PRISON REFORM How is this an issue? By Austin Kasso Note: I added more information to make up for not presenting it
Overview of Reform policies <ul><li>Reform is recognizing the right of all people to equal treatment under the law, and to a humane criminal sanction system based on prevention, mediation, restitution, and rehabilitation rather than on vengeance, forced labor, and profits for the prison-industrial complex. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>free, quality, legal and court services with skilled and experienced attorneys of choice for all. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>support services for prisoners and prisoners' families to reduce ostracism, maintain family ties, and provide for non-degrading visitation policies. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the right of prisoners to organize unions and cooperative groups to negotiate for better living conditions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the ultimate replacement of the police with community residents trained in conflict resolution who live in and serve the community under community control. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the redirection of funds spent on the "war on drugs" to comprehensive community-based, client-controlled rehabilitation programs (along with the decriminalization of drug use). </li></ul></ul>
The Point… <ul><li>The point of a justice system: protect society. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How to prevent crime from happening in the first place. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The issue arises in the economic, social, and political effort needed as well as a change in the moral grounds behind punishment. </li></ul>
Having Religious Freedom Is Fine… <ul><li>Until there’s a moral clash within society… </li></ul>People should be “forgiven”, Yet a study shows that Christians are more likely to support torture and the death penalty The Buddha did not explicitly speak about capital punishment, but his teachings show no sympathy for physical punishment, no matter how bad the crime. One doesn’t have to belong to a religious institution to have such morals, but it should be noted that religion does carry a heavy influence on the majority of people, and more often than not, they affect political decisions. The many other minorities also fuel controversy on such issues and leaves our country with too many contradicting opinions, which makes it harder to make decisions. In my Survey, each Christian disagreed with Humane reform ideas
Clashes of Political Parties <ul><li>The issue of prison reform, since it calls for changes that will depend on a change in economic and social policies, finds much controversy in major parties clashing along with third parties. </li></ul><ul><li>My survey shows: Leftists are more likely to support humane changes in prison policies, be against cruel treatment, and support government funding of education instead of building more prisons. Basically, they focus on ways of preventing crime. </li></ul>
Cartoons representing conflicting views People against prison reform will probably like this one. But it gives a misunderstanding of what reform is about. It’s about prevention, not ignoring crimes.
Cartoons continued… In the eyes of a reformist, prison-based “humane facilities” such as programs to prevent suicides are a failure. This is because they fail to acknowledge the root reasons why, for example, people commit suicide.
It All Comes Down To… <ul><li>Should humane practices of prison reform be established in order to fix the inevitable problems resulting from our current system? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A humane system that benefits everyone is a greater choice next to a system of brutal treatment of those who made mistakes in society. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reducing the standards for what defines a criminal will impact society with a wider range of acceptance or sympathy towards less harmful people. What influences opinions towards criminals (which directly influences political decisions) is the long-established standards that give a foundation for people to make judgments from. The higher the standard, the more people will be against the crime, and ultimately the more strict or brutal punishment against that crime. </li></ul></ul>
America’s Incarceration Habit <ul><li>“ A country as large and diverse as America boasts plenty of model prisons and exemplary training programs. But all that said, the conclusion remains stark: America’s incarceration habit is a disgrace, wasting resources at home and damaging the country abroad. </li></ul><ul><li>Few mainstream politicians have had the courage to denounce any of this. People who embrace prison reform usually end up in the political graveyard. There is no organized lobby for prison reform. The press ignores the subject. And those who have first-hand experience of the system’s failures—prisoners and ex-prisoners—may have no right to vote” </li></ul><ul><li>-- The Economist </li></ul>“ America has less than 5% of the world’s people but almost 25% of its prisoners. It imprisons 756 people per 100,000 residents, a rate nearly five times the world average.”
Federal and State Progression <ul><li>Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act in 2003. </li></ul><ul><li>Barack Obama’s Justice Department has hinted that it wants to do something about the disparity in sentencing between blacks and whites for drug crimes. </li></ul><ul><li>Support (on state level) for both the death penalty and the war on drugs is softening: a dozen states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. Webb is now America’s leading advocate of prison reform. He has co-sponsored a bill to create a blue-ribbon commission to report on America’s prisons. And he has spoken out in every possible venue, from the Senate to local political meetings. Mr. Webb is not content with incremental reform. He is willing to tackle what he calls “the elephant in the bedroom”—America’s willingness to imprison people for drug offences. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>--The Economist </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
“Prison Nation” From National Geographic http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYJJEnTn9P0&feature=PlayList&p=4522C67DD98314AE&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=75