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Community => Public Safety => Topic started by: TheCat on April 12, 2016, 11:37:01 PM

Title: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: TheCat on April 12, 2016, 11:37:01 PM
The vast majority of people who go to prison will be released from prison. They will be released without any rehabilitation but only after they have lived in conditions that would encourage even the best of people to become the worst of people.

The recidivism rate is over 70 percent. We send people to prison and spend around $30k per year for their room and board. So, in three years, we spend nearly $100k to make someone "pay" for their crime. We're not creating the environment that reforms and rehabilitates prisoners.

It's society that pays for crime, and our insistence on making people "do the time" doesn't create a safer society.

Before the "get tough on crime" schemes, there were legit predictions that prisons would become a rarity and would likely disappear.

Is it time, again, for us to say get rid of prisons all together? I don't mean prison reform. I mean the total abolishment of prison.

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/3/6/angela_davis_on_prison_abolition_the (http://www.democracynow.org/2014/3/6/angela_davis_on_prison_abolition_the)
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: TheCat on April 12, 2016, 11:53:42 PM
http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/2003/03.13/09-davis.html
 (http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/2003/03.13/09-davis.html)
Angela Davis
Angela Davis: 'The prison is considered so natural and so normal that it is extremely hard to imagine life without them.' (Staff photos by Justin Ide)
HARVARD GAZETTE ARCHIVES

Abolish prisons, says Angela Davis:

Questions the efficacy, morality of incarceration

By Beth Potier
Gazette Staff

In a lecture at the Kennedy School of Government's ARCO Forum Friday (March 7), activist and intellectual Angela Davis advocated for the abolition of prisons, casting the issue in human rights terms and urging a broader vision of justice.
"My question is, Why are people so quick to assume that locking away an increasingly large proportion of the U.S. population would help those who live in the free world feel safer and more secure?" she said.

Davis, an icon of the radical political activism of the late 1960s and early '70s, spoke of prisons not as a tourist but as a former resident. She spent more than a year in prison before she was acquitted, in 1972, of charges of murder and kidnapping related to the failed escape of a group of African-American prisoners known as the Soledad Brothers in California.

Now a professor in the history of consciousness department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Davis may have tamed her trademark Afro but her ideas remain on the radical edge of the political spectrum. In this talk, the 2003 Maurine and Robert Rothschild Lecture co-sponsored by the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research, and the Institute of Politics, she dismissed prison reform - the most prominent form of prison activism - as not going far enough.

"We have to go beyond the amelioration of prison practice," she said, acknowledging that prison reforms are also necessary and many strides have been made internationally in that arena.

Within the prison reform movement, prison abolitionists, she said, are often viewed with mystery and skepticism and considered utopian.

"This is a measure of how difficult it is to envision a social order that does not rely on the threat of sequestering people in dreadful places designed to separate them from their communities and their families," said Davis. "The prison is considered so natural and so normal that it is extremely hard to imagine life without them."

Drawing comparisons to other abolitionist movements throughout history, Davis said that her hope is that the abolition of prisons might attract the same vigorous international debate the death penalty has. But prison remains a far more pervasive and durable idea in our imaginations.

"Prison is considered an inevitable and permanent feature of our social lives," she said.


The prison industrial complex

Davis supported her argument with sobering facts about the proliferation of prisons and the disproportionate incarceration of minorities. In black, Latino, and Native-American communities, she said, people have a far greater chance of going to prison than of getting a decent education, and young people are choosing the military to avoid what they see as an inevitable trip to prison.

There may be twice as many people suffering from mental illness in jails than in mental hospitals.

And while the "tough on crime" initiatives of the 1980s did not produce safer communities or a significant drop in crime rates, she said, it led to a remarkable proliferation of prisons. Indeed, some have dubbed the economic sector that has arisen around prisons a "prison industrial complex."

Despite these facts - many of which are not unfamiliar - we take prisons for granted, Davis posed, because we are afraid of the realities they produce. What goes on within prison walls is a mystery to most of us, and our collective imagination has cast prisoners broadly as "evildoers" and, primarily, people of color. In addition, by perceiving all prisoners as murderers and rapists, we further distance ourselves from the more nuanced reality of prisons.

Such abstractions, said Davis, make prisoners vulnerable to human rights abuses and lets us turn a blind eye to the larger issues behind prisons and incarceration.

"It relieves us of the responsibility of seriously engaging with the problems of our society, especially those produced by racism," she said.

From punitive to restorative justice

Shifting strategies from punitive to restorative justice involves not only changing the way our system addresses crime but also getting at some of the roots of crime. We must work, Davis said, to transform "the social and economic conditions that track so many children from poor communities, especially communities of color, into bad schools that look more like juvenile detention centers than they look like schools."

A woman from Boston's urban Roxbury neighborhood - "I live in the belly of the beast," she said - challenged Davis' vision for prison abolition with respectful curiosity. Young boys sell crack on her street, she said, and she wants them gone. If not to prison, where?

"You can't think myopically," said Davis. "There is no place else [for the boys], so the default solution is prison. Why don't we have other institutions?"

She argued that better schools, recreation centers, and other youth resources - and community activism that matches education activists with prison abolitionists - were some possible solutions for Roxbury and beyond.

