Prison reform is coming!


Yessiree, what with all the current Ponzi schemes, frauds, stock market manipulations, and other assorted high finance crimes by lowlifes, why Bernie Madoff is just the leading edge of former Wall Street BSDs who are going to prison. Given that the general public is in a decidedly angry mood about this and wants  serious show trials and convictions, it’s probable dozens if not hundreds of these greedy weasels will soon be incarcerated.

And that can only mean one thing – a sudden call for prison reform from the elites. Goodness, they will squeal, while feverishly trying to figure out how to get themselves and their money to a country with no extradition for financial crimes, U.S. prisons are mean and cruel places, certainly it must be time to reform them.

And I would agree. As Amnesty International has said, prison should be where you go as punishment, not for punishment. But U.S. prisons are deliberately vicious and engineered for punishment. We have, I believe, the highest incarceration rate in the world. There are draconian sentences for minor crimes (as in California’s Three Strikes law), isolation chambers with no human contact for years on end (Amnesty calls it torture), and the official encouragement of gangs, rape, and inmate on inmate violence as a way of controlling things. It’s all quite sickening.

But if enough of the once powerful end up in prison, why all that might start to change. I hope so.

  • “Goodness, they will squeal…”

    Actually, no. Madoff isn’t going to spend the rest of his days in the joint, unless Ken Lay like he kicks off tonight. These cretins aren’t “hardened” three strikes criminals, they don’t do hard time, they go to country clubs along with crooked cops, preachers, pedophiles and politicians. Golf course, swimin’ pool, the occasional movie star.

    At the taxpayer’s expense, of course.

    • Bloomberg quoted an ex-con who advises white collar criminals on what to expect in prison. He said, among other things, that the country club prison was gone. They aren’t fun places now, if they ever were. No, it’s not supermax or gladiator school, but still plenty unpleasant.

      Oh, he charges $999 to tell them what to expect!

  • Elaina Jannell

    Whether or not someone goes to a Federal penitentiarie or a State Prison depends on the type of crime. But Mr. Morris is correct in that prison in this country is where you go to be punished, not as punishment. But this is the most expensive and least effective means of increasing public safety. Any good rehabilitation program costs money, but every cost/benefit analysis shows that for every dollar spent in rehabilitation, it will result in at least a $5-10$ savings later on due to lower recidivism, no more court costs, the person working and now paying taxes, etc. We complain about the costs of incarceration, but do nothing but continue to demand we lock up criminals and throw away the key. NOT ALL INMATES CAN BE REHABILITATED. BUT, IF YOU CAN REDUCE CALIFORNIA’S LEVEL FROM 70% TO 40%, AT $49,000/YEAR TO HOUSE AN INMATE, IT IS A REALLY BIG SAVINGS. And it will begin to break the cycle of generations growing up without fathers, falling into crime and themselves becoming future inmates.

    Elaina Jannell, Ph.D.
    AFSCME Local 2620 — State Social Service Workers

    • In California, the politically powerful prison guards union actively lobbies against a rehab approach or anything like that, preferring apparently to have lots of prisoners so they keep their jobs and fat paychecks.

      Yes, there are those who should never be let out of prison, but I know several people who did prison time, turned their lives around and are Joe Citizen now. A rehab approach in prison would help more people do that. Then they’re paying taxes, not being an expense to the government.

      • DJ

        At one California prison, to save money they cut out the kitchen staff and put inmates in the kitchen instead. The inmates stole half the food, leaving insufficient rations at meal time, and sold the rest to other inmates who could afford it. When I went to visit a guy there, he’d lost 40 pounds and looked like a scarecrow. It’s hard to believe they’d leave inmates running a kitchen unattended, which suggests that the guards knew about the food theft and allowed it.

        My friend is doing 36-to-life for getting drunk and fighting with another drunk outside a 7-Eleven (a third strike). He’s in his 40s and barring a miracle will probably die in prison. He told me once he’s thinking about petitioning for the death penalty because life in a California prison is cruel and unusual punishment.

      • Raymond Garcia

        hello, my name is raymond garcia,im 30yrs old and i have been to prison. i am now headed back for another dui,i dont blame no one for my crime but myself,as for going to prison i dont belive i should,i know i have a drinking problem and i alone cant handle it, i have a family a home and people who love me and want me to get help.prison was not the place for me i didnt fit in to the crowed, im not in a gang nor do i associte my self with them but when u enter into prison the staff makes u choose who ur going to “run” with while ur doing time,i for one was scared cause i dont think it should be like that to put my life in harms way,i do belive i should be punished for breaking the law cause i did wrong.something has to change lots of “felons” are none violent,but yet were treated as murders,rapist,sex offenders,and gang members,but yet we do as much time for none violent crimes or even more time. i just hope i can get help before its to late for me and i just become a $ sign for califonia.

        • A.A. can help people stop drinking, sometimes when no one else can. Help is available. Hope you find it. And there’s lots of people in A.A. who did prison time.

          • DJ

            I have to say that one of the things I really like about Utah (especially as compared with California) is their belief in rehabilitation. They have a system called “drug court,” which is a diversionary program. If you jump through all their hoops, including successfully completing a rehab (inpatient or outpatient– their choice), staying clean & sober (they test), doing what your PO tells you to, and going to AA/NA meetings, people either avoid prison completely or greatly reduce their sentences.

            Not everyone who goes through drug court stays sober when their commitment is fulfilled. Hell, a sizable number fail while they’re still in drug court and go back to jail or prison. But there are enough recoveries to remind us that alcoholism and drug addiction CAN be treated.

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