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(Salon)   America has become "a nation of jailers" whose "prison system has grown into a leviathan unmatched in human history."   (salon.com) divider line
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9511 clicks; posted to Main » on 29 Mar 2009 at 10:49 PM (11 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2009-03-29 9:04:44 PM  
The only way to know if you're the land of the free is to have some means of comparison...
 
2009-03-29 9:08:01 PM  
Glennzilla is once again a must-read. I don't generally see eye-to-eye with Jim Webb, but he gets a lot of respect from me on this one. It is indeed a thankless burden he's taking on here. I hope he can sway popular thinking on the subject and get something done.
 
2009-03-29 9:11:03 PM  
I'm disappointed with the amount of good people in jail for minor drug violations.

Why are we paying for them to be in jail, when they could be very productive members of society?
 
2009-03-29 9:20:46 PM  
It's not surprising, when one of the largest industries in the US is outrage. See: Fox News; Limbaugh, Rush; et. al. Increase in national outrage leads to longer jail sentences, etc. The longer the average sentence, the more people you're going to have in jail at any given time, naturally. We're not just a nation of jailers, we're a nation of knee-jerk "victims" clamoring for stiff punishments for those who have wronged us in the slightest.

Of course, if we happen to do something that's a "victimless crime", we want to be forgiven. (This statement has been in my profile for some time, in fact.)

Sure, a Governor has a hooker, and he is forced to resign from office. We get caught with a hooker, and people should mind their own business.
 
2009-03-29 9:21:05 PM  
And to make matters worse, you can't really get the good drugs I used to get as a kid any more. Mesacaline? Out. LSD? Fugeddaboudit.

I bet very few people here even know what Tuinal is. Besides the best drug the pharms ever invented.
 
2009-03-29 9:25:10 PM  
I forgot to mention Escatrol. How did I forget to mention Escatrol? Oh, wait...
 
2009-03-29 9:29:36 PM  
duh. land of the free? whoever told you that is your enemy!

/seriously. this old news.
 
2009-03-29 9:40:21 PM  

fuzzwell: Why are we paying for them to be in jail, when they could be very productive members of society?


Well, the other side of that is that the prison industry is really the major employer in a LOT of small towns across the US. Industry all moved abroad, farming is more and more done by big ag and the prices aren't all that great, so what's left is attracting government enterprises in the form of prisons.

When the state threatens to close some prisons, people around will protest to keep it (even in towns where they originally didn't want the prison 30 years ago) because it's the main employer in town. When the state wants to site new prisons, communities fight over who will get to have it in their town.

It's insanity.
 
2009-03-29 9:58:54 PM  
While I'm not on board with Webb on every issue, it is very refreshing to see a politician taking a stand on an issue like this, apparently just because he believes it's the right thing to do.

Just think, if it wasn't for some dude with a video camera, we might still have George "Macakka" Allen holding down that seat.
 
2009-03-29 10:00:24 PM  

itazurakko: It's insanity.


That's an interesting point. I'd hope there are better things the government could be paying for though.
 
2009-03-29 10:03:26 PM  
jailing people for the selling, growing and holding of a plant is clearly retarded. But mentally we are a nation of 9-year-olds, so I guess we'll keep putting people in little boxes for hypocritical reasons and bury our collective heads in the sand until its tragically too late
 
2009-03-29 10:19:41 PM  
You know, we could get a lot of people out of jail by legalizing one non-addictive substance. Of course, that would cause an unemployment flux, but hey, we're already paying to keep them alive in the first place.
 
2009-03-29 10:38:39 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: I bet very few people here even know what Tuinal is. Besides the best drug the pharms ever invented.


Lemmon 714s > Christmas Trees
 
2009-03-29 10:43:47 PM  
Two words, one solution: Soylent Green
 
2009-03-29 10:44:31 PM  
I've lived in a bunch of rural areas, and "a prison coming in" is as anticipated as a new factory coming to town. People don't care--it's just another big building out there that will produce jobs. Permanent jobs, decent-paying jobs. Bring it on....
 
2009-03-29 10:47:45 PM  
Joseph Stalin would like to have a word with the author.

/the amount of people jailed in the US is ridiculous
//agrees with the 'we're a nation of the outraged' remark
 
2009-03-29 10:51:36 PM  
I'm just glad all those people that like to smoke dope are locked up behind bars. Major threats to society, all of them!
 
2009-03-29 10:51:54 PM  
If you'd like my legal advise, it'd be...

STOP BREAKING THE LAW A$$HOLE!!!!!
 
2009-03-29 10:52:00 PM  
Yeah we need to just sell them off for black-market organ transplants, in order to shrink the system.
 
2009-03-29 10:52:44 PM  
Blame the single moms.
 
2009-03-29 10:54:36 PM  
farm2.static.flickr.comView Full Size

 
2009-03-29 10:54:53 PM  
Sadly, as a stoner friend told me, weed will never be legalized because the people who want it can get it, and the people who don't want it make sure that buyers/dealers go to jail.