"Our most difficult and urgent challenge to date," she said, "is that of creatively exploring new terrains of justice where the prison no longer serves as our major anchor."
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: I-10east on April 13, 2016, 12:48:29 AM
Don't commit heinous crimes then. No BS liberal sympathy here...Far as I'm concerned, the punishment isn't severe enough (concerning rapers, murderers, terrorists etc).
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: TheCat on April 13, 2016, 07:10:33 AM
Don't commit heinous crimes then. No BS liberal sympathy here...Far as I'm concerned, the punishment isn't severe enough (concerning rapers, murderers, terrorists etc).

Can you try to look at it from the perspective of what is best for you and I (society)? If the "sympathetic" approach cost us less and was more effective at reducing crime would you still advocate for our current system?

There is an argument to be made about unjust sentences, which may force you to have some consideration of proportionality (does the punishment fit the crime). We can't give everyone a severe sentence. If we did, we end up making crimes equal. If a rapist gets a similar punishment to a murderer, that means those two crimes are equal. It also incentivizes murder. If the crimes are equal then there is more benefit for a rapist to kill the victim (less chance of getting caught), without the threat of a greater punishment.

But, let's not start with proportionally or what's best for the person who committed the crime.

Let's start with what's best for you and me, society.

Meaning, what is most effective at lowering crime and reducing expenses? I'm willing to take the side that prison is not the solution.

Maybe, that's how we can move away from an unnecessary liberal vs conservative debate?.
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: I-10east on April 13, 2016, 07:28:46 AM
^^^Keeping murderers, rapists etc off of the street from law abiding citizens is priority, over some bullshit theory that every convict is rehabilitatable. One side keeps on catering to nearly every low life (ie criminal) in America; I don't see it much from the other side, so that's why I said what I said.   
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: I-10east on April 13, 2016, 07:40:48 AM
What Hillary Clinton said about 'superpredators' in '96 was absolutely correct. She didn't say anything about pinpointing any particular race or anything like that, so save the racial crap. The only thing that she did wrong was apologize, to appease the black voting demo (who that speech was supposedly targeting).

I see on sites that alot of black people have woken up to the liberal establishment's (yes I said it) victimization campaign, which further drives the black community in a hole.
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: I-10east on April 13, 2016, 10:05:59 AM
^^^So predictable, and hopeless you are Stephen...'I hate blacks' man come up with something new... You are obviously a racist who has the bar set very low for black people. You are a racist because you are saying that 'I hate blacks' and that's unfounded; Other than me (a black person) having a differing political opinion than you. Anyone's who nose isn't wedged into the Huff Post know that I'm showing concern for the black community and I really care. You are deflecting with attacks, not maturely debating me, censoring, and your usual rhetoric.

You hate blacks taking responsibility for themselves; You hate blacks for being productive citizens(they are 'Toms' right Stephen? Ain't that what you called me basically a while back?) You hate blacks for not being slaves to the liberal establishment; You hate blacks for not being that negative stereotype. Quit acting like you care about blacks, because you clearly don't. 
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: Adam White on April 13, 2016, 10:08:06 AM
I'll be honest - I can't say I'm comfortable with the notion of abolishing prisons entirely. But I must admit I am no expert on the subject.

I do think we need serious reform - of our prisons, laws and criminal justice system.
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: Gunnar on April 13, 2016, 12:08:13 PM
I'd support removing all user related drug prison/jail sentences for probation/treatment instead. The war on drugs is dumb and simply is not effective.
I don't care if white collar criminals serve time either. They should make their victims whole. Usually they can.

For the most part, in my opinion, prison should be mainly used to house the criminals that, if set free, would be dangerous in some way to the rest of us. What is dangerous is largely up for debate I suppose.

Abolition of all prisons isn't a feasible goal though, we all know that.


Totally agree, except perhaps on the white collar crime part (if they are big fish). But perhaps there are more fitting punishments / ways to atone than being in a minimum security prison for x time.
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: strider on April 13, 2016, 05:27:46 PM
I was amazed at the sentencing guidelines I saw on various Scandinavian shows and so did a small bit of research to see if they were real.  They are.

Quote
http://mic.com/articles/109138/sweden-has-done-for-its-prisoners-what-the-u-s-won-t#.WsN2AHS6e

That's one quick example.

I do not believe we have the worst criminals just because there are bad people.  I think we make them. In a thousand different ways. 

Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: I-10east on April 13, 2016, 07:12:02 PM
It will but very interesting to see whatever Scandinavian country's 'successful jail recidivism rates' meets influx of immigrants coming head to head; Now they will be dealing with a more US like situation (still on a very smaller scale). To say that comparing the US to a Scandinavian country concerning housing inmates etc is apples and oranges is putting it mildly; In terms of population, multiculturalism, general codes to live by, etc etc etc. 
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: Gunnar on April 14, 2016, 01:41:56 PM
Different attitudes towards prisons are also important. In the US, I am often under the impression that the attitude is more prisons = better (they create jobs,....) whereas in many European countries an increasing number of prisoners or prisons is seen as something negative. And yes, the purpose of prison is not to punish (as the article said, the loss of freedom is the punishment) but rather to reform / better the prisoners - at least that's the aim.

Next point is that Judges, and State Attorneys have nothing to gain from being "tough on crime" as they are not elected officials.

That is not too say that there are not people who feel that the justice system is being too lax, especially on repeat offenders, but that is another thing.
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: TheCat on April 15, 2016, 11:24:23 AM
I'd support removing all user related drug prison/jail sentences for probation/treatment instead. The war on drugs is dumb and simply is not effective.
I don't care if white collar criminals serve time either. They should make their victims whole. Usually, they can.

