Should prison be used as punishment, or rehabilitation?
Punishment.
32.9% (108)
32.9% (108)
Rehabilitation.
46.3% (152)
46.3% (152)
I do not know.
4.6% (15)
4.6% (15)
Other.
16.2% (53)
16.2% (53)
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Poll: Should prison serve as punishment, or should it be used for rehabilitation instead?

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So, I am taking an intro to sociology class (because I like that type of stuff, and I need the social science credits), and we recently started talking about crime and deviance. One of the topics mentioned was whether the prison should serve as punishment, or should it be used to rehabilitate the prisoners. So I was curious: what does the Escapist community think? Should prison serve as punishment or rehabilitation?

A punishment, rehabilitation will do nothing, if someone is a natural born killer/thief, they will continue to do it, you can't change personalities and belief.

I personally support torture for criminals.

I know what rehabilitation is but what do you mean by it in this instance? I had to put i dont know as an answer due to lack of explanation.

Depends on the crime I guess. Most people know what there doing, but there is that minority that are a wee-bit bonkers.

Rehabilitation, provided it works. Punishment might seem like the quicker, more easily understood option, but surely a far better choice is to make it so the offender is less likely to come back? The prisons are crowded enough as it is.

Prison costs a lot of money, and a lot of time.
I also don't believe that the system is fair, if someone can kill someone and still get to live their life.

Execution and mutilation on the other hand...

RamirezDoEverything:
A punishment, rehabilitation will do nothing, if someone is a natural born killer/thief, they will continue to do it, you can't change personalities and belief.

True, but you can change the conditions those personalities and beliefs work to. Imagine, for instance, a person who has a skewed view of the job market and deems themself incompatible with it, turning to crime to support them. Surely raising awareness of prosperous opportunities in work for these people would help them integrate with society.

That is, if the authorities were actually any good at rehabilitation. Which we know they aren't.

It should probably feature several forms of institutions, depending on length of sentence and type of crime.

More somewhat "open" institutions for shorter sentences, first time offenders, non-violent types of crimes etc. which focus on rehabilitating them through education, stable environments, psychological evaluation, help for abuse of stimulants etc.

Traditional stereotypical types of prison for the more hardcore offenders, those with long sentences who are repeat offenders and violent threats. The focus should be on keeping those away from society, once the rehabilitation process have been tried and failed for their first offences.

If you have the choice of either, why can't it be both?

There's no point not rehabilitating people if you are putting them back on the streets, and there's no point not punishing people who have committed a crime.

Punishment for the serious criminals (Murderers, Rapists, Child Molesters, serious domestic violence, gang related crimes). But for less serious crimes (drug charges, theft, minor domestic violence/assault (like two drunk idiots fighting), and misdemeanors) should get some hardcore involuntary rehab...

I think that it should vary from case to case, but I think this system could in theory work...

Fangobra:

RamirezDoEverything:
A punishment, rehabilitation will do nothing, if someone is a natural born killer/thief, they will continue to do it, you can't change personalities and belief.

True, but you can change the conditions those personalities and beliefs work to. Imagine, for instance, a person who has a skewed view of the job market and deems themself incompatible with it, turning to crime to support them. Surely raising awareness of prosperous opportunities in work for these people would help them integrate with society.

That is, if the authorities were actually any good at rehabilitation. Which we know they aren't.

I can understand in that aspect, but how often does one think, "Work is hard. I'm going to steal things." or even better, "Work is hard, I'm going to kill that guy for his wallet."

In both cases, something is wrong with them, they either don't want to work(a plague upon society) or crazy (hard to fix).

Punishment would work for the lazy, crazed individuals need rehabilitation in OTHER facilities.

And I agree that the 'rehabilitation' system is broken and inefficient.

DEATH TO ALL CRIMINALS I SAY

Depends on the person and the crime, I'm pretty sure a large amount of people could benefit from a second chance and get their act together. But repeat offenders and dangerous people who clearly are not going to get better should just be punished.

RamirezDoEverything:

Fangobra:

RamirezDoEverything:
A punishment, rehabilitation will do nothing, if someone is a natural born killer/thief, they will continue to do it, you can't change personalities and belief.

True, but you can change the conditions those personalities and beliefs work to. Imagine, for instance, a person who has a skewed view of the job market and deems themself incompatible with it, turning to crime to support them. Surely raising awareness of prosperous opportunities in work for these people would help them integrate with society.

That is, if the authorities were actually any good at rehabilitation. Which we know they aren't.

I can understand in that aspect, but how often does one think, "Work is hard. I'm going to steal things." or even better, "Work is hard, I'm going to kill that guy for his wallet."

DEATH TO ALL CRIMINALS I SAY

Stop that. Now you're just trolling. Any argument on a slowly-developing aspect of psychology can be rendered ridiculous by collapsing it into a model of spontaneuity. If you aren't prepared to accept that an aspect of personality is something a long time and many causes in the making, I think we're done here.

And DEATH TO ALL CRIMINALS? Really? Surely you can do better.

