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X_PRSN t1_irin427 wrote

In addition to this, what also needs to happen is a large-scale transformation of the American attitude towards incarcerated persons. We still widely regard the justice system as a form of retribution rather than rehabilitation. We relish the thought of prisoners languishing in the most uncomfortable conditions we can imagine, and we take it up with our politicians when we learn otherwise, who then pressure the prison systems to become less "cushy" and more like a medieval torture chamber.

The media did the biggest harm to the US Justice system in the 80's when they ran stories on the "luxurious" conditions of federal prisons, meant to incite outrage that these people were enjoying things like swimming pools, tennis courts, and other things we teach ourselves that they don't deserve. After that story ran, the federal prison system was pressured into shutting down many of those amenities, and discouraged from developing other ways to help rehabilitate. We can't have criminals living it up at "Club Fed" now, can we?This hurts the inmates, and in turn it hurts the staff of those prisons, and ultimately it hurts society when we release someone who isn't equipped to function and is facing a hostile community who feels that he hasn't been "punished" enough.


RaindropsInMyMind t1_irlba39 wrote

I met a guy a long time ago who was a psychologist. I guess he was on some kind of board or something where he had a say in prison conditions and he was so excited to tell me that he had a hand in getting some exercise equipment taken away from inmates. That’s always stuck with me, not specifically because I’m outraged that they didn’t have exercise equipment but because of how much he enjoyed it getting taken away from them.


BurghPuppies t1_irkwg4c wrote

So just to be clear…. The media is to blame for reporting on actual conditions that existed. Not people reacting or overreacting without looking into it themselves in more depth?

And let’s be real, the issue of retribution rather than rehabilitation is what the prison system was founded upon… so I don’t think a story in 1980 really changed Americans’ attitude all that much.


work-edmdg t1_irlo6xe wrote

But what happens when punishment isn’t severe? When criminals aren’t concerned with their actions or the consequences? I’m for rehabilitation and forgiveness, but at the same time, we must judge and punish as prevention.


KetchupEnthusiest95 t1_is7lxqa wrote

Severe punishments don't actually help in the vast majority of wrong doing. Its been shown in basic upbringing, hitting your child actually makes them more violent over time.

Preventive measures don't work, mostly because they don't address the conditions that induce these violent actions. Many felons are impoverished or poor people who had no legal way out, or had very few options. Many are either formerly abandoned children or abused children with no safety net for the mental or physical health.

And then when they leave prison, their records follow them everywhere. They're permanently, they are scared in physical, mental and bureaucratic ways.

To your point, sure there are some people that we could define as true evil, but I would rather they be treated as the exception rather than the assumptive rule of all criminals.


[deleted] t1_irip067 wrote



QuillVance t1_irisutq wrote

You should really read the article or alternatively just stop wishing for the unnecessary suffering of other people.


BidenSniffsYaKids t1_irjqz75 wrote

lol we have teens car jacking people at gun point everyday in Philly. We have pre teens murdering the elderly with traffic cones. The criminal population of America and the criminal population of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden are not equal.


[deleted] t1_irkbcmx wrote

I didn’t know you thought children should spend the rest of their life in prison. Maybe we should just kill them on the spot and save everyone the effort hu? Since they are clearly sub human beings?

Seriously. What do you think when you say “pre teens do X terrible thing?” Cuz what I hear is a complete failure to ensure they had a chance to even be normal.


[deleted] t1_irito6v wrote



bk1285 t1_irja1vb wrote

You got the link to your research that you completed on Scandinavian prisons?


[deleted] t1_irjbbh5 wrote



bk1285 t1_irjd28p wrote

Oh so basically you have no expertise in the matter and the conclusions you drew from your own “research” should be ignored


[deleted] t1_irjet34 wrote



bk1285 t1_irjg6ka wrote

Yeah but I’m not the one cutting that I did research…you are


[deleted] t1_irjget5 wrote



bk1285 t1_irjuh9w wrote

So I have a BA in history, a BSE in Secondary Education, and a MA in clinical mental health counseling so I’ve done plenty of research but I never purport to go against what a majority of studies will say


ItsjustJim621 t1_irjq0q9 wrote

What’s a “real” college?


[deleted] t1_irjv3ej wrote



ItsjustJim621 t1_irjvm71 wrote

Lol ok. You can get the same education from an online school as you would a B&M school for 1/4 of the tuition….But go on with your ad hom attacks. Not a good look coming from a graduate from a school that turned a blind eye to kids getting raped all in the name of football


[deleted] t1_irjx98y wrote



ItsjustJim621 t1_irjxeqr wrote

You do realize they’re not the only online school right? Purdue, WGU, heck, even Ped State….but go on…nobody cares where you went to school….nobody on here nor your employers


[deleted] t1_irjy0q8 wrote



ItsjustJim621 t1_irjye8f wrote

Umm, me…I’m doing it….bachelors in cybersecurity, and following it up with a masters.

