Skip to main content

View Diary: Why I oppose the Death Penalty. (102 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  I'm not talking about ping pong tables, etc. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Red Bean, trashablanca, mango, lil love

    I'm talking about abuse by guards and rampant preventable rape. Things of that sort.

    May all your pickles be bright.

    by Light Emitting Pickle on Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 02:20:18 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Those are facts of prison life (2+ / 0-)

      What do you want to do, assign every inmate a bodyguard  and a civil rights attorney 24 hours a day so they won't get raped or smacked by a guard when the inmate gets out of line?

      Prisons are full of violent antisocial people who are in there in most cases because they didn't respect someone else's right to their life or property. They aren't going to turn into model citizens once they step into the prison compound.

      The greatest majority of guards in prisons are hard-working people who put their lives on the line every day among those same violent sociopaths. They have to be tough just to survive. Frankly there isn't enough money in the world to make me take that job. Are there prison guards who are just as sociopathic as the inmates they keep? You bet, probably a much higher percentage than the general population and no amount of sensitivity training is going to change that.

      Don't want go get raped in prison or beat up by a guard, then don't do what it takes to end up there.

      So many impeachable offenses, so little time...

      by Cali Techie on Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 02:30:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not even sure how to respond to that. (6+ / 0-)

        I hardly think you'd have to assign a body guard to each inmate, and I'm certainly not suggesting it. The prison system in the US is amongst the worst in the western world, so clearly other countries have figured out ways to deal with this issue.

        And we all know that everyone who is in prison deserves to be there. Not. Even if they do, I certainly can't advocate rape.

        Suffice it to say, we're going to disagree on this issue.

        May all your pickles be bright.

        by Light Emitting Pickle on Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 02:40:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  er....okay? (3+ / 0-)

        You sounded reasonable enough in 'this is one of the areas where I'm a conservative', but this new position of yours is seriously messed up.  You landed in prison, so you deserve to be raped and beaten?  That's at least in the same league as the death penalty (worse, in my opinion, since you'd be trapped and unable to stop the inhumane mistreatment for the rest of your life).  I hope I don't end up in one of your prisons for a crime I didn't commit.  I'd probably kill myself before they'd have a chance to prove I'm really innocent.  

        I'm not blind to the realities of prisons and the types of people who populate them, but for goodness' sake, someone advocates looking into measures to ensure this type of abuse doesn't occur or at least is reduced, and this is the tone you take?

        •  I didn't say they deserved it (0+ / 0-)

          You're not reading what I said. I'm not advocating for it. I said it was a fact of life. The only way to prevent it from happening is to keep the inmates from interacting with each other. That's how it's done elsewhere. Only problem is we incarcerate more of our citizens per capita than any other country. This is due to the "war on drugs," which I also oppose along with the death penalty.

          There are non-violents in prisons, and they are generally separated from the more violent inmates specifically to keep them from being attacked. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen though.

          I'm probably more aware of what goes on in prisons than most people because my grandfather and father both worked in one. It is simply unrealistic to expect any level of safety when you're living in a society made up of sociopaths. My father told me once that if I ever ended up in prison (rightfully or not) that immediately upon entering I should walk up to the biggest inmate I could find and kick him in the testicles as hard as I could. That way the other inmates would think I was totally psychotic and would steer clear of me. Fortunately I've never had to test that theory and I hope I never do.

          I hope I don't end up in one of your prisons for a crime I didn't commit.  I'd probably kill myself before they'd have a chance to prove I'm really innocent.

          You've obviously never had a realistic view of what goes on in prisons. What I am describing is a typical American prison, and no you don't want to be in one. That's why I said what I said. That alone should be more of a deterrent than the death penalty.

          So many impeachable offenses, so little time...

          by Cali Techie on Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 03:49:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  actually (6+ / 0-)

        A great number in prison are there for non-violent crimes--esp. drug related.

        If you knew anyone who'd ever been there, especially sent there for first time posession of a small amount of drug, you might not continue to be so conservative on this matter.

        And yes, I know that person.  My brother.  15 years.  1st offense.  The child molester cell mate he had for a while had a lesser sentence.  My bro has NEVER been the same.

        Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, liberal, fanatical, criminal.

        by TexH on Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 02:45:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know several people who have (0+ / 0-)

          And their experiences mirror what I've written.

          FWIW, I don't think your brother should have been sent to prison. Screwing up your own body chemistry isn't a crime. And rightfully he's never been the same. Prison changes people. Some for the better, most for the worse.

          I'm conservative when it comes to prisons because I don't think people who have been convicted of violent crimes should be given things like cable TV and health club grade gym equipment. Inmates are too free to interact with each other. Are you aware that most organized crime is planned in our prisons?

          Until they stop this stupid war on drugs and stop incarcerating people for small petty or victimless vice crimes, the prison system will never get any better and the rapes and abuse will continue.

          I'm not advocating it, I'm saying it's a fact of life, just like taxes and death. It happens and unless something changes drastically it's not going to get any better. Getting raped in prison is one of the consequences for ending up in one, deservedly or not.

          So many impeachable offenses, so little time...

          by Cali Techie on Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 03:58:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Cable TV and gym equipment... (0+ / 0-)

            are not provided for the benefit of the inmates -- these things are provided for the benefit of the guards. Every prison administrator and guard knows that they cannot control a prison population by force. American prison administrators opted long ago for a carrot-and-stick approach to managing prison populations. In most prisons cable TV is a privilege that is awarded to an inmate for good behavior, and providing that good behavior continues, the inmate gets to keep his TV. If the inmate screws up, the sticks come out and he/she is punished. It rankles me that offenders get these kind of perks, but that is the way it is.

            Overly punative prison regimes lead to riots, such as the Attica prison riots in 1971. According to the Wikipedia article on this subject, conditions at New York's Attica Correctional Facility were harsh:

            The prisoners had demanded better living conditions, showers, education, and vocational training, as well as less censorship of their mail and visitors. At the time, inmates were given one bucket of water a week as a "shower" and one roll of toilet paper a month.

            Inmates quickly gained control of a large portion of the prison, assaulting guards with pipes, chains and baseball bats. One officer would later die from injuries received at the hands of the inmates.

            Inmates took forty-two officers and civilians hostage and aired a list of grievances, demanding their needs be met before their surrender. In a facility designed to hold 1,200 inmates and actually housing 2,225, theirs was a substantial list.

            At 9:46 A.M. on Monday, September 13, 1971 tear gas was dropped into the yard and State Troopers opened fire. By the time the facility was retaken, ten hostages and twenty-nine inmates had been killed by the Troopers. The final death toll from the riot also included the officer fatally injured at the start of the riot and four inmates killed when "inmate justice" was administered.

            •  Which proves my point (0+ / 0-)

              Prisons are brutal environments (even with cable TV and health club style gym equipment). I still don't think they need cable TV. Regular broadcast TV should be sufficient, and giving them gym equipment is downright stupid because they can build up strength to easily overpower the guards.

              If they can't interact with each other, they can't plan and coordinate a riot. We have the most violent prison system in the world and they have more perks than prisoners anywhere else.

              Prisoners have basic human rights. They have the right to be fed, the right to be sheltered, the right to proper hygeine, the right to health care (something not every American on the other side of the prison wall gets), and the right to a bed. That's it. They're in prison because they were found guilty of breaking the law. I'll repeat, cable TV and health club quality gym equipment are not civil rights.

              Rape, abuse, murder, and riots have been going on in prisons from the time the first one was ever built. The current situation shows that giving them perks and rewards for good behavior doesn't work any better than not giving them. Prisoners still riot, they still kill and rape each other, and abusive prison guards are still working the joint.

              So many impeachable offenses, so little time...

              by Cali Techie on Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 10:37:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Attica, BTW (0+ / 0-)

              The way it was before the riot is not what I'm advocating. A bucket of water a week for a shower and a roll of toilet paper per month is a violation of basic human rights and it was grossly overcrowded. If that's not a powder keg, I don't know what is.

              So many impeachable offenses, so little time...

              by Cali Techie on Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 10:42:16 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Check this out... (0+ / 0-)

              Sports Illustrated Prison Recreation Article

              It's an article promoting more athletic equipment in prisons, but I find parts of it disturbing.