If alcohol and tobacco are legal, marijuana should be too.
 
2009-03-29 10:54:54 PM  
If we would actually utilize the death penalty in a proper manner that would lesson the burden quite a bit...
 
2009-03-29 10:55:47 PM  
Maybe if this country's "War Against Drugs" wasn't such a joke...
 
2009-03-29 10:56:00 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: And to make matters worse, you can't really get the good drugs I used to get as a kid any more. Mesacaline? Out. LSD? Fugeddaboudit.

I bet very few people here even know what Tuinal is. Besides the best drug the pharms ever invented.


I do, I do. Remember though, we'll always have peyote buttons.

usdoj.govView Full Size
 
2009-03-29 10:56:02 PM  
All research and successful drug policy shows that treatment should be increased.
And law enforcement decreased while abolishing mandatory minimum sentences.

/They're trying to build a prison for you and me
//Oh baby, you and me
 
2009-03-29 10:56:07 PM  
If we didn't have so many criminals, we wouldn't have this problem. How hard is it to not break the law? As stated by Chris Rock, people today think it is an accomplishment that they have never been in jail. "YOU AIN'T SUPPOSED TO GO TO JAIL!"
 
2009-03-29 10:57:33 PM  
We need to do what China does and start executing some and harvesting their organs.
 
2009-03-29 10:57:42 PM  
To be fair, we have a lot of people in prisons because we don't execute people for disagreeing with the government or failure to fulfill the work norm.

And also there are a lot of people in prisons who really have no place else to go. For real. You should look into that part as well.
 
2009-03-29 10:57:48 PM  

Washo_the_Gorilla: If we would actually utilize the death penalty in a proper manner that would lesson the burden quite a bit...


eightbits.orgView Full Size
 
2009-03-29 10:58:06 PM  
well if we can just deport all of the illegal aliens things would be less expensive and better for the US criminals.

again illegal aliens taking away benefits and comforts from US citizens.
 
2009-03-29 10:58:38 PM  

fuzzwell: I'm disappointed with the amount of good people in jail for minor drug violations.

Why are we paying for them to be in jail, when they could be very productive members of society?


Because many drugs have an image problem, and many Americans have an idiot problem. As a whole, we've been brainwashed into believing that regardless of all else, drugs make a person unproductive. We are of the mindset that if a guy with a MD and an unblemished career as a neurosurgeon is caught with a bit of weed, he is somehow less valuable to society than an illiterate alcoholic. We've also just become a nation of hard-asses... we think that jail is the solution to every problem... violently raping a child gets you the same punishment as smoking a joint, just for different time frames. The old saying goes that not every problem is a nail, and not every solution a hammer... but we've pretty much taken the single-tool approach when it comes to criminal justice... and as it turns out, jail is just not the right tool to treat addicts... so, we are increasingly looking like the idiots who would try to paint with a hammer.
 
2009-03-29 10:58:45 PM  

meta1hed: If you'd like my legal advise, it'd be...

STOP BREAKING THE LAW A$$HOLE!!!!!


This.
 
2009-03-29 10:58:53 PM  
I love those MSNBC weekends inside prison shows. The lack of education among a lot of the prisoners they talk to is just unreal.

//just sayin'
 
2009-03-29 10:59:52 PM  
We also have a situation in this country with respect to prison violence and sexual victimization that is off the charts and we must get our arms around this problem.

umm....

Are you suggesting what I think you're suggesting?
 
2009-03-29 11:00:26 PM  

reillan: We also have a situation in this country with respect to prison violence and sexual victimization that is off the charts and we must get our arms around this problem.

umm....

Are you suggesting what I think you're suggesting?


i185.photobucket.comView Full Size
 
2009-03-29 11:00:51 PM  
We need more prisons and more registration like we do for sex offenders. That shiat works.
 
2009-03-29 11:01:17 PM  
When you come back from raidin' the pharma, bring me some Diludid, SVP!
 
2009-03-29 11:02:24 PM  

GAT_00: You know, we could get a lot of people out of jail by legalizing one non-addictive substance. Of course, that would cause an unemployment flux, but hey, we're already paying to keep them alive in the first place.


Maybe jails, but a lot of cities don't give people jail time for possession of personal use marijuana anyways. One of my professors used to do statistics for the state prisons and they were given authorization to release people if they were only in there for marijuana charges. They were excited because they thought it would free up a lot of beds in overcrowded prisons, but in the whole state of Texas they found four inmates that were just there for marijuana. As my professor said, those guys that were there for marijuana were professional assholes and that's how they wound up in prison. For example, one of the men had been beating his wife, but she wouldn't press charges. The police busted him for pot and threw the book at him since they couldn't get him for the wife beating. I'm hate locking people up over pot, but I hate wife beating even more. I'm kinda torn there. But I digress.

