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View Diary: The Disturbing Obliviousness of Kossacks About an Impending Execution: An Innocent Man Will Die (317 comments)

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  •  That's one way to look at it (2+ / 0-)
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    rhubarb, sberel

    Another is that those opportunities will help them become more productive members of society and avoid recidivism when they get out -- and the vast majority of people in prison will get out eventually.

    A good friend of mine who teaches criminal justice says that without those opportunities, any reputable criminologist would tell you that sending someone to prison is like sending them to get their doctorates in criminal behavior -- when they get out, they'll commit more crimes, more destructive crimes, and they'll know better how to avoid getting caught.

    As for the ones who will never leave, you might argue that it doesn't matter for them. Of course, one of those opportunities they might not have provided for them outside of prison is healthcare. Another might be adequate nutrition. Another might be shelter. Another might be clean water. It would violate the Eighth Amendment to deny any of those things to our prisoners, so unless you're willing to kill them all, which is not a defensible policy, where do you draw the line?

    •  I guess that begs wthe question (0+ / 0-)

      of whether the should get out. Again, my whole premise is that someone getting life with no parole shouldn't be allowed out ever, absent extraordinary circumstances.

      •  By definition... (0+ / 0-) without parole means they never get out. But the vast majority of people sent to prison don't get life without parole, and they will get out eventually. So when they get out, do you want them to be more dangerous or less? That's what it comes down to.

        And for those who will never get out, do you want to kill them all? That's not defensible. Do you want to deny them the basic necessities of life? That's no different from killing them.

        I think people forget that we send people to prison as punishment, not for punishment.

        •  We are going in cirlces (0+ / 0-)

          Yes, I know most people in prison don't  spend life there. Most people in prison aren't there for murder, either. My  argument is that if we want to abandon the DP, then I think Life in prison, no parole is a viable alternative. That being the case, I would propose that life mean that, and not 20 years. If someone is goign to spend the rest of his life in prison, what is the point of giving this person things like occupational training for a career he will never be allowed to practice?

          •  Four reasons (1+ / 0-)
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            1. It's an incentive to get inmates to behave. With no such incentives, there's nothing to stop them from rioting all the time, thus making guards' jobs far more dangerous.
            1. Prison industries are a byproduct of vocational training. They bring in a lot of money, too, and it's that much less funding that prisons have to get from the taxpayers.
            1. Because even people who are never going to get out can be rehabilitated and do some good from behind bars.
            1. Because the Supreme Court has ruled consistently that absent the death penalty, denying inmates the conditions necessary for rehabilitation constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and therefore violates the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.

            If you want to talk about denying inmates cable TV and gourmet meals, fine, we agree -- they shouldn't get those things. But the vast, vast majority already don't. As for the rest of it, taking away such things will endanger guards and violate the Constitution.

            •  That's what I am talking about (0+ / 0-)

              No cable tv, no gourmet foods. I am not talking about feeding them bread and water, denying them  exercise,  tv, law libraiesy, literacy programs, prison mininstries etc.

              •  Again... (0+ / 0-)

                ...the vast majority of prisons in the US don't provide cable TV or gourmet food. That's an indisputable fact, no matter what you might hear from crime control oriented extremists. So it's just not an issue.

                I keep coming back to this: prison is the punishment. We send people to prison as punishment, not for punishment. The deprivation of liberty is the punishment; piling on by denying all those other things -- and I realize that's not exactly what you're advocating -- is not justifiable. We have to give them the basic necessities of life and the tools they need to rehabilitate, even if they'll never get out. Anything less would be uncivilized, and it would reflect very badly on us as a society.

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