How should we treat the worst prisoners?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by jmpet, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. Bebelina Valued Senior Member

    I agree with your points Fraggle, but still thinks that execution is murder. If a person wants to die is another thing, that should be a personal choice, but then they must also have the courage to do it themselves and not demand murder from their fellow citizens.

    Queen, the problem is not parents not spotting their childrens problems in time, the problem is parents not giving a shit at all, or creating problems for their children. They often excuse themselves that way though, "I knew something wasn't right with him/her." etc. To make it look like they had no part in how their children turned out, that they just became like that by themselves.

    What is SHU? Googled it but I assume it's not Seaton Hall University you're talking about.

    jmpet, apparently those people you're refering to don't belong in prison, thier "punishment" should be something else, more suitable for their personality-type. Hard work in some factory perhaps, or chopping wood..?
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  3. Gremmie "Happiness is a warm gun" Valued Senior Member

    Hey there Bebelina..

    SHU stands for Special Housing Unit..
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  5. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    A few years ago a study was done on the inmates in Indiana's death row awaiting execution. 100% (all - every single person) of them had organic brain damage from extreme repeated child abuse that was easily discernible in an x - ray. Most all of them were what we call "insane" long before they were incarcerated. While they are now what we call criminals, who was it that made them that way? Were those persons held accountable for what they did?

    Sociopaths do not feel the way that most of us do. They do not feel empathy or remorse, they do not associate the punishment with the crime and they lack the ability to stop themselves from doing the crime.

    Yeah, innocent people get tossed into prison, that is for sure. The likelihood of an innocent person making it all of the way through the process onto death row is very very slim though. Most of the folks on death row are "insane" before they get there. Most will readily admit to what they have been charged with and many will tell you that they wish to die and be done with it rather than sit and endure the boring continuation of their limited existence.
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  7. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    Additionally, the myth that drug traffickers, prostitutes, tax cheats and the like are dangerous criminals that should be stripped of all of their rights (some for forever) and incarcerated is not just costly and counterproductive, it constitutes "cruel and unusual imprisonment" in my book and such practice should cease immediately.

    IMHO, this is why the US of A has more of its citizens in prison than any other country in the world - routine persecution of people who do not fit into the stereotypical world view of a particular religious power elite that desires all to tow their specific moral line.
  8. Dr Mabuse Percipient Thaumaturgist Registered Senior Member

    Good thing we have an 'expert' on the penal system who's 'been in the trenches' in the worst prisons all over America.

    Someone like that would surely know that SHU=Security Housing Unit.

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  9. Gremmie "Happiness is a warm gun" Valued Senior Member

    Try again genius....Special Housing Unit...

    Where do you get "security" from?...TV?

    The whole idea of a prison, is to be "secure".....But, what would I know?...I've only worked as a CO...I'm sure a layman like you knows more..

    Edit: I just checked..."Some" prisons call it Security Housing Unit as well..Some call it Secure Housing Unit..

    Most call it Special Housing Unit.. Just depends on the prison.

    But, thanks for trying to insult/mock me Mabuse...Says a lot about your character.

    BTW..Since you seem to feel you know all about the penal system...How about answering my question?
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2010
  10. jmpet Valued Senior Member

    Well- what shall we do with these prisoners who defy the system?
  11. Gremmie "Happiness is a warm gun" Valued Senior Member

    That's up to each individual states Gov't...Governers run the show..
  12. woowoo Registered Senior Member

    A system like supermax that deliberately sets out to drive people to insanity and suicide by caging them alone for the rest of their lives strikes me as being inherently evil.

    Solitary Watch - a collaboration between journalists aimed at bringing the widespread use of solitary confinement and other
    forms of torture in U.S. prisons out of the shadows and into the light of the public square.

    Stopmax - campaign sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) - a Quaker group - which works to eliminate
    the use of isolation and segregation in US prisons

    Stopmax Voices Voices of prisoners in solitary confinement in the US, published by the Stopmax campaign to stop prison isolation and related forms of torture

    Supermaxed - about Supermax and maximum security prisons

    Abolish control units - US campaign to shut down Control Units - isolation cells within prisons where people are confined
    to small cells for long periods of time
  13. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The last eight times I had family members of various non-human species euthanized, in each case I was unable to determine what their own wishes were. I just had to do what I hoped was right for them, since they had always trusted me to look out for their best interests.

    Many people, myself included, hope that if some day I am unable to speak for myself but am in distress, people who care about me, either because we were personally acquainted or because it's their job, will make the decision in the same kind manner, without being able to have that conversation with me.

