that third category - the people who hadn't bothered to study much US history.

(I wouldn't have been quite so harsh myself - most people don't spend much time developing a wide understanding of US history, after all...)
In that case, why start with the racists, as the vast majority of people haven't bothered to study much US History and I suspect that most that have, didn't study the history of the US penal system. A bit like me saying that anyone that doesn't know ordinary moment frames can't be used in a high seismic region just hasn't studied much engineering.

Edit, I should add, starting with calling your opponents racists doesn't actually loose the argument but it does mean you won't convince any of them, even the merely ignorant, of your point.

Last edited by ahhell; 25th May 2017 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 25th May 2017, 08:43 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Mumbles View Post
The people who had never heard of this before would b e covered by that third category - the people who hadn't bothered to study much US history.

(I wouldn't have been quite so harsh myself - most people don't spend much time developing a wide understanding of US history, after all...)
I'm not ashamed to admit I fall in the ignorant bin, having squandered my education on STEM stuff.
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Old 25th May 2017, 09:19 AM   #59
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Upon further review, it seems that things suck even more. It turns out that the much-praised Norwegian prison system's lower recidivism rate might be largely the result of measuring recidivism rather differently than we do. Here's an article discussing it:
https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/29/m...en-prison.html
Quote:
Then there was the question of what qualifies as “recidivism.” Some countries and states count any new arrest as recidivism, while others count only new convictions or new prison sentences; still others include parole violations. The numbers most commonly cited in news reports about recidivism, like the 20 percent celebrated by Norway or the 68 percent lamented by the United States, begin to fall apart on closer inspection. That 68 percent, for example, is a three-*year number, but digging into the report shows the more comparable two-*year rate to be 60 percent. And that number reflects not reincarceration (the basis for the Norwegian statistic) but rearrest, a much wider net. Fifteen pages into the Bureau of Justice Statistics report, I found a two-*year reincarceration rate, probably the best available comparison to Norway’s measures. Kristoffersen’s caveat in mind, that translated to a much less drastic contrast: Norway, 25 percent; the United States, 28.8 percent.
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Old 25th May 2017, 03:41 PM   #60
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Just ran across this disturbing bit of info:

Louisiana is the world's prison capital

Excerpt:
Quote:
Louisiana is the world's prison capital

Print Email Cindy Chang, The Times-Picayune By Cindy Chang, The Times-Picayune
on May 13, 2012 at 5:00 AM, updated April 06, 2016 at 12:38 PM
Stay connected to NOLA.com
Louisiana is the world's prison capital. The state imprisons more of its people, per head, than any of its U.S. counterparts. First among Americans means first in the world. Louisiana's incarceration rate is nearly five times Iran's, 13 times China's and 20 times Germany's.

Peeling paint hangs from the ceiling of the old parish jail on the top floor of the Richland Parish Courthouse in Rayville. The Richland Parish Detention Center on Louisiana 15, which opened for women prisoners in 1997, replaced the courthouse jail.
Scott Threlkeld, The Times-Picayune
The hidden engine behind the state's well-oiled prison machine is cold, hard cash. A majority of Louisiana inmates are housed in for-profit facilities, which must be supplied with a constant influx of human beings or a $182 million industry will go bankrupt.

Several homegrown private prison companies command a slice of the market. But in a uniquely Louisiana twist, most prison entrepreneurs are rural sheriffs, who hold tremendous sway in remote parishes like Madison, Avoyelles, East Carroll and Concordia. A good portion of Louisiana law enforcement is financed with dollars legally skimmed off the top of prison operations.

If the inmate count dips, sheriffs bleed money. Their constituents lose jobs. The prison lobby ensures this does not happen by thwarting nearly every reform that could result in fewer people behind bars.

And more:

Prisoners, politicians mix at Capitol as Louisiana Legislature weighs criminal justice

And it gets worse. Some numbers to go with it:
I thought I understood racism and mass incarceration. But nothing prepared me for what I saw in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The incarceration rate for Louisiana is over double that of the US in general; which is already the highest in the world. And black people make up the overwhelming majority of the prison population. And as for the prison labour, it's a page right out of the Antebellum South.