For the most part, in my opinion, prison should be mainly used to house the criminals that, if set free, would be dangerous in some way to the rest of us. What is dangerous is largely up for debate I suppose.

Abolition of all prisons isn't a feasible goal, though, we all know that.

I'm curious as to what got you on this subject that, the links are old. Was there some recent news on the subject.

No recent news but I'll answer in a very round about way...

I've spent a considerable amount of time studying three-strike laws (a type of mandatory minimum), which was a strange populist political marketing gimmick, as laws like these were already on the books. In the 1990s, around 28 states repackaged their "habitual offender laws" added harsher penalties and rode the "get tough on crime" wave. Around 30 states instituted TSLs in the 1990s, all of which were passed between 1994 - 1996.

Except California, very few prisoners are directly sentenced under TSLs. However, the laws give prosecutors a huge upper hand when negotiating plea deals. Something like, "you can either plead guilty and get five years in prison or you can fight this charge and face 20 years." As you can imagine, not many people decide to go to court.

The role of the prosecutor playing the role of judge and jury is a whole other conversation that is worth having. I'm piggybacking on people way smarter than me when they say prosecutors have too much power, which directly relates to the get tough on crime decade. People were outraged that judges were so inconsistent and biased in sentencing. So, we the people demanded policies that created consistent sentencing laws, not just for the sake of severe punishment but also to hopefully alleviate some of the racial disparities that occurred during sentencing. We ended up replacing judicial discretion with prosecutorial discretion.

Okay, I'm knowledge dumping now. This is more for my benefit but thanks for reading.

California's prison issues are directly related to their three strike laws. They're infamous for sending people to prison for decades for petty crimes. An example, Curtis Wilkerson was sentenced to 25 years in 1995 for stealing $2.50 white tube socks. Wilkerson has spent around 20 years in prison, costing California taxpayers $846,000+. Another example, Leandro Andrade was sentenced to 50 years in 1995 for stealing $153.00 worth of children’s videotapes from K-mart. He had taken the tapes from two different K-marts, he was prosecuted for two third-strike offenses (25 years in prison per third-strike conviction).

Before Curtis was arrested in 1995, I think he was arrested for two other petty crimes about six years prior. In 1995, he was working a $15 p/hour full-time job. In a moment of "I'm bored" while he was waiting for his wife or girlfriend he stole a pair of socks. For that crime, California has spent nearly a million dollars to prove a point. Society often discusses the per capita cost of incarceration, but we rarely consider the opportunity loss of imprisoning one person. Curtis had a job; he was a part of our economy.

After reading numerous examples of asinine prison sentences and also reading about the continual strong-arming of charged persons by prosecutors, not to mention the never ending and disgusting systemic racism of our system you're left wondering who is this benefiting?

There's more. When you look at states with harsher policies, their crime rates don't fall at a faster rate. The ebbs and flows of crime are remarkably consistent throughout the nation; regardless of tough crime laws. If Florida's crime is dropping, it's a pretty safe bet to assume crime is dropping in the other 49 states as well.

Then, you have to consider that almost everyone that goes to prison will be released from prison. This is important. From car thief to child rapist, everyone will be released. We don't send everyone to jail for life. And, of those people that are released more than 70 percent are back in prison within 3 to 5 years. I'm left wondering, what is the point? Why is it that we are spending an exorbitant amount of money to not stop crime?

All of this (and then learning about how Scandinavian nations' prisons),  I don't think prison reform is possible, and I don't think our society becomes safer by sending people to prison. It has become a catch all of our countries failures.

And, my consideration isn't even for the criminal. I'm not requesting sympathy for people who have done evil things. I'm requesting empathy for our society. If something isn't working, it has to be put to rest. Ultimately, we want people who have committed crimes to become trustworthy members of our society. Prison not only fails to accomplish creating a safe society, it aggravates it.







Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: TheCat on April 15, 2016, 11:38:02 AM
It will but very interesting to see whatever Scandinavian country's 'successful jail recidivism rates' meets influx of immigrants coming head to head; Now they will be dealing with a more US like situation (still on a very smaller scale). To say that comparing the US to a Scandinavian country concerning housing inmates etc is apples and oranges is putting it mildly; in terms of population, multiculturalism, general codes to live by, etc etc etc.

I- 10, what are you talking about? Are you under the impression that immigrants in United States commit more crimes than actual citizens, or that they have a higher recidivism rate? You are incorrect if that is what you are saying.
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: I-10east on May 01, 2016, 12:53:53 AM
Give them only a lil time in jail but most importantly, have a rehab program in place for them to reintegrate back into society; Then they will be guaranteed to become productive members of society, amirite??  ::) ::) ::) 

http://www.news4jax.com/news/crime/jso-releases-information-about-murder-suspects
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: I-10east on May 01, 2016, 01:06:41 AM
I- 10, what are you talking about? Are you under the impression that immigrants in United States commit more crimes than actual citizens, or that they have a higher recidivism rate? You are incorrect if that is what you are saying.