So you’re saying the certification exams for IT certifications are a joke? Like the CCNA, CISSP, CySA, CCIE etc….those are a joke to you? Those are literally educational, instructive, and rigorous.


[deleted] t1_irk7k3j wrote



[deleted] t1_irk8fym wrote



bk1285 t1_irk91ry wrote

Defund what? That’s just horrible branding…reallocate funds to ensure services are done well…If you have your home robbed while you are at work, what good is the police coming to your home? Why not have social workers who are trained to help you file a report and are able to put you in contact with programs and other services who may be able to help you?


LittleLight85 t1_iriz4ru wrote

>Prisoners should not live better than our working class.

This doesn’t make the point you think it does

>We have a different culture than Scandinavia. Norwegians aren't killing each other over literally nothing daily like Americans.

Yeah, the extreme socioeconomic inequality is a major driving force for crime in the US. We have a culture that keeps people poor and desperate, or mentally ill with no resources, and wonder why there’s a crime and violence problem.


[deleted] t1_irj37p9 wrote



Joe_Jeep t1_irjq7e8 wrote

The culture problem comes from inequality and decades(really centuries) of damages inflicted on the poor and minority groups in general

Your idea seems to be continuing to punish it out of the folks already in a terrible position


X_PRSN t1_irivpa8 wrote

I think where you and I have an opportunity to come to further agreement is find common ground on the definitions of "comfortable" and "nice." See, I think prisons should, in fact, have swimming pools and tennis courts. But I also don't think of them as luxuries. I think of them as necessities - because attending to one's mental health means more than weekly visits to a shrink or going to group. It's also finding good outlets for stress, and because people are individuals, it's logical to offer as many recreational and creative outlets as can be practical. And I really don't think I'm suggesting anything that's out of reach for any working class citizen.

More than that, though, and for better for for worse, prisoners live in a community of their own. The more reflective that community is of society in general, the more well-adjusted they'll be, which I believe will lead to lower recidivism, and maybe - just maybe - begin to transform the US into a less violent culture. Not saying it'll happen overnight, obviously, but an evolution in that direction, starting with how we treat the people who break society's laws, can be a good thing.


[deleted] t1_iriwegu wrote



X_PRSN t1_irixruv wrote

Frankly, yes.

I mean, we don't have to be talking about the local country club. Any YMCA is going to have these. (Since we're talking specifically about swimming pools and tennis courts, I happen to know of several in my town that are free.) And there are programs for lower income folks to assist with fees, as well as access to mental health care. It's really not as impractical as you're suggesting.

But this is a tangent from my original point, which is that as a society, we owe it to ourselves to ensure that the people we remove from society for a time don't make things worse for themselves or us when they come home. That means changing our collective attitude. Discussions like ours are part of that evolution.


LittleLight85 t1_irizsr2 wrote

A Y membership is like $50/month. I wouldn’t say lower income people are utilizing that much.


Relax007 t1_irkpfzh wrote

My local YMCA has free or reduced rates for low income families. Is that not done everywhere (or is $50 the reduced rate)? I haven’t been a member in years and I can’t remember how that program works.


devinchi18 t1_irjkhbf wrote

I like the way you think and speak. Have an ASU


[deleted] t1_irj3y2j wrote



random6x7 t1_irjae9w wrote

Once upon a time we did. My mom basically used the community pool as our summer babysitter (ah, the 80s). The one we went to as kids is gone now, but we were in an emphatically working class neighborhood to the point that we got free lunches at the community center in the summers. That park, with the community center and the pool, didn't have tennis courts, but it had baseball diamonds, soccer fields, a street hockey rink, and basketball hoops, both indoor and outdoor. And a playground, and free events like concerts. Our disinvestment in our communities should not be an excuse to treat people who are even worse off in an even shittier way.


DarthEeveeChan t1_iritg0m wrote

It doesn't have to be the point of incarceration. I think prisons should normally be for rehabilitation. Studies show that most crime is out of desperation rather than malice so I think if we can use prisons to help people be better ready to succeed in society instead of using prisons to deter people from crime out of fear then we will, overall, improve the crime rates.


[deleted] t1_iriue1z wrote



EnOhVeHey t1_irj2fsx wrote

I mean, so you strongly dispute it based on science? Or your feelings?


[deleted] t1_irj5ngi wrote



EnOhVeHey t1_irjv5co wrote

Like which?


[deleted] t1_irjwj7p wrote



EnOhVeHey t1_irk4ore wrote

Like which specifically?


[deleted] t1_irk67m8 wrote



EnOhVeHey t1_irk853h wrote

You really are as useless as I thought you were.