Which Louisiana prisoners get to work in the Capitol, Governor's Mansion?

The more things change...
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Old 25th May 2017, 05:58 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
Just ran across this disturbing bit of info:

Louisiana is the world's prison capital
Here are the top 5 (as of 2013, per capita, 100,000 adult population):
Louisiana 1,420
Oklahoma 1,300
Mississippi 1,270
Alabama 1,230
Georgia 1,220

I guess some state had to be first on the list.
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Old 25th May 2017, 07:38 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
I'm not ashamed to admit I fall in the ignorant bin, having squandered my education on STEM stuff.
Actually, I also devoted my education to STEM - which in the late 90s as an engineer meant "you get six non-STEM classes." Reading up on relations between white and black Americans through US history is a years-long hobby - inspired partly by family history, and partly by the fact that I got tired of the sci-fi/fantasy books I had been reading for a couple of decades up to that point
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Old 25th May 2017, 08:04 PM   #63
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Astonished to learn that the US does not have the world's highest incarceration rate. Seychelles does, oddly enough. Also, while US incarceration rates vary wildly from state to state, none of our states would be considered low by international standards and that's rather depressing. Also disappointing is that the state with the lowest incarceration rate (Maine) doesn't have a low recidivism rate, so it's not as if they're particularly good at reforming their crooks - they just don't have as many to start with.
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Old 26th May 2017, 06:23 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by Mumbles View Post
Actually, I also devoted my education to STEM - which in the late 90s as an engineer meant "you get six non-STEM classes." Reading up on relations between white and black Americans through US history is a years-long hobby - inspired partly by family history, and partly by the fact that I got tired of the sci-fi/fantasy books I had been reading for a couple of decades up to that point
Funny, I've read a lot of ancient history because I got tired of sci-fi/fantasy. Actually, its just that sci-fi/fantasy are genre's full of bad writing. I got tired of wading through a half dozen bad books for one good.

Anyrate, I have a stem degree and had a lot more than 6 non-stem courses. My university even required a junior or senior level humanities course, I don't imagine english majors were required to take a junior or senior level engineering course.
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Old 26th May 2017, 06:24 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
Just ran across this disturbing bit of info:

Louisiana is the world's prison capital

Excerpt:



And more:

Prisoners, politicians mix at Capitol as Louisiana Legislature weighs criminal justice

And it gets worse. Some numbers to go with it:
I thought I understood racism and mass incarceration. But nothing prepared me for what I saw in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The incarceration rate for Louisiana is over double that of the US in general; which is already the highest in the world. And black people make up the overwhelming majority of the prison population. And as for the prison labour, it's a page right out of the Antebellum South.

Which Louisiana prisoners get to work in the Capitol, Governor's Mansion?

The more things change...
One of the many reasons I think the private prison discussion is largely a red herring. Closing all of the private prisons in the US will do little or nothing to solve the problems we have in our legal justice system.
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Old 26th May 2017, 08:13 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
One of the many reasons I think the private prison discussion is largely a red herring. Closing all of the private prisons in the US will do little or nothing to solve the problems we have in our legal justice system.

Except it's not a red herring, as people don't seem to understand what private prisons do or why they exist, or prefer to deny the obvious. If you'd bothered to read the links, Louisiana has both the highest incarceration rates, and the highest population of private for-profit prisons, with private prisons holding more inmates than public prisons. It's clear from the article that for-profit prisons are the primary driver of the massive increase in incarceration rates in the state.

While private, for-profit prisons are as much a symptom as they are a cause, their existence, and that of their corporate lobbyists, helps perpetuate the idea of prisons as slave labour, rather than prisons as agents of reform for the incarcerated.

Louisiana demonstrates the extreme end of the spectrum, but it's quite clear from their example that the private prison lobby and the profit motive is the largest driver of incarceration in the state. Not criminal justice, profit. States that do not rely on private prisons also see lower incarceration rates, and more positive moves toward reform.