You wanna talk about recidivism? Well, the recidivism rate for murderers in 5 years is over 50 percent (recommitting violent crimes). So go on and throw money down the drain with these stupid pie and the sky 'making chicken salad out of chicken shit' programs. You can polish a turd, but it's still a turd...There are some worthless lowlife "people" (yes in quotes) out there that shouldn't be born, committing heinous crimes etc, and deserves zero compassion, imagine that...Now back to sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows (as Lesley Gore said) liberal land AKA delusion...
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: Adam White on May 01, 2016, 03:14:28 AM
I- 10, what are you talking about? Are you under the impression that immigrants in United States commit more crimes than actual citizens, or that they have a higher recidivism rate? You are incorrect if that is what you are saying.

You wanna talk about recidivism? Well, the recidivism rate for murderers in 5 years is over 50 percent (recommitting violent crimes). So go on and throw money down the drain with these stupid pie and the sky 'making chicken salad out of chicken shit' programs. You can polish a turd, but it's still a turd...There are some worthless lowlife "people" (yes in quotes) out there that shouldn't be born, committing heinous crimes etc, and deserves zero compassion, imagine that...Now back to sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows (as Lesley Gore said) liberal land AKA delusion...

You haven't responded to his question I-10. He was asking if you were contending that immigrants commit more crimes or that immigrants have a higher rate of recidivism.
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: AKIRA on May 01, 2016, 04:57:53 PM
I- 10, what are you talking about? Are you under the impression that immigrants in United States commit more crimes than actual citizens, or that they have a higher recidivism rate? You are incorrect if that is what you are saying.

You wanna talk about recidivism? Well, the recidivism rate for murderers in 5 years is over 50 percent (recommitting violent crimes). So go on and throw money down the drain with these stupid pie and the sky 'making chicken salad out of chicken shit' programs. You can polish a turd, but it's still a turd...There are some worthless lowlife "people" (yes in quotes) out there that shouldn't be born, committing heinous crimes etc, and deserves zero compassion, imagine that...Now back to sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows (as Lesley Gore said) liberal land AKA delusion...

You haven't responded to his question I-10. He was asking if you were contending that immigrants commit more crimes or that immigrants have a higher rate of recidivism.

He is clearly not saying that, but it is obvious that when one culture melds into another's', there is often problems.  One of which is crime that stems from the new people having a difficult time adjusting to a different set of morals.

Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: Adam White on May 01, 2016, 05:40:34 PM


He is clearly not saying that, but it is obvious that when one culture melds into another's', there is often problems.  One of which is crime that stems from the new people having a difficult time adjusting to a different set of morals.

I'd love to see the stats to back up your contention. I also think your comment implies that immigrants are somehow amoral or lacking in some ways when it comes to morals.

Morals or mores?

As an immigrant, I bristle at this sort of thing. I am tired of immigrants being scapegoated constantly. I have  job, I pay taxes, I've never been on welfare, I vote, etc. I am no criminal. None of my immigrant friends are, either. Or my immigrant neighbors.

It's this fear of the "other" that is used to divide people. When times are tough, don't look at the politicians or their paymasters - look at your neighbors instead. They're the reason you have the problems you do, right? They look a little different and sound a little different - surely they're the reason for the country's problems (real and imagined).
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: AKIRA on May 01, 2016, 06:19:58 PM
Where you from?
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: TheCat on May 01, 2016, 07:09:00 PM
the irony of i-10s statements is his total acknowledgement that prisons don't work. Yet, he is totally adamant that they should continue to function as they are.

The greater irony of i10's statements is his ignorance about prisons. Prisons were born from Christian perspectives to create a space that allowed for the reformation of prisoners.

Prisons are "penitentiaries", as in penance or repentance. Concepts of solitary confinement, for example, were not intended to be punishment but forced attempts to give the troubled criminal a time to reflect and pray in so that they would...repent. That approach backfired for a multitude of reasons.

In relationship to prisons, it's philosophically inconsistent to have a "lock 'em up and throw away the key" attitude. Prisons were initially designed as stupid pie and the sky 'making chicken salad out of chicken shit' programs.

So, before we talk about prison reform it's important to consider that prisons at one time were the reform. Prisons were the progressive ideal, if you will, until they instantly became another way of controlling and criminalizing the undesirables of our society, guilty or not.



Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: AKIRA on May 01, 2016, 08:30:31 PM


He is clearly not saying that, but it is obvious that when one culture melds into another's', there is often problems.  One of which is crime that stems from the new people having a difficult time adjusting to a different set of morals.

I'd love to see the stats to back up your contention. I also think your comment implies that immigrants are somehow amoral or lacking in some ways when it comes to morals.

Morals or mores?

As an immigrant, I bristle at this sort of thing. I am tired of immigrants being scapegoated constantly. I have  job, I pay taxes, I've never been on welfare, I vote, etc. I am no criminal. None of my immigrant friends are, either. Or my immigrant neighbors.

It's this fear of the "other" that is used to divide people. When times are tough, don't look at the politicians or their paymasters - look at your neighbors instead. They're the reason you have the problems you do, right? They look a little different and sound a little different - surely they're the reason for the country's problems (real and imagined).

I see.. from England...?  I can't imagine what troubles you might have in the New World..

I don't have stats, I have personal experience. 

In Jax, when the first big wave of Mexicans (illegal immigrants/undocumented worker) they had a big problem with drunk driving, hit and run, domestic violence, public drunkenness, soliciting, stabbing, etc. This had to do with what was acceptable, at times useful, in a Mexican slum not being kosher here.  It also had to do with having some wealth for the first time, and the loneliness of being away from home. 

