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BRITLAND

Death Penalty

Recommended Posts

MikeWh
And prison is not a "cushy and easy lifestyle".

I'm not going to open a can of worms right now by disputing the rest of your argument, but in the UK it really is. Most non-violent criminals end up in low-security or even open prisons, regardless of the length of their stretch. They've got a reasonably comfy bed in a cell that's all theirs, a TV, access to computer games, on-site training, three fairly decent meals a day, air conditioning and all manner of niceties. If you are, say, a homeless addict, that sounds positively luxurious. It's luxury compared to the squalor in which most addicts live, regardless of whether they are homeless, in fact.

So then you're agreeing with his ridiculous statement that criminals just love the cushy prison environment? Probably not but at any rate: I don't know how anyone can consider an environment where restrictions are placed upon your activities, and your life is literally in the hands of other people, luxurious. Especially if you're an addict and don't have access to the drugs that help you get through the day.

Majority of people I deal with are one time offenders, usually offered a quick 'take you round to say sorry' and that's that, works wonders (saves paperwork) but then there's on my division 6/7 individuals who we keep dealing with, they go away for 3/6 month blocks and then they're in the back of your car. These people have addictions and they tell you how "the screws don't care" about drugs in open or low cat prisons...

 

I said to one of our nominals last time I picked him up "Always seeing you mate, you got nothing better to do" - answer "Well I don't need a job inside and I don't have to work hard..." - That annoyed me, thankfully the chap's never been anything but pleasant towards us but when somebody begins to request a certain cell at custody or know you all by first names you have a problem.

 

They go to prison and come out and reoffend to avoid working - they always say they're unemployable, they bring it on themselves, why should the working public (myself included) foot the bill to keep him? I'm not saying he deserves death, far from it. Just there needs to be a serious reform of the CJS and urban-social infrastructure.

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Otter

I find that absolutely fascinating. Different world over there, certainly.

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sivispacem
I find that absolutely fascinating. Different world over there, certainly.

We do very well with re-offending rates for violent, sexual and other high-security criminals. We do very, very badly with re-offending rates for persistent non-violent criminals like burglars, car thieves or those responsible for serious anti-social behaviour. It's all very difficult as despite there being a really obvious problem, there's no clear cut solution. Not all of these people are addicts- quite a number commit crime as a career choice, though I'd hazard a guess that a large proportion are addicts of one kind or another.

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Clem Fandango
I said to one of our nominals last time I picked him up "Always seeing you mate, you got nothing better to do" - answer "Well I don't need a job inside and I don't have to work hard..." - That annoyed me, thankfully the chap's never been anything but pleasant towards us but when somebody begins to request a certain cell at custody or know you all by first names you have a problem.

Look we know what makes people into criminals. It's quite well established - if it were a matter of criminals simply looking for "an easy way out" we'd see criminals coming from families of all socioeconomic status. Your anecdotal evidence does little to refute my argument.

 

 

Not statistical evidence per se but plenty of press reports suggesting that illicit drugs are relatively easy to get hold of in open prisons in the UK.

I think there's quite a bit of difference between being able to get a bit of weed or some pills and being able to maintain a heroin or meth habit.

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sivispacem

 

Look we know what makes people into criminals. It's quite well established - if it were a matter of criminals simply looking for "an easy way out" we'd see criminals coming from families of all socioeconomic status. Your anecdotal evidence does little to refute my argument.

Strain theory is just that- a theory. Its notoriously hard to empirically prove, generalist, fails to address all the nuances of criminal behaviour and cannot account for criminal activity outside the working and lower classes in society, which though comparatively lower is still prevalent. Also, I think its misleading to claim that if it were a case of looking for an "easy way out" then criminal activity would be spread between classes; that ignores the fact that people in more comfortable socio-economic positions often have to work comparatively "less hard" for equal aspiration. Put simply, it's easier to be wealthier, which goes some way to explaining the discrepancy between criminal activity committed by people of higher socio-economic well-being than those of lower. That isn't to say that the ideas of strain theory have no traction- they evidently do- but its not a one-stop-shop to explaining criminal behaviour- not by a long shot.

 

 

I think there's quite a bit of difference between being able to get a bit of weed or some pills and being able to maintain a heroin or meth habit.

Neither you nor I knows the intricacies of the British open and lower-security prison system, so the only thing we have to go on are press reports. Also, meth is very rare in the UK, and many prisons have prescription-based methadone programmes which are potentially subject to abuse.

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Clem Fandango
Strain theory is just that- a theory. Its notoriously hard to empirically prove, generalist, fails to address all the nuances of criminal behaviour and cannot account for criminal activity outside the working and lower classes in society, which though comparatively lower is still prevalent.

I'm not saying strain theory is the golden law of all criminology (well I do think that but I don't expect others to agree), I'm saying a theory that explains the societal mechanisms that turn people into criminals should be referred to before right wing rhetoric about "soft touches and bleeding hearts" ruining our society by turning prisons into resorts for dole-bludging chavs.

 

My main issue with Mike's post was the implication that we should be tough on crime by throwing people into dank cells - and that this will provide some kind of deterrent. Do you agree that crime would notably decrease if prisons were less "cushy"?

 

 

Neither you nor I knows the intricacies of the British open and lower-security prison system, so the only thing we have to go on are press reports.