    We are talking about being unable to provide this class of inmates with a basic level of human comfort because they can only achieve that comfort by behaving sociopathically. How would you handle them?
    In the United States, seventy percent of the people in prison were raised in homes with no father. That seems like a good place to begin our analysis.
    I understand your feelings about the issue and it's a fine point, but I think that this is a case where the precision of the discussion demands subtleties in language. Every definition of the word "murder" includes the term "unlawful." If the killing of a human being is performed in accordance with the law of the land, it may be many things, but it is simply not murder. Personally I find it much more useful to remind everyone that it is an act of revenge. If the government is allowed to exact revenge, then how do they expect to inspire the citizens to refrain from it?
    Homo sapiens is, by instinct, a pack-social animal like wolves, dolphins and gorillas. We are programmed to care for and depend on a small tribe of people we have known since birth; this enhances the survivability of the tribe and therefore of the species.

    Starting with the Agricultural Revolution and the concomitant enlargement of our communities to include formerly hostile neighboring tribes, we have been using our uniquely large forebrain to override instinctive behavior with reasoned and learned behavior. Our inner caveman is still down there (since a few hundred generations are not enough for a major mutation in our neurons), but we negotiate with him so he's willing to trade the comfort of a life surrounded by intimacy for the safety, satiety and entertainment of a life surrounded by post-Stone Age technology.

    Occasionally he has a bad day and reverts to his Paleolithic behavior, stealing the possessions of people who are not his tribe-mates, running them off of his territory, or even killing them. So long as he does not do this to his tribe-mates (spouse, children, immediate family and closest friends) he may be a criminal but he's not a sociopath.

    A sociopath is one who has lost, or was not born with, the pack-social instinct at all. He feels no love for his parents and siblings, does not engage in true friendship or romance, and if he seems to do so he is only going through the motions cleverly in order to pass inspection. He is a solitary predator like tigers, bears and wolverines. He's as likely to kill his mother, wife, daughter or best friend as he is a stranger.

    These are the people who are beyond help. They don't have an inner caveman because a caveman would never kill those close to him. They lack one of the most important instincts that makes us human and has allowed us to build civilization.

    They should be treated as the less-than-human animals they are. That means we still must be humane to them, just as we would be to a captured tiger or bear. Moreover, since both psychiatrists and policemen make mistakes, we must keep them alive in case one day we discover that their diagnosis or their verdict was wrong and they deserve to be freed.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2010
  14. Bebelina Valued Senior Member

    It doesn't matter what the law calls it. We are born into societies which laws we have no idea about at birth and should therefore not be forced to submit to.
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Um... I don't think you've thought that statement through to its logical conclusion. Laws are one of the hallmarks of civilization. They guide us into behaving in ways that are not quite natural but are imperative if we are to live harmoniously in communities enormously larger than the small extended-family groups of nomadic hunter-gatherers that our brains are genetically programmed for.

    We simply cannot go around performing all of the behaviors that were instinctive to us at birth. Chimpanzees do that and cavemen got away with it in the Paleolithic Era. As soon as they developed agriculture and began inviting tribes of strangers to live together, they had to create laws.

    Civilization wouldn't last ten minutes if we all walked around "not submitting to laws which we had no idea about at birth." If you don't believe me, just take a long hard look at some of the regions in the news today where people are reverting to Stone Age tribal behavior and civilization is, consequently, collapsing. As a woman you must be especially repulsed by their "natural" attitude toward your gender.
  16. Bebelina Valued Senior Member

    Yes, I am often repulsed by male attitude towards my gender..."there you go little girl" *pats on head* No need to look back at stone age to find that kind of behaviour.

    The thing is, we can't expect the old laws to apply to new generations, they have every right to make up their own version of the world they have entered. Laws must be easily changeable when new ideas come forward that apply more logically to a given situation. The older generation can only hope that the youngster grow up in fear and submissiveness and will not try to destroy their little carefully built society, but...
  17. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    We are a social animal. This means that we (the vast majority) like to live together in packs and piles. Yeah, we still have our old, basic, built - in behaviors, but those are quickly socialized into repression in most of us, though they may come back if we develop cerebral cortex loss in our dotage due to poor health.

    This is indeed how most of us learn to behave ourselves such that we can live and work together. Unfortunately, some of us have sustained damage to our cerebral cortices such that we are unable to exercise sufficient self - control to do so. Others of us have genetic errors such that we failed to develop said cerebral control structures. Still others lack sufficient brain tissue in specific regions that are responsible for generating what we term as "normal" human emotional sets. Ipso facto we cannot "feel" as deeply as others of our kind and we end up living very much 'in the moment'.

    The classic test involves a chair that delivers a painful electric shock. There is a 10 second timer on the wall in front of the chair and a "1 time only" reset button on the chair arm. The subject is restrained in the chair such that they must sit through the experiment.

    When the timer is released, 10 seconds tick down. When the timer hits zero, a painful electric shock hits the seated subject. If he/she presses the reset button on the chair arm the timer will be reset only once. After that it becomes non - functional and the shock will be delivered no matter what.

    Normal people, knowing the situation, grit their teeth and tolerate the shock, preferring to 'get it over with'. The sociopath will always press the reset to delay the punishment for another 10 seconds, then they will try to reset the timer a second time despite knowing that it won't work. We interpret this as a dissociation between the action and the results on the part of the subject. Others may call it 'magical thinking' - trying the same thing repeatedly while hoping for novel results.