The Bosnian/Albanian had population similar problems too stemming from carrying a village mentally into an American city.   They had the added difficulty of coming from a war torn area, to a peaceful environment.  Just because they are no longer facing such dire circumstances does not mean they are ready to unlearn the survival techniques they needed back in the old country.

I am not making a moral judgement on the totality of any immigrant group, nor do I fear the Other, but being blind the problems they face and the problems they can bring do not do them any favor, as it does not adequately prepare any services to help them face a change of culture.
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: CCMjax on May 01, 2016, 09:23:57 PM
Hes an American Immigrant to London, Akira.

Oh the horror!  An American immigrant in England of all places! :) That's only about the easiest place on the planet for an American to assimilate and be accepted other than Canada (America's 51st State/America's adopted sibling/whatever you want to call it).  I lived in England for 8 months and about the worst thing I encountered was the dreadful constant 45 degree drizzle and 3 pm darkness from about October to May.  I don't recall anyone treating me as a seedy Yank who was just looking for a purse to snatch or a car to break into.  I did actually get asked one time "Can you really buy bazookas and machine guns at Walmart in America?"  My answer of course was. . . "ummmmmm, YEAH!  Of course you can! What is that weird?"  I think I managed to win over most Brits I encountered when I finally admitted "ok, I admit, it is kind of silly that our Football is called Football and the sport you play almost exclusively with your foot we call soccer."
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: I-10east on May 01, 2016, 10:43:26 PM
You haven't responded to his question I-10. He was asking if you were contending that immigrants commit more crimes or that immigrants have a higher rate of recidivism.

Commit more crimes (overseas in Europe was what I was talking about). It's the dirty truth. The only ones that disagree are in pure denial. Que Stephen butting in; Oh god, yuck!!!!  ::) 
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: Adam White on May 02, 2016, 01:46:50 AM
Hes an American Immigrant to London, Akira.



Oh the horror!  An American immigrant in England of all places! :) That's only about the easiest place on the planet for an American to assimilate and be accepted other than Canada (America's 51st State/America's adopted sibling/whatever you want to call it).  I lived in England for 8 months and about the worst thing I encountered was the dreadful constant 45 degree drizzle and 3 pm darkness from about October to May.  I don't recall anyone treating me as a seedy Yank who was just looking for a purse to snatch or a car to break into.  I did actually get asked one time "Can you really buy bazookas and machine guns at Walmart in America?"  My answer of course was. . . "ummmmmm, YEAH!  Of course you can! What is that weird?"  I think I managed to win over most Brits I encountered when I finally admitted "ok, I admit, it is kind of silly that our Football is called Football and the sport you play almost exclusively with your foot we call soccer."

Eight whole months?  :P

I'm talking about anti-immigrant rhetoric. Not anything directed at me, personally (although I have twice received abuse for being American - but in the span of almost 10 years, that's very little).

I don't know when it was that you lived here, but the attitude towards immigrants has likely worsened. At least it has in the outer London boroughs (I currently live in Havering and it's UKIP/BNP, pro-Brexit country).

As far as I'm concerned, I get sick of people bashing immigrants and complaining about how they come over here to get handouts and abuse the welfare system. When I point out that I've never done any of that sort of thing, I am told, "yeah, but you're different". Different how? Basically, that means white and English-speaking. Most people who moan about immigrants don't actually have any real evidence to support their claims.

If I'm different, then isn't it possible that most immigrants are different and don't fit the stereotype? As I mentioned before, none of the immigrants I know are criminals or work-shy benefits cheats. And the statistics show that more Britons are on benefits than immigrants (as a percentage). And that there is no demonstrable link between crime rates and immigration rates. But that doesn't stop people from trotting out the same, tired "facts" to support their racism.

I remember one girl I worked with complaining about the family that lived near her who had a council flat. When I pressed her on it, she admitted she knew nothing of their situation. She didn't know they were unemployed - she didn't know anything about their lives. It's just that they were dark-skinned and lived in a flat on a council estate. It's quite possible they weren't council/housing association tenants, but actually owned their flat, as Thatcher decimated available public housing stock by allowing it to be sold. (Case in point: we own our flat and live on a council estate).
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: CCMjax on May 02, 2016, 09:47:53 AM
Hes an American Immigrant to London, Akira.



Oh the horror!  An American immigrant in England of all places! :) That's only about the easiest place on the planet for an American to assimilate and be accepted other than Canada (America's 51st State/America's adopted sibling/whatever you want to call it).  I lived in England for 8 months and about the worst thing I encountered was the dreadful constant 45 degree drizzle and 3 pm darkness from about October to May.  I don't recall anyone treating me as a seedy Yank who was just looking for a purse to snatch or a car to break into.  I did actually get asked one time "Can you really buy bazookas and machine guns at Walmart in America?"  My answer of course was. . . "ummmmmm, YEAH!  Of course you can! What is that weird?"  I think I managed to win over most Brits I encountered when I finally admitted "ok, I admit, it is kind of silly that our Football is called Football and the sport you play almost exclusively with your foot we call soccer."

Eight whole months?  :P

I'm talking about anti-immigrant rhetoric. Not anything directed at me, personally (although I have twice received abuse for being American - but in the span of almost 10 years, that's very little).

I don't know when it was that you lived here, but the attitude towards immigrants has likely worsened. At least it has in the outer London boroughs (I currently live in Havering and it's UKIP/BNP, pro-Brexit country).