Crunching the numbers from several sources (US DoJ, prison corporation websites), the states that have the largest numbers of private, for-profit prisons are also the ones that have both the highest rates of general incarceration, and the highest rates of minority incarceration. And while the national prison population in declining sloly, the prison populations in these states are growing. The overwhelming majority of them are in the South, with a cluster in Southern California (which also has the largest population of undocumented immigrants, one of the primary drivers of private prison growth).

And the Trump administration has stated that they want to see more emphasis placed on private, for-profit prisons. Which means that the problem can only get worse.

Getting rid of for-profit prisons entirely would not fix the core problems; but it would remove one very large barrier that is currently blocking attempts at prison reform in the very locations that need it the most. Although on a national basis, private prisons do not carry a large number of inmates, they do carry a significant fraction, and do carry the overwhelming majority of undocumented immigrants. Without that multi-million-dollar lobbying effort, reforms could proceed at a much greater pace.
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Old 26th May 2017, 08:26 AM   #67
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For anyone who hasn't read the articles luchog linked, it's worth noting that much of the for-profit prison activity in Louisiana is being engaged in by local sheriffs rather than by private prison companies. It's the for-profit distinction rather than the public vs. private distinction that seems relevant here. The state contracts out to them to hold convicts who'd otherwise be in state facilities or out on the streets. I see no indication that access to convict labor is a particularly strong motivator for this trend in Louisiana. Indeed, it seems that the state prison convicts are more likely to be working than the guys held in the for-profit sheriff facilities.
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Old 26th May 2017, 08:39 AM   #68
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Originally Posted by Civet View Post
For anyone who hasn't read the articles luchog linked, it's worth noting that much of the for-profit prison activity in Louisiana is being engaged in by local sheriffs rather than by private prison companies. It's the for-profit distinction rather than the public vs. private distinction that seems relevant here. The state contracts out to them to hold convicts who'd otherwise be in state facilities or out on the streets. I see no indication that access to convict labor is a particularly strong motivator for this trend in Louisiana. Indeed, it seems that the state prison convicts are more likely to be working than the guys held in the for-profit sheriff facilities.

Prison labour is just one of the ways that private prisons recoup their costs and turn a profit. But yes, it's the "for-profit" motive that is the key driver of incarceration rates.

Personally, I find the individual ownership by state sheriffs to be even more problematic than corporate ownership; since these are essentially publicly-elected officials using their positions for personal enrichment. They have a far higher motivation to pursue racist and excessively punitive policing, and to strongly encourage recidivism. Independent reports on for-profit prisons in general have found that they have greatly scaled-back or cut programs that help to reduce recidivism.

One thing both the sheriff's associations and private prison corporations have been lobbying hard against is reform of the drug laws, particularly hard against cannabis legalization and re-scheduling, as drug laws are one of the biggest drivers of incarceration for non-violent offenders, which are the preferred type of offender for for-profit prisons.
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Old 26th May 2017, 09:55 AM   #69
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I've just had a magnificently evil idea. The current system in Louisiana pays the sheriffs about $25 a head for the convicts they imprison. Instead, they could be allowed to release prisoners for a "liberty fee" of oh, say, $25 dollars a day. Any convict who can scare up his daily 25 gets to stay free for the day. Lowers the prison population while still keeping the revenue flowing at the same rate.
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Old 26th May 2017, 10:48 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by luchog View Post
Prison labour is just one of the ways that private prisons recoup their costs and turn a profit. But yes, it's the "for-profit" motive that is the key driver of incarceration rates.

Personally, I find the individual ownership by state sheriffs to be even more problematic than corporate ownership; since these are essentially publicly-elected officials using their positions for personal enrichment. They have a far higher motivation to pursue racist and excessively punitive policing, and to strongly encourage recidivism. Independent reports on for-profit prisons in general have found that they have greatly scaled-back or cut programs that help to reduce recidivism.

One thing both the sheriff's associations and private prison corporations have been lobbying hard against is reform of the drug laws, particularly hard against cannabis legalization and re-scheduling, as drug laws are one of the biggest drivers of incarceration for non-violent offenders, which are the preferred type of offender for for-profit prisons.

I'm confused by some of your verbiage. You get that prison and jail are different things, right?

I bolded the term "state sheriffs" because I have no idea what that is.