[deleted] t1_irk8y5s wrote



EnOhVeHey t1_irk9v87 wrote

Half of my family is police force (my uncle just graduated yesterday!) so that’s a dumb assumption on your part. And what does the police force have to do with our prisons you act like the police are judge and jury.


dratseb t1_irix3cj wrote

Who’s going to tell mr “I don’t want prisons to get comfortable and nice” about club fed?


Grouchy-Estimate-756 t1_irjc3s5 wrote

What in our current system of incarceration is actually helping rehabilitate inmates? Do you really think it's working, as it is? People should be held accountable for their actions but throwing them in prison doesn't seem to actually do that.


[deleted] t1_irjckpu wrote



Grouchy-Estimate-756 t1_irk0zsx wrote

It has to be imagined if we want it to exist. Continually choosing the option that doesn't work and saying "well, there don't seem to be other options" doesn't make it a good choice.


Grouchy-Estimate-756 t1_irk15z0 wrote

Maybe we have to start looking at why Americans are killing each other over literally nothing?


Super_C_Complex t1_irj6h16 wrote

The problem with implementing these sorts of policies stats with the legislature.

Recently the legislature wanted to see what they could do to reduce DUI recidivism. So they talked to the police, district attorney's, prison officials, and MADD.

Now, a DUI can get you sentenced up State for up to ten years. And if you get a second and third in a decade, they just be run consecutively. Which means up to 15 years

Have weed and sandwich baggies? Felony possession with intent.

Steal from Sheetz because you're too poor to buy food? Felony.

You can get sentence to State for bullshit.

So it isn't rapists, murderers, and child abusers up State

It's people who could benefit from rehabilitation. Drug treatment. Education. Anger management. Scandinavian incarcerations would benefit them.

But State is portrayed as the place for violent individuals. But it's not


PopeMaIone t1_irjg0il wrote

What are you talking about state prison isn't where rapists, murderers and child abusers are? Thats exactly where they are. Your argument would at least make a little sense if you were talking about just the county jails even though plenty of violent criminals are there awaiting trial as well.


piperonyl t1_irjxicd wrote

I think you'd be shocked to learn how many people are upstate in PA for super petty shit.

PA likes to hand out that 1-5 year sentence for a 2nd DUI (or 3rd depending on ARD eligibility for the 1st one). People take that deal when their lawyers tell them that you'll see the parole board in 12 months and since its your first time upstate and a misdemeanor, you'll be out in 12 months. Wrong. Lots of people up there doing 3-4 years on a DUI.

Good friend of mine is on his 4th year for a car accident on a DUI suspended license. Four years in prison for a car accident? Four years is a long time up top.


LostInSpace9 t1_irjybj8 wrote

And I’m betting that will prevent him from getting a decent job and living a normal life after those years are up, too…


piperonyl t1_irk08lx wrote

When someone is 40 years old, he needs to have a drivers license. Like i get punishing people for drinking and driving because thats dangerous and irresponsible. But taking away someones drivers license is like taking away someones way to feed their family.

News flash for any PA state representatives paying attention here: drunks are going to drive whether they have a license or not.

Taking away a drivers license does more harm than good.


devilspeaksintongues t1_irk432q wrote

Introduce the Scandinavian style breathalizers that are directly linked to your ignition... If you're driving drunk you shouldn't be fucking driving ever, end of. You're a death threat to everyone else on the road and do not deserve the privilege to drive. Driving is not a right, it's a privilege.. if you break that law then suffer the consequences cause you're a liability to everyone else on the road.

Yes there should be rehabilitation involved in some way or another for people with duis, suspended licenses, etc.

I dont believe incarceration is deserved unless you end up killing someone while DUI.


That_Girl_Cray t1_irjsu58 wrote

Little Scandanavia at SCI Chester my cousin is there and was one of the 65 picked for the program. He really likes it. It's awesome and I really think it can do a lot of good.


wh0_RU t1_irlcd1j wrote

Haha I love the personal connection to the inside


IllustriousNinja8564 t1_iriuzcd wrote

To add a second, more cynical comment: if it is ok for our children to be addicted to these devices and staring at them like zombies … why not just give the devices to prisoners, and let them have the luxury of being zombified? It would solve a few problems and also it would offer avenues to retrain their minds in regard to mental health techniques, behavior modification training and things like that - via the apps which would be available to them. Obviously we aren’t going to let them watch YouTube all day, but tablets could be maximized in place of or in addition to mental health services for people who are sitting around causing trouble out of boredom. Just my two cents


IllustriousNinja8564 t1_iriuamq wrote

I love ideas for prison reform. Often when I read about a ruthless murdering criminal in the news, I find myself looking past that behavior and into the persons life prior to the crime assault or murder they committed. Underneath all of this is a human being who is hurting pretty badly and has been for quite some time. It doesn’t excuse their actions but really, sometimes people truly have absolutely nowhere to turn for help and they just start making one terrible choice after another.


serpicowasright t1_irjo2ak wrote

Do you believe there are individuals that perform acts of violence and ruthless murder who are irredeemable?


