You are currently browsing the daily archive for April 25, 2011.

And I thought the Pope had the market on evil empire Star Wars references.  :)

The verdict has been in for a long time now, but still the message is not getting through. Harsh sentences and a punitive justice system do not work. “The best way to turn a non-violent person”, says prison psychologist James Glligan, “into a violent one is to send him to prison.”

The official reasons for incarceration and imprisonment are described as the following –
“[…] while imprisonment is generally believed to have four ‘official’ purposes – retribution for crimes committed, deterrence, incapacitation of criminals and the rehabilitation of criminals, in fact three other purposes have shaped America’s rates and conditions of imprisonment. These unofficial purposes are class control – the need to protect honest middle-class citizens from the dangerous criminal underclass; scapegoating – diverting attention away from more serious social problems (the growing inequalities in wealth and income [for example].); and using the threat of the dangerous class for political gain.

-Irwin, John.  Federal Bureau of Investigation, Crime in the United States 2006.
Washington, DC:Us Government Printing Office, 2006.

So, when do we wake up and begin to make the connection that punishment does not fix people and begin to structure our penal systems to reflect this fact?

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