Sherriffs are elected at the county level, and to my knowledge they do not oversee prisons at all. Most of these are state or federally managed with a smaller percentage managed privately, and definitely not at the county level, where a sheriff would even be involved.

County jails, which typically do fall under a Sherriff's jurisdiction are not typically used for housing inmates for sentences of more than one year, so the recidivism argument doesnt really work there, because as inmates get longer sentences on successive charges, they are no longer held at county jail, but instead go to prison.

Totally agree with the idea that it's wrong for Sherriffs to personally profit from inmate services, but I dont see that it fits in with your larger point on prisons since they are not at all involved in prisons, public or private as far as I know.

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Old 26th May 2017, 10:57 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Pterodactyl View Post
Sherriffs are elected at the county level, and to my knowledge they do not oversee prisons at all. Most of these are state or federally managed with a smaller percentage managed privately, and definitely not at the county level, where a sheriff would even be involved.
Louisiana is just different. This article luchog posted upthread explains it a bit. Sheriffs in Louisiana have much more control over prisons than would normally be the case and are using some of the money they get for housing convicts to pay for other departmental activities.
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Old 26th May 2017, 11:01 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by Civet View Post
Louisiana is just different. This article luchog posted upthread explains it a bit. Sheriffs in Louisiana have much more control over prisons than would normally be the case and are using some of the money they get for housing convicts to pay for other departmental activities.
Gotcha.
I will look into that further. Definitely different in my state. Was really confused reading some of these posts.
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Old 26th May 2017, 11:04 AM   #73
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Keep in mind that the legal system in LA is significantly different from the rest of the country.

It seems in Lousiana, the State pays Sheriffs to build and operate prisons, unlike the rest of the nation in which sheriffs only operate jails. Jails typically being used for holding prisoners before trial and for more minor offenses.

It also appears that they are not technically run for profit, the excess is funneled in to the sheriff's operating accounts. I'm sure there's plenty of graft but that appears to be illegal.

As the sheriffs are elected this system also as the benefit of jobs for constituents. A win-win for the sheriff. The sheriffs also lobby to ensure the funds keep coming.

Personally, I think this still supports my point. This is lobbying by public officials not just private corporations and as I mentioned, they aren't technically for profit. This falls into a similar category of prison guard unions that also lobby to maintain and increase incarceration.
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Old 26th May 2017, 11:41 AM   #74
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Looking at some comparisons between Louisiana and Mississippi, it seems that limiting the ability of the corrections system to find innovative means of housing additional prisoners forces them to engage in policies that reduce the prison population a little. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing any indication that Mississippi actually got any better at rehabilitating criminals. They just seemed to reduce the number they arrested for parole/probation violations.
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Old 26th May 2017, 12:12 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
Personally, I think this still supports my point. This is lobbying by public officials not just private corporations and as I mentioned, they aren't technically for profit. This falls into a similar category of prison guard unions that also lobby to maintain and increase incarceration.
Agreed. Maybe the best distinction is people who have a significant financial or professional interest in maintaining high incarceration rates and people who do not.
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Old 26th May 2017, 12:52 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by Civet View Post
Looking at some comparisons between Louisiana and . They just seemed to reduce the number they arrested for parole/probation violations.
From what I understand of the penal system, that's probably a reasonable reform.
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Old 26th May 2017, 02:38 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
Personally, I think this still supports my point. This is lobbying by public officials not just private corporations and as I mentioned, they aren't technically for profit. This falls into a similar category of prison guard unions that also lobby to maintain and increase incarceration.

Not the case in Lousiana, but in Alabama, money that is not spent on inmates go directly into the sheriff's pockets. So yeah, while not technically for-profit that is in fact the ultimate result. Private prisons being run for the personal profit of their owners.

However, the situation in Louisiana isn't all that much different, since although the sheriffs do not directly pocket the overage, they re-direct that money to pay their own and their deputies' salaries, so it amounts to effectively the exact same thing, in practice. They skimp on programs and food for prisoners, paying on the bare minimum to meet the notoriously lax state requirements, and the rest finds its way into their pockets by a slightly more circuitous route. All perfectly legally. Private for-profit in fact if not in name.
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