              Like many prisoners who play sports, Longnecker started out lifting weights. "If I hadn't been able to lift, I wouldn't have had any way to relieve my tensions," he says.

              And if he couldn't relieve his tensions?

              "Somebody would get hurt." He shrugs at the logical simplicity of what he has said. "It's not just me," he continues, "I was in a riot at Chino that started because there weren't enough weights to go around. There was a waiting line, and tension built up over waiting to get to the weight pile so you could lose that tension by lifting weights.

              That could be an argument for putting more health club quality gym equipment in, but the real problem is that these people don't know how to "relieve their tensions" in a manner acceptable to society, which is why they're in there to begin with.

              It was a paradoxical situation. What every prison needs is more equipment, like they have at El Reno. That's what McIntosh did. That place has tons of weight. I mean, literally, you measure it in tons."

              McIntosh stands gazing proudly out at the 10-acre athletic complex n the vast El Reno yard. This is the largest and probably best-organized prison rec facility in the country. Nearly a thousand inmates engage in everything from basketball to soccer, with scarcely a guard visible. This is where Longnecker frolicked and inmates still remember him fondly. Red Dog pushes his pony tail aside and reflects on his biker buddy. "I don't think he would have stayed here longer just to play - but he'd have thought about it."

              El Reno is the federal prison where my father and grandfather worked. They have access to a gym we're paying for out of our taxes that you and I would have to pay hundreds of dollars a year to access, and we'd still have to wait in line for the free weights. Check out the last passage in the previous blockquote:

              This is where Longnecker frolicked and inmates still remember him fondly. Red Dog pushes his pony tail aside and reflects on his biker buddy. "I don't think he would have stayed here longer just to play - but he'd have thought about it."

              They like it in prison almost enough to give serious thought to staying! How's that a deterrent to crime?

              McIntosh strides into the immaculate El Reno gym and points out the glass backboards, the snap-back rims, the bleachers, and the electric scoreboard. "Beautiful, isn't it?" he says. He's the king here, and given his size, that role suits him well.

              And he can probably kick most of the guards' asses if he wanted.

              So many impeachable offenses, so little time...

              by Cali Techie on Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 11:15:27 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  As a matter of law (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mickT

           a prisoner deserves to serve their lawful sentence and no more. If they are subject to arbitrary punishment by guards or rape/abuse by other inmates, then they are being denied equal protection under the law.

        What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

        by happy camper on Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 07:16:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  True (0+ / 0-)

          But how are you going to keep it from happening? It's a whole different world on the inside where the law is the law of the jungle. Violent sociopathic criminals don't think like we do. They survive any way they can and like in any jungle some of them actually thrive there. What do you do with those people?

          If you've never been to prison, worked in a prison, or don't have anyone close to you who has been to or worked in a prison it's next to impossible to imagine just what it's like in there. My dad used to tell me stories about the stuff that went on in there, and he lived through his share of riots where friends of his were killed (none of this made the news). I also had a high school teacher who once was a prison guard in the state prison who had similar stories. Maybe some of them were made up to scare the living crap out of me to make sure I never ended up in there, but I don't think they had to exaggerate much if at all.

          So many impeachable offenses, so little time...

          by Cali Techie on Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 10:52:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If an effort was made (0+ / 0-)

               to control these places they would be controlled. Simple as that. And my brother is a guard, so I do have some idea of what is going on in there.

               I also have a family member who is a state prison inmate. Guess how these guys get all the drugs and other contraband into  the average penitentiary? The guards bring it in, of course.

               Much could be done to clean these places up, it just isn't politically popular to champion the rights of inmates.

            What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq? Bush knew how to get out of Vietnam.

            by happy camper on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 08:25:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (148)
  • Community (68)
  • Elections (34)
  • Media (33)
  • Trans-Pacific Partnership (31)
  • Environment (30)
  • 2016 (29)
  • Culture (29)
  • Law (29)
  • Civil Rights (28)
  • Barack Obama (25)
  • Science (24)
  • Hillary Clinton (24)
  • Republicans (23)
  • Climate Change (23)
  • Labor (23)
  • Economy (20)
  • Marriage Equality (19)
  • Josh Duggar (19)
  • Jeb Bush (18)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site