I am all in favor of legalizing mraijuana, but I don't think it's the biggest contributor to high incarceration rates. I know many people who have been caught with marijuana and none of them served any jail time. So at least in Central Texas, there aren't a lot of people sitting in jail for marijuana. It may be different in other parts of the country, but that's not a federal issue. It may be more of a state and local issue. They are the ones doing the actual enforcing.

/I'll stop rambling now
//Thank you for your time
 
2009-03-29 11:02:36 PM  

fuzzwell: I'm disappointed with the amount of good people in jail for minor drug violations.

Why are we paying for them to be in jail, when they could be very productive members of society?


Hmm. I thought it would be the Boobies that would mention this.
 
2009-03-29 11:02:45 PM  

Washo_the_Gorilla: If we would actually utilize the death penalty in a proper manner that would lesson the burden quite a bit...


I'm sure I speak for the whole FARK community when I say we are all waiting anxiously to hear what exactly the "proper manner" might be.

Oh, and lessEn.
 
2009-03-29 11:04:13 PM  

AirForceVet: Marcus Aurelius: And to make matters worse, you can't really get the good drugs I used to get as a kid any more. Mesacaline? Out. LSD? Fugeddaboudit.
I bet very few people here even know what Tuinal is. Besides the best drug the pharms ever invented.

I do, I do. Remember though, we'll always have peyote buttons.


Not so much. Peyote is very slow-growing, and it's becoming increasingly rare because of people harvesting it. Stop it, hippies!
 
2009-03-29 11:04:29 PM  
I'm failing to see why someone would oppose a provider of good, be they government subsidized, jobs. Budgetary concerns? Please. We're not even playing with sums of money that could ever feasibly be repaid now. May as well cushion the ride for some families, right?
 
2009-03-29 11:05:13 PM  

badhatharry: If we didn't have so many criminals, we wouldn't have this problem. How hard is it to not break the law? As stated by Chris Rock, people today think it is an accomplishment that they have never been in jail. "YOU AIN'T SUPPOSED TO GO TO JAIL!"


I think the problem is that everyone breaks the law... people speed, people jaywalk, people violate copyright laws... but for some reason, there is this morality question that tags along with drug possession that doesn't come with endangering your life or others, that doesn't come with stealing music, videos, or other stuff. It's not that marijuana is somehow more dangerous than doing 80 in a 55 while not wearing your seatbelt... or more dangerous than a first offense drunk driving... it's just that it's less socially acceptable... and we're sending people to jail based on social acceptability, instead of incarcerating people to actually protect society from real dangers. The idea that we would give violent criminals and pot-smokers the same punishment, but just for different periods of time, just doesn't make sense.
 
2009-03-29 11:05:35 PM  
If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.
 
2009-03-29 11:05:41 PM  
When you mix a capitalist culture with privately run, for profit jails how can you expect anything else?
 
2009-03-29 11:06:45 PM  

Ted Kennedy's Brain Tumor: I'm failing to see why someone would oppose a provider of good, be they government subsidized, jobs. Budgetary concerns? Please. We're not even playing with sums of money that could ever feasibly be repaid now. May as well cushion the ride for some families, right?


Because said jobs are at the expense of the liberty of other citizens. We are talking about people who probably don't deserve to be locked up and the only argument to keep them locked up is that it's keeping people employed? Come on, now.
 
2009-03-29 11:07:18 PM  

firefly212: badhatharry: If we didn't have so many criminals, we wouldn't have this problem. How hard is it to not break the law? As stated by Chris Rock, people today think it is an accomplishment that they have never been in jail. "YOU AIN'T SUPPOSED TO GO TO JAIL!"

I think the problem is that everyone breaks the law... people speed, people jaywalk, people violate copyright laws... but for some reason, there is this morality question that tags along with drug possession that doesn't come with endangering your life or others, that doesn't come with stealing music, videos, or other stuff. It's not that marijuana is somehow more dangerous than doing 80 in a 55 while not wearing your seatbelt... or more dangerous than a first offense drunk driving... it's just that it's less socially acceptable... and we're sending people to jail based on social acceptability, instead of incarcerating people to actually protect society from real dangers. The idea that we would give violent criminals and pot-smokers the same punishment, but just for different periods of time, just doesn't make sense.


Holy THIS.
 
2009-03-29 11:08:02 PM  

badhatharry: If we didn't have so many criminals, we wouldn't have this problem. How hard is it to not break the law? As stated by Chris Rock, people today think it is an accomplishment that they have never been in jail. "YOU AIN'T SUPPOSED TO GO TO JAIL!"


Did you miss this part?

We have 5% of the world's population; we have 25% of the world's known prison population. We have an incarceration rate in the United States, the world's greatest democracy, that is five times as high as the average incarceration rate of the rest of the world. There are only two possibilities here: either we have the most evil people on earth living in the United States; or we are doing something dramatically wrong in terms of how we approach the issue of criminal justice. . . .

So, which is it?
 
2009-03-29 11:08:37 PM  
With 98% of the assembly industry behind bars, pretty much anything labeled 'Made in America' has been manufactured by prison labor.
 
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