IllustriousNinja8564 t1_irjs3j5 wrote

Yes. Psychopaths definitely exist


serpicowasright t1_irkyqj5 wrote

I wish it was easier to identify between those who are irredeemable and those who can be rehabilitated. I do agree that the entirety of the justice system should be aimed at rehabilitation but at the same time I feel that those who perform violent acts should not be given the opportunity to re-offend.


goplantagarden t1_irkdyk3 wrote

We can all agree murderes and rapists deserve to be in jail a long time, sometimes forever. The point is most people there are in for a crime that wasn't violent. Those people need to be able to work and function in society after their release. Even most murdurers and rapists will walk amongst us again. It doesn't serve society to release them with nothing to lose or without a method to occupy their time in a beneficial way. US prisons are quite literally creating more criminals.


MrSchaudenfreude t1_irjp08x wrote

It's PA, I'm surprised, they don't want anything like that here.


SucksToYourAssmar3 t1_irjh2ke wrote

If it doesn't become more profitable, it'll never take off. Our (state and federal) governments are so transparently for-profit, not for-service.


serpicowasright t1_irjobne wrote

Put a profit on lack of recidivism. If it's a private prison make them also include post release programs and if people coming through do not return into the criminal justice system within a certain amount of years have bonuses earned.

The state would control these contracts and could draw them in a way that rewards good results.


SucksToYourAssmar3 t1_irjqy8g wrote

Alternatively - take the profit motive OUT of the criminal justice system. Prison execs getting bonuses for their former inmates’ good behavior is another tick toward “dystopia” for me. “Prison exec” is already something that shouldn’t exist.


[deleted] t1_irk8aps wrote

We should really recategorize criminals as rehabilitatable, and those who are not. Then their time in a prison should be about both serving justice and rehabilitation


Shift-Subject t1_irjkuim wrote

Unless you're a political dissident then we encourage human rights abuses, amirite?


Hartman13 t1_irl4kxq wrote

Insightful article. I'm writing a speech for my Communications class on the topic of a Punitive Legal System vs. a Rehabilitative Legal System. I'll definitely use this article for my speech.


No_Direction7378 t1_irjpx7p wrote

I absolutely believe that our country should focus on prison reform and focus more on rehabilitation for all non violent offenders, but pedophiles, rapists, and murderers should be locked away and forgotten


work-edmdg t1_irlnx7z wrote

Yep, let’s be softer on criminals. Great idea!


Jeekobu-Kuiyeran t1_irm6r1c wrote

I hope it doesn't make it too comfortable for some criminals like the Pennsylvania guy that recently choked out two newborns in a nursery. Some criminals don't deserve a peace of mind.


MadMinded t1_irjgut7 wrote

Humane prisons!? Not in our country! Awesome prefer our prisons full of rape, murder, and unaccountability! It simply isn't profitable otherwise


WeJustDid46 t1_irjyfll wrote

I thought going to prison was punishment for a crime you committed. You do the crime you do the time. No lap of luxury, prison is punishment.


Jumpin_Joeronimo t1_irkouh1 wrote

Not having your freedom IS a punishment. Not being able to drive to the grocery store for your favorite snack, see your family every night, have a beer with dinner, go to a baseball game, etc, etc, etc.

Seems like you're kind of missing the point here. If a prisoner can be treated as a human and it shows that it reduces the tendency for that person to do more crime, how is that not a positive?.


BigfootTundra t1_irka2cy wrote

To me it depends on the crime. For some, I think rehabilitation is warranted, along with punishment of course.

Of course there are some crimes and some criminals that have no hope and just need to be kept away from society.


mainelinerzzzzz t1_irii9vi wrote

I give that fish tank two weeks.


thenewtbaron t1_irj3u9j wrote

If you have nothing but the bare minimum, things can't be removed as punishment, the group won't care about losing privileges.

We don't want to release men driven to be animals because they had to fight each other over scraps of bread. We want to release people who have learned some form of trade if they did not before, proper medical management of mental illness and learn how to be in a society of people...

This is probably a built up group of prisoners that are all on the up and up. They get cool privileges, it might filter out to the others and the very violent and non helpable folks will take more effort but everyone else will be easier


serpicowasright t1_irjof1c wrote

They wont, the whole point of a good shiv is that you can hide it and use it later. Also an institution like this, they had to have filtered out inmates that were not a good match for the program.


pocketbookashtray t1_irj26pu wrote

That glass will be broken and used shivs in a US prison. It’s criminals from a different culture.