It really depends. I think it should serve as a deterrent, but also rehabilitation for offenders who have a hope for it and can turn their lives around.
That being said, some people will never change and for them prison should serve, above all else, to keep them away from the rest of us.

I believe that everyone can change, and that everyone has some good inside, so correctional above Justice/Punishment, but many people think I'm just naive(probably I am but who cares)

It should primarily be a resocializational purpose...or, if that is impossible, to keep dangerous people away.
But I guess for many people, it's just punishment.

Rehabilitation, but that rarely works. A procurator has recently said that half the prison occupants leave the prison better than they came in, the other half comes out worse.

Also, how is punishment supposed to work? We put someone in jail; we pay everything for them and they don't need to move a finger. Yeah, punishment indeed. For us maybe.

In all reality, a prison should provide both. Rehabilitation doesn't automatically entail comfort and freedom. You can, to some degree, rehabilitate through punishment.

I agree that rehabilitation isn't necessarily effective, and that if you really do have a serial murderer on your hands, you can't change him, but you can't simply jump to draw the "all criminals are evil and bad and should die" card. That's ignorant, but I mean that in the most polite way I can. A handful of people charged with crimes and labelled criminals were in desperate situations, not in control of their circumstances, genuinely sorry for a crime they committed, etc. And, of course, there are always a few people who are completely innocent. There are fewer than they might have you believe, but they're there.

I start my criminal law unit this year, as I'm entering my second year of law school, so maybe I'll come back later with a more educated opinion in the future. It's not the same as criminology/crime and deviance (my mother took a similar class when she was at university, she said it was absolutely fascinating), but I do get to look at cases.

I say it depends on the crime, some light should be rehabilitated and something more series should be prison

In the UK, Tories tried "tough on crime", didn't work, Labour campaigned on "tough on crime, tough on the causes on the crime" but weren't willing to pay towards the latter, so it didn't work. Personally I don't think prison truly works as either a punishment or as rehabilation, its main cause is to remove people from society.

I'd say, in a perfect world (which for some contradictory reason still has criminals) rehabilitation but in reality it's not that simple to 'fix' a criminal. So I vote punishment. A bit of classical conditioning always goes down well right?

RamirezDoEverything:

Fangobra:

RamirezDoEverything:
A punishment, rehabilitation will do nothing, if someone is a natural born killer/thief, they will continue to do it, you can't change personalities and belief.

True, but you can change the conditions those personalities and beliefs work to. Imagine, for instance, a person who has a skewed view of the job market and deems themself incompatible with it, turning to crime to support them. Surely raising awareness of prosperous opportunities in work for these people would help them integrate with society.

That is, if the authorities were actually any good at rehabilitation. Which we know they aren't.

I can understand in that aspect, but how often does one think, "Work is hard. I'm going to steal things." or even better, "Work is hard, I'm going to kill that guy for his wallet."

In both cases, something is wrong with them, they either don't want to work(a plague upon society) or crazy (hard to fix).

Punishment would work for the lazy, crazed individuals need rehabilitation in OTHER facilities.

And I agree that the 'rehabilitation' system is broken and inefficient.

DEATH TO ALL CRIMINALS I SAY

"he robbed me, I demand death for him" "well if vaugly looks like he might be guilty, at least his skin is the right color, fry him"

yeah the justice system is foolproof enough for that

Kaleion:
I believe that everyone can change, and that everyone has some good inside, so correctional above Justice/Punishment, but many people think I'm just naive(probably I am but who cares)

Trust me, no you are not. :P

OT: Rehab. Possible combination of both but primarily rehabilitation. Repeat offenders that are just manipulating the system get punishment.

Then again, I'm a crazy pseudo-Libertarian Communist so what do I know? :P

I think it shouldd be mostly rehab because everyone who proves that they cannot be rehabilitated should just be killed or better yet used as slaves to build the first moon/mars colonies.

RamirezDoEverything:
A punishment, rehabilitation will do nothing, if someone is a natural born killer/thief, they will continue to do it, you can't change personalities and belief.

I personally support torture for criminals.

What the fu-

Are you saying you support torture just for the sake of it?

And your first statement is utter shit - people commit crimes for all sorts of reasons. You can't just blanket everyone.

OT: It should serve as both.

People should be in there for punishment, but they may as well attempt something useful with them to integrate them back into society.

cannot_aim:
I think it shouldd be mostly rehab because everyone who proves that they cannot be rehabilitated should just be killed or better yet used as slaves to build the first moon/mars colonies.

The Eighth Amendment exists for a reason you know. :P

And I'm pretty sure using them as slave labor on other planets falls under that somewhere.

Though, I don't know where. But it falls somewhere there.

Rehabilitation doesn't work when you isolate persons from the society you're trying to integrate them back into.

Punishing people in prisons just makes them mistrust and resent society especially when they're innocent.

Better to rehabilitate the criminals that didn't commit violent crimes within society and just kill those of them whom did and will habitually continue to do so.