As far as I'm concerned, I get sick of people bashing immigrants and complaining about how they come over here to get handouts and abuse the welfare system. When I point out that I've never done any of that sort of thing, I am told, "yeah, but you're different". Different how? Basically, that means white and English-speaking. Most people who moan about immigrants don't actually have any real evidence to support their claims.

If I'm different, then isn't it possible that most immigrants are different and don't fit the stereotype? As I mentioned before, none of the immigrants I know are criminals or work-shy benefits cheats. And the statistics show that more Britons are on benefits than immigrants (as a percentage). And that there is no demonstrable link between crime rates and immigration rates. But that doesn't stop people from trotting out the same, tired "facts" to support their racism.

I remember one girl I worked with complaining about the family that lived near her who had a council flat. When I pressed her on it, she admitted she knew nothing of their situation. She didn't know they were unemployed - she didn't know anything about their lives. It's just that they were dark-skinned and lived in a flat on a council estate. It's quite possible they weren't council/housing association tenants, but actually owned their flat, as Thatcher decimated available public housing stock by allowing it to be sold. (Case in point: we own our flat and live on a council estate).

Ha ha, ok I may have misunderstood your point, but I had to chime in anyway.  I thought you were talking about your own personal experiences as a Yank in jolly old England.  I did notice some anti-immigrant talk while I was over there (about ten years ago, prime Bush/USA-bashing era) but I was the most shocked when I went to Austria and heard some comments about Turkish immigrants in their country.  Europeans, especially those on the mainland, are very Nationalistic I found (you're not German unless you have a German name, you're not French unless you have a French name, etc).  Things may be getting even worse, I don't know I haven't been there since I came home. 
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: Adam White on May 02, 2016, 10:22:15 AM

Ha ha, ok I may have misunderstood your point, but I had to chime in anyway.  I thought you were talking about your own personal experiences as a Yank in jolly old England.  I did notice some anti-immigrant talk while I was over there (about ten years ago, prime Bush/USA-bashing era) but I was the most shocked when I went to Austria and heard some comments about Turkish immigrants in their country.  Europeans, especially those on the mainland, are very Nationalistic I found (you're not German unless you have a German name, you're not French unless you have a French name, etc).  Things may be getting even worse, I don't know I haven't been there since I came home.

I think it's got pretty nasty - though it's likely worse on the continent than it is in the UK. I guess these things are to be expected in times of austerity, but it's worrying. I remember when Tony Blair was elected (I was living in the USA then) - it seemed to be such an optimistic time. And in 2002 when the Euro was launched, too. Things seem so bleak now.

Edit: where did you live, by the way?

Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: Gunnar on May 03, 2016, 07:15:39 AM
Hes an American Immigrant to London, Akira.



Oh the horror!  An American immigrant in England of all places! :) That's only about the easiest place on the planet for an American to assimilate and be accepted other than Canada (America's 51st State/America's adopted sibling/whatever you want to call it).  I lived in England for 8 months and about the worst thing I encountered was the dreadful constant 45 degree drizzle and 3 pm darkness from about October to May.  I don't recall anyone treating me as a seedy Yank who was just looking for a purse to snatch or a car to break into.  I did actually get asked one time "Can you really buy bazookas and machine guns at Walmart in America?"  My answer of course was. . . "ummmmmm, YEAH!  Of course you can! What is that weird?"  I think I managed to win over most Brits I encountered when I finally admitted "ok, I admit, it is kind of silly that our Football is called Football and the sport you play almost exclusively with your foot we call soccer."

Eight whole months?  :P

I'm talking about anti-immigrant rhetoric. Not anything directed at me, personally (although I have twice received abuse for being American - but in the span of almost 10 years, that's very little).

I don't know when it was that you lived here, but the attitude towards immigrants has likely worsened. At least it has in the outer London boroughs (I currently live in Havering and it's UKIP/BNP, pro-Brexit country).

As far as I'm concerned, I get sick of people bashing immigrants and complaining about how they come over here to get handouts and abuse the welfare system. When I point out that I've never done any of that sort of thing, I am told, "yeah, but you're different". Different how? Basically, that means white and English-speaking. Most people who moan about immigrants don't actually have any real evidence to support their claims.

If I'm different, then isn't it possible that most immigrants are different and don't fit the stereotype? As I mentioned before, none of the immigrants I know are criminals or work-shy benefits cheats. And the statistics show that more Britons are on benefits than immigrants (as a percentage). And that there is no demonstrable link between crime rates and immigration rates. But that doesn't stop people from trotting out the same, tired "facts" to support their racism.

I remember one girl I worked with complaining about the family that lived near her who had a council flat. When I pressed her on it, she admitted she knew nothing of their situation. She didn't know they were unemployed - she didn't know anything about their lives. It's just that they were dark-skinned and lived in a flat on a council estate. It's quite possible they weren't council/housing association tenants, but actually owned their flat, as Thatcher decimated available public housing stock by allowing it to be sold. (Case in point: we own our flat and live on a council estate).

Ha ha, ok I may have misunderstood your point, but I had to chime in anyway.  I thought you were talking about your own personal experiences as a Yank in jolly old England.  I did notice some anti-immigrant talk while I was over there (about ten years ago, prime Bush/USA-bashing era) but I was the most shocked when I went to Austria and heard some comments about Turkish immigrants in their country.  Europeans, especially those on the mainland, are very Nationalistic I found (you're not German unless you have a German name, you're not French unless you have a French name, etc).  Things may be getting even worse, I don't know I haven't been there since I came home.