But the report didn't even specify which "illegal drugs" they were talking about. Most people wouldn't be surprised if you told them convicts could get weed and pills. And what do they mean by "easy"? Easy as in you can get them every other day if you try hard enough, or easy as in they're constantly awash in all the drugs they could ever need? It doesn't say, presumably because "convicts in low security prisons are capable of sneaking out for a crafty joint now and then" isn't a very good headline. Intentionally vague? I think so, because if they found any evidence that convicts were able to satisfy their addictions in prison, that would have been the headline and focal point of the story.

 

 

Also, meth is very rare in the UK

More of a sunny weather drug. Shifty41s_beerhatsmilie2.gif

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sivispacem

 

My main issue with Mike's post was the implication that we should be tough on crime by throwing people into dank cells - and that this will provide some kind of deterrent. Do you agree that crime would notably decrease if prisons were less "cushy"?

You see, that's not the implication I get from his posts. I don't read them as suggesting that making prison life less "cushy" would act as an effective deterrent or have any measurable effect on crime. In the US, where prison sentencing is much harsher than in the UK, almost exactly the same problems with repeat offending, habitual criminal activity and the "sliding scale" of crime still exist. I do agree with his statements that the current state of low-security and open prisons in the UK means that they don't provide sufficient disincentive for some criminals but that's a step away from calling for a return to bread, water and concrete beds. The high-intensity, limited-luxury style of incarceration isn't actually proven to be any more effective than the current methods at deterring repeat non-violent offending- but various other schemes that don't include incarceration do work effectively. Look at the Nordic countries for a good example.

 

 

But the report didn't even specify which "illegal drugs" they were talking about. Most people wouldn't be surprised if you told them convicts could get weed and pills. And what do they mean by "easy"? Easy as in you can get them every other day if you try hard enough, or easy as in they're constantly awash in all the drugs they could ever need?

How "easy" is it to get drugs outside of a prison environment? I agree its a very vague suggestion. I suppose, like it does outside of prison, it depends predominantly on access and contacts. Unfortunately, the actual HMP Inspectorate reports aren't much better at identifying what drugs are involved in these cases, but below are some exerts from the HMP Ford report:

 

 

“ In our last inspection report, we noted that the smuggling in of alcohol, especially at night, had become a significant problem. Alcohol remained an issue but on this inspection we were more concerned about the availability of drugs. Prior to the inspection, the drug strategy had been in disarray. Over 40% of prisoners in our survey said it was easy to obtain illegal drugs. An average of almost one in eight prisoners had tested positive for drugs in random mandatory tests. There was a good rate of detection in suspicion drug testing, but staffing shortages meant that many tests could not be conducted within the necessary timescales.

 

“ Alcohol breath testing was unsophisticated. Disciplinary hearings had been carried out for 19 positive breath tests between May and October 2010 but we were surprised that no figures for the total number of tests conducted were available. In terms of actual finds, mobile phones and accessories were the items discovered most frequently, followed by drugs and drug paraphernalia. Alcohol finds were common but not as prominent as at previous inspections, although in recent months the number of security reports relating to alcohol had risen significantly.

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Clem Fandango
My main issue with Mike's post was the implication that we should be tough on crime by throwing people into dank cells - and that this will provide some kind of deterrent. Do you agree that crime would notably decrease if prisons were less "cushy"?

You see, that's not the implication I get from his posts.

I said that the criminal justice system is incapable of providing a deterent, and he retorted that criminals remain criminals because they "become accustomed to the easy and cushy lifestyle". The implication seems pretty clear to me.

 

 

I do agree with his statements that the current state of low-security and open prisons in the UK means that they don't provide sufficient disincentive for some criminals but that's a step away from calling for a return to bread, water and concrete beds.

And my view (largely derived from strain theory) is that the portion of society that we refer to as "criminals" will continue to act as such until we make some attempt to integrate them. Do you agree with that assessment and if so, would you accept that deterrents are (at least mostly) useless?

 

Also, you mentioned the nordic countries - would you support a system like the one they have? Rehabilitation, where prisons are like small enclosed towns?

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Dingdongs

 

I said that the criminal justice system is incapable of providing a deterent, and he retorted that criminals remain criminals because they "become accustomed to the easy and cushy lifestyle". The implication seems pretty clear to me.

 

I think you're over simplifying his posts. What I took from his posts are that the actual criminal justice system, not the prisons, is the problem. He was complaining that hardened criminals do not get any real sentencing because the CPS is weak and accepts stupid excuses, or even concocts them. Now do I know why this is? Nope - I don't know sh*t about the British criminal justice system, when reading his posts as an American I thought CPS meant child protective service (that's what it universally stands for in the states) until I did some research. But the notion that Mike is making some retarded right wing arugment for mandatory minimums and for throwing away the key is just an oversimplification, and frankly an insult to his intelligence.

 

 

And my view (largely derived from strain theory) is that the portion of society that we refer to as "criminals" will continue to act as such until we make some attempt to integrate them. Do you agree with that assessment and if so, would you accept that deterrents are (at least mostly) useless?

 

I do agree with this; correctional facilities do not correct anybody. They don't make anyone better, they either turn you out worse or you come out the same. Are there small percentages of criminals, like Timothy McVeigh, terrorists, etc. who deserve to be under 23 hour solitary? Absolutely - those guys can't be made better. You can't make a serial killer better. You can't make a terrorist better. Even a pedophile I'd argue can't be cured, they just learn to suppress their urges. But should throwing people who rob a convenience store into jail be the solution? You're not fixing them. You're turning them worse as they are spending every waking moment with worse criminals. In the US we have so many f*cking people locked up we rival China in the size of our imprisoned populace.

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