You might argue that it is uncivilized to kill criminals but it's better to kill a criminal than let them revisite their crimes upon society at large time and time again.

LegendaryGamer0:

cannot_aim:
I think it shouldd be mostly rehab because everyone who proves that they cannot be rehabilitated should just be killed or better yet used as slaves to build the first moon/mars colonies.

The Eighth Amendment exists for a reason you know. :P

And I'm pretty sure using them as slave labor on other planets falls under that somewhere.

Though, I don't know where. But it falls somewhere there.

Ok death might have been excessive but hard labor that would forge the way for humanity into the universe, I think the government could find a way to bend the rules for that.

Both.

Prison should serve as a punishment so it is a deterrent to other people who might be considering committing crimes. It should not be a nice place to be and should in fact be considered very much the last place you would ever want to go.

However, if you are going to release people out of prison and back into the real world it also needs to be not only a place of rehabilitation but should also keep people with long sentences up to date with the world as much as possible. Imagine someone who went into prison in the 1980s being released now, so much has changed they wouldn't know how to react if they had been kept entirely isolated from outside changes.

The problem is balancing these two out, because often rehabilitation means showing people that there are other ways of resolving conflicts besides violence, stealing and murder, but to someone who only understands violence at first violence will have to be used until they can be broken out of that cycle.

It's probably almost impossible, but I do think prisons can be both rehabilitative and punitive. Or at least fall somewhere between the two.

RamirezDoEverything:
A punishment, rehabilitation will do nothing, if someone is a natural born killer/thief, they will continue to do it, you can't change personalities and belief.

I personally support torture for criminals.

what

First off, torture against anyone is inhumane and a sign of cruelty or at least lack of empathy with other humans. If your response to that would be to say that you don't think criminals are other humans then you have severe problems you probably need to get help for.

Also, do you honestly believe there is any such thing as a 'natural born killer/thief'? Science can't even prove if people will naturally be jerks, nice guys or average joes and you're positing that there exists such a thing as a natural killer unchangeable in the entirety, and that that person is thus worthy of death and torture?

Even if you were to take the most common types of personality disorder which lead to people killing, sociopathy, psychopathy, paranoid schizophrenia and a whole host of others, and then prove that these mental imbalances were irrefutably naturally occuring, nothing we could do about them, then still the amount of people with the conditions who don't commit murder would far outweigh the amount of people who do.

And what about people who steal out of desperation because they don't have any money? Are they worthy of torture too? What about people who commit piracy, which is a crime, should they all be tortured? Are they natural born thieves who would go on stealing regardless of if you tried to talk them out of it, or spent any time finding out why they had problems?

Your post borders on ignorance of human psychology, humanity to your fellow man, and common sense.

Kaleion:
I believe that everyone can change, and that everyone has some good inside, so correctional above Justice/Punishment, but many people think I'm just naive(probably I am but who cares)

This. I believe everyone has at least a bit of good in them, and no matter what they may have done in the past, they can change themselves for the future.

RamirezDoEverything:
A punishment, rehabilitation will do nothing, if someone is a natural born killer/thief, they will continue to do it, you can't change personalities and belief.

I personally support torture for criminals.

Punishment is equally meaningless though; It does nothing to prevent crime, and can make criminals act even worse later on if they are actually going to be released.
It doesn't undo what they did either.

Basically, it's just an excuse for being almost as bad as the criminals.
But whatever. I've long since given up expecting fairness or rational behaviour from people.
(most Punishment is neither in any real sense - It's only practical value is if it functions as an effective deterrent, but the people who would be put off by deterrents can usually be dealt with more effectively by other methods anyway.)

Punishment in a way can be rehab. It is just like teaching your kid or dog not to do something. You beat them, or if its the dog make it sleep outside and tell it no. Same with criminals, your beat em, tell em not to do it again, and then you repeat. Chances are that if they dont want to go back to jail and get beat, they wont commit the crime.

Either that or they begin to associat the crime with the pain.

Niagro:
Prison costs a lot of money, and a lot of time.
I also don't believe that the system is fair, if someone can kill someone and still get to live their life.

Execution and mutilation on the other hand...

The process of legal costs of sending a man to death is higher then keeping him for life in a prison.
I believe that we should use prisoners as slaves.

Dango:

Kaleion:
I believe that everyone can change, and that everyone has some good inside, so correctional above Justice/Punishment, but many people think I'm just naive(probably I am but who cares)

This. I believe everyone has at least a bit of good in them, and no matter what they may have done in the past, they can change themselves for the future.

I want to brofist to you through the internetz. I have no image though because I am lazy. :/

I don't see the point of punishment. It achieves nothing. If the person was scared of the punishment, they'd not have committed the crime to begin with. At best, you just make the person punished angrier at the way they're being treated. How does that help? So what, it makes you feel better, but if the prison system is used as a societal salve, that we all convince ourselves that criminals are being made miserable and somehow that makes things better, then we really need to examine ourselves and our society more closely, that we might work on not needing such barbarous forms of reassurance in future.

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