Naming is a way of trying to fit in to the new / adopted country, in particular the first name, but sometimes also the last name. I guess Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez felt like he was more likely to succeed as "Martin Sheen" so he changed his last name. Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff may have thought similarly.

This is not something that is new - or not still  on-going - in the USA, although I this may have lessened considerably.

http://www.genealogy.com/articles/research/88_donna.html (http://www.genealogy.com/articles/research/88_donna.html)

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/03/28/american_names_immigrants_benefit_economically_from_cultural_assimilation.html (http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/03/28/american_names_immigrants_benefit_economically_from_cultural_assimilation.html)

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/26/nyregion/26names.html?_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/26/nyregion/26names.html?_r=0)

Now what I am still looking for are statistics on first names given to immigrants' children (English sounding names vs. names from the parents' original country).

Also, continental European countries do not have the same historic immigration based background that the US does, so there is less experience with this.
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: AKIRA on May 03, 2016, 09:45:05 PM
Leaving the "Immgrants: love'em or hate 'em" side track..

What ideas do the prison abolitionists for containing the truly evil among us?
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: ronchamblin on January 10, 2018, 07:27:51 PM
Prison is for the poor.  A respected lawyer has said the public defender system is broken. What follows is an example of the absurdity in sentencing that actually happened.  Three teenagers hold up the local barber shop, one stays in the car, one stands outside the shop and one holds up the place. They net $50. Now they can buy some weed. They get caught. Eventually all three take pleas. All three have no prior criminal record. Their court-appointed attorneys assure them they will get a couple of years and encourages the plea.

However the judge has other ideas. The judge in his sentencing order declares this a "horrible crime" deserving of a "severe sentence". He gives the guy who stood outside the shop and the one who stayed in the car a few years short of life using the "life expectancy tables" sending both away for 35 mandatory years (no parole eligibility). The stick-up guy, who pleads first, gets 10.

The way it works is, a jury could've sentenced them to life but a judge had to give them less than life; so an obvious incentive to plea.  The judge did not take any mitigating factors into consideration such as age, lack of criminal history, small damages, and no injuries. At his whim and prejudice, the judge buried them until they are well into their 50's without any chance for early release regardless of their young age at the time of the offense. The result is a total of 80 years combined at a cost of about $40,000 per year per inmate. So the big barber shop heist of $50 is going to cost the taxpayers around $3,000,000. What kind of deal is this? Plus it doesn't include 3 separate inmate appeals which can go on for 10 years a piece at taxpayer expense. What justifies this sort of thing? Not to mention the human toll.  Priceless.

Well, we know who benefits don't we? That's 80 years of free labor for X-corporations and 80 years of a full bed for Management and Training Corporation which took over the GEO contracts in MS after they fled town after the Walnut Grove debacle. What justifies this?

Judges should be held accountable by the voters, one way to hold them accountable, is to be informed and to vote. But it is little comfort.
I’m not for robbing barber shops, but I’m surely not for the utter destruction of people’s lives either.

We get some amazing individuals serving as judges.  Judge Hudson Olliff used to visit my store.  He is gone now, but during the later years, we would chat in the history aisle.  I was amazed at Olliff's racism. He astonished me with his comments about African Americans; and his views in general.  This man was a judge for at least three decades? 

Yes ... there are some fine judges in our courtrooms; professional ... quite capable, and able to weigh and study with some depth the intricate circumstances of a case so as to arrive at fair decisions.  These individuals encourage justice.  But I have on occasion observed shameful behavior as exhibited by some judges -- arrogant behavior, inappropriate, without true justice, fairness, or consideration of critical realities surrounding a situation.  Our city suffers from a few incompetents, and is rescued by the judges who demonstrate integrity and professionalism. 

Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: sanmarcomatt on January 10, 2018, 07:50:11 PM
Prison is for the poor.  A respected lawyer has said the public defender system is broken. What follows is an example of the absurdity in sentencing that actually happened.  Three teenagers hold up the local barber shop, one stays in the car, one stands outside the shop and one holds up the place. They net $50. Now they can buy some weed. They get caught. Eventually all three take pleas. All three have no prior criminal record. Their court-appointed attorneys assure them they will get a couple of years and encourages the plea.

However the judge has other ideas. The judge in his sentencing order declares this a "horrible crime" deserving of a "severe sentence". He gives the guy who stood outside the shop and the one who stayed in the car a few years short of life using the "life expectancy tables" sending both away for 35 mandatory years (no parole eligibility). The stick-up guy, who pleads first, gets 10.

The way it works is, a jury could've sentenced them to life but a judge had to give them less than life; so an obvious incentive to plea.  The judge did not take any mitigating factors into consideration such as age, lack of criminal history, small damages, and no injuries. At his whim and prejudice, the judge buried them until they are well into their 50's without any chance for early release regardless of their young age at the time of the offense. The result is a total of 80 years combined at a cost of about $40,000 per year per inmate. So the big barber shop heist of $50 is going to cost the taxpayers around $3,000,000. What kind of deal is this? Plus it doesn't include 3 separate inmate appeals which can go on for 10 years a piece at taxpayer expense. What justifies this sort of thing? Not to mention the human toll.  Priceless.