    Some folks undoubtedly should be put to death so that we don't waste resources keeping them alive after they have been found to be unsalvageable and a complete loss to the rest of us. Examples abound.

    If there is even a tiny little bit of doubt though, then we should chuck them away in perpetuity while making sure they cannot do further harm to anyone else. The weaker your ability to be with others, the lower your social needs, the greater your ability to live comfortably away from the rest of us.

    Bluntly - if you are so messed up that you can't be around other people without hurting or killing them, then you will be just fine locked up forever all by yourself.

    On the flip, there are indeed many folks who act out due to a lousy upbringing and an abusive childhood, though they suffer no obvious physiologic harm to their brain organ. These folks may improve substantially with therapy and rehabilitation. Too bad we don't bother with that in most cases.

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    These indeed would likely benefit from a functional, traditional core family that stresses health, education, personal achievement, empathy and getting along with others. How to implement this is the real problem. It seems that relationships of all kinds have undergone serious deterioration in the few short decades that I have been around watching.....

    In a world full of teenage 'baby mommies' and 'baby daddies' where 1/2 of marriages end in divorce and 1/2 of married people admit to having sex with someone outside of the marriage, how can a child be expected to know how to establish and maintain a relationship of any kind? This inability to create and maintain relationships is the very core of this problem, and it costs us all quite a bit.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010
  18. Skeptical Registered Senior Member

    This is one of those 'unanswerable' questions. Humanity lacks the technology to reliably rehabilitate. We cannot even reliably predict which people will turn out bad. In fact, we cannot even determine reliably which 'criminals' are actually guilty.

    A few years ago, we had a guy charged for white collar crime and imprisoned for a few years. This guy was highly educated and intelligent. After his release, he wrote a piece for the national newspaper about life in prison. One of the things that was of real interest was his estimate of how many prisoners were 'innocent'.

    According to this guy, the inmates tended to lie to officials but admitted the truth to other inmates. Thus he found out who was truly guilty and who was not. He said that 25% of prisoners were not guilty of the crime they were imprisoned for. Note that this does not mean they were innocent of all crimes. Most of those guys had, in fact, committed crimes - just not the one they went to prison for.

    Bearing this in mind, executions are unjust. 25% of all those who are executed will be innocent of the crime they are executed for. You can argue the exact percentage, but it still adds up to a hell of a lot of people executed for crimes they did not do.

    Euthanasia, on the other hand, can be justified, as long as it is done as a result of the earnest desire of the person to be euthanised. I sometimes think that every prison should have a 'heroine room'. The prisoner decides to die, and goes through counselling to make sure this is a sincere and non impulsive desire. The interview gets video taped.

    Then the prisoner is taken to the special room, and strapped down - told this is one way, and there is no return, that being his last chance to back out. Then a drip inserted with a heroine pump. This is activated by the prisoner himself, and the pump delivers heroine directly into his bloodstream - a little at first, then increasing doses till his heart stops. The prisoner dies with a smile on his dial.
  19. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Well I think we can rehabilitate most prisoners through work and educations programs, criminals like petty thieves and drug addicts. Criminals due to anger management I think psychological programs, medication and eventually cybernetics can be used to treat them. Rapist and pedophiles I think can easily be treated with sterilization and/or medication, but I guess the really bad ones (murders, armed robbers) can be enslaved for life in prison work programs or harvested for their organs.
  20. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    We should pray for their souls....
  21. Zecoac Registered Senior Member

    It depens on the person, case, & situation.
  22. Stoniphi obscurely fossiliferous Valued Senior Member

    Rape is a crime of violence and control. Sterilization cannot address those feelings. It can also be considered as "cruel and unusual punishment" in the US of A, and as such would be deemed unconstitutional. If you remove the rapists sex organ they will use a substitute of some kind to act out their need to control and defile another person.

    Pedophiles are created by pedophiles. The criminal was once the victim. This to has to do with control issues, it is not sex par ses. There is a profound difference between "sex" and "predatory sexual criminality". Sex has to do with hormones and desire, predatory sexual criminality has to do with controlling another person, treating them as you believe your were treated, wronging them as you were wronged.

    Again, if you have brain damage such that you cannot keep yourself from committing crimes there is little that we can do for you save keep you away from the rest of us for our own safety.

    Druggies, prostitutes and the like are moral "criminals" and should not be arrested in the first place IMHO, as that is a total waste of our resources and money. Also ineffective. If we cleared our prisons of those folks we would have the resources etc to deal with the actual criminals.

    Part of the problem here is the over-criminalization of common behaviors. That has led to the overcrowding of prisons and increasing ineffectiveness of rehabilitation efforts.
  23. Gremmie "Happiness is a warm gun" Valued Senior Member

    Excellent post...I think you hit the nail on the head here...

    And this is coming from a former C.O. Good on ya.

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