Can you provide the link to this story?
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: ronchamblin on January 10, 2018, 10:20:48 PM
I've been informed that it is not an article, but a comment, which is larger than you've indicated; that is, all the way up to the last two paragraphs, the last two being an offering as a point of interest regarding Judge Olliff.  It is unfortunate that certain judges, especially judges who are obviously racist, can be judges for such a long time.  Even though he began his judgeship run perhaps at a time when racism was more common, and actually acceptable, its interesting that he was able to function as a judge up into the post civil rights era.

Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: ben says on January 11, 2018, 04:37:40 AM
Prison is for the poor.

Speaking of which, great book, probably on your shelves: https://www.amazon.com/Rich-Get-Richer-Poor-Prison/dp/0205137725
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: BridgeTroll on January 11, 2018, 06:54:20 AM
I've been informed that it is not an article, but a comment, which is larger than you've indicated; that is, all the way up to the last two paragraphs, the last two being an offering as a point of interest regarding Judge Olliff.  It is unfortunate that certain judges, especially judges who are obviously racist, can be judges for such a long time.  Even though he began his judgeship run perhaps at a time when racism was more common, and actually acceptable, its interesting that he was able to function as a judge up into the post civil rights era.



I guess we will just have to take your word on Judge Olliff...
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: camarocane on January 11, 2018, 07:49:20 AM
Here is a little snippet from the FTU
http://jacksonville.com/news/crime/2015-12-10/story/1925-2015-retired-judge-hudson-olliff-dies
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: ronchamblin on January 11, 2018, 08:46:21 AM
Prison is for the poor.

Speaking of which, great book, probably on your shelves: https://www.amazon.com/Rich-Get-Richer-Poor-Prison/dp/0205137725

Ben … you rascal you.  You’ve abandoned us poor souls in America … left us to suffer this mess.   But … yes, I’ve seen the book.  There are others similar.  Good luck in the wild sir.

 
[/quote]

I guess we will just have to take your word on Judge Olliff...
[/quote]


BT.  Actually, I pondered the appropriateness of mentioning Olliff’s racist comments made to me … particularly on one afternoon along about 2002 or so, in the world history aisle, in a reference, in small talk about the crime issues, to the blacks as being closer to the monkeys.

This kind of comment does not necessarily indicate his profound opinion, as it might have been said partially in jest, or after a particular event or memory of some cases he engaged.  After all, Olliff, for decades, confronted segments of society that were uneducated, desperate, and poor … and I suspect mostly black.  Repeated encounters with these individuals might cause a judge, or anyone, in frustration to wonder about their mental attributes and capabilities.  Of course we … those experiencing mostly the more placid non criminal world … have much less cause to make similar racist assumptions or comments.

But still, as to the appropriateness of my mentioning of his racist comments, I could have remained silent, but to do so would have hidden a truth, or at least an evidence suggesting a possible truth.  I suspect that he was simply “fed up”, disappointed, and discouraged … even in retirement ... about the perpetual criminal activity of this segment of society as witnessed over decades as he struggled to understand, contain, and judge it. 
We all get impatient and frustrated with the ignorant, the uneducated, and the stupid.  It wears on us, especially if we assume “we” are not in that group.  The fact that these characteristics appear generously in the white population as well as the black, is quite welcomed by most I suspect, as it destroys opinions and claims of black mental inferiorities, and instead attributes the cause of criminal behaviors more to the poverty, the desperation, the legacy of discrimination, and the habits and abuse of the justice/prison systems.

I do remember however, Olliff’s gentle nature, his kindness, and his willingness to talk of things of mutual interest.  I hope that his perch in heaven has allowed a calm wisdom, a forgiveness of my mention of the racist aspect as perceived by me; especially as he assumed I suspect, that forever, it would remain a secret between he and me.
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: Gunnar on January 12, 2018, 06:39:14 AM
Personally, I see two issues:

1.) A large range of potential sentences for crimes, i.e. for the same crime you could get a fine or a few years in prison. So if you are poor and so is your attorney's quality / interests in the case, you are more likely to get the max whereas if you are wealthy and can afford a good layer you may get off with a fine.

2.) Privatized prisons / commercial interest in prisons - this means there is a financial interest in sentencing as many people as possible, since more prisoners = more money.
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: ben says on January 12, 2018, 11:15:43 AM
Prison is for the poor.

Speaking of which, great book, probably on your shelves: https://www.amazon.com/Rich-Get-Richer-Poor-Prison/dp/0205137725

Ben … you rascal you.  You’ve abandoned us poor souls in America … left us to suffer this mess.   But … yes, I’ve seen the book.  There are others similar.  Good luck in the wild sir.


Ha, yes...thanks for the well wishes. I´ve found that living amongst those damn commies in Europe has been kind to me, so alas, won´t be heading back to live in the States anytime soon  ;)

Now all I need is a Chamblin´s over here and my life will be complete! (Will swing by next time I´m in town, which may be quite soon actually - please send my regards to Jen in the mean time!)
Title: Re: Abolish Prisons - Totally & Absolutely
Post by: Adam White on January 14, 2018, 05:56:26 AM

Now all I need is a Chamblin´s over here and my life will be complete! (Will swing by next time I´m in town, which may be quite soon actually - please send my regards to Jen in the mean time!)

Too true! I just got back from over three weeks in Jax. I had the chance to visit both Chamblin's locations and was very impressed. I could probably have spent a day in the original location. And I managed to find an old book I was looking for in the Uptown location. So all good. I never realised what an amazing place Chamblin's was until I moved away. I think I just assumed places like that existed everywhere...