Prisoners Can Be Internet Entrepreneurs Too

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Prisoners Can Be Internet Entrepreneurs Too

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A program at a maximum security prison in Silicon Valley teaches inmates how to succeed in business.

Anyone who's seen The Shawshank Redemption knows that it can be hard for people who've been institutionalized for most of their life to integrate back into a free society. If that was true of mid-twentieth century Maine - the setting of Shawshank - it's even more true now. A person who's been in jail for 10 years has never seen an iPhone and probably has a different idea of what a Tweet is. San Quentin Prison, in San Francisco, runs the Last Mile program to prevent prisoners from falling behind the technology curve. The program instructed five prisoners this year on social media and business, and the inmates presented mock business plans utilizing their newfound knowledge in preparation for their release. But here's the kicker, U.S. law prevents prisoners from directly contacting the outside world so many of these proposals are created without the inmate ever touching a computer.

"I've driven by San Quentin every day for the last 14 years, but never bothered to understand the prison system," said Chris Redlitz, head of the KickLabs tech accelerator and founder of the Last Mile program. "These guys will be getting out at some point. We want them to come out of the program and be contributing members of society."

The inmates in Redlitz's program have led hard lives and made some terrible mistakes, but that doesn't mean they can't come up with ideas and rebuild their lives once they are free. One prisoner created a program called Teen Tech Hub for kids to learn about computers after school. Another prisoner serving a 25-year to life sentence devised a form of fantasy football which allows the player to call specific plays while watching the professional athletes playing the game.

Redlitz has even enlisted figures like Guy Kawasaki and MC Hammer to give lectures on business and social media. "Obviously, the people in the program have committed a crime and they are paying for that now," he said. "But look at the core characteristics of the entrepreneur - many of these guys have them. And maybe some won't create companies that go anywhere, but what they're getting from the program is confidence and communication skills that are super-important for whatever they do next."

I may be a bleeding-heart liberal, but I think the Last Mile program will do wonders for helping people in our clogged prison system feel they can rejoin society at some point instead of feeling institutionalized like poor old Brooks.

Source: ReadWriteWeb

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I thought criminals already had a way to become successful in business: Retire as congressmen and become lobbyists.

I am relatively conservative. I also think this sounds like a good idea. Turning these criminals into productive members of society is far more cost effective then locking them up for life.

Its a good thing.

Gilhelmi:
I am relatively conservative. I also think this sounds like a good idea. Turning these criminals into productive members of society is far more cost effective then locking them up for life.

Its a good thing.

Agreed. I think that anything that can put a convict in a position where he is less likely to be a repeat offender is a good thing. Well so long as it doesn't become a huge tax burden, anyway. But I don't see this as being terribly different than giving cons access to a legal library. I'm always in favor of education.

I wondered When america would learn something about how we handle prisons in europe.

Scars Unseen:

Gilhelmi:
I am relatively conservative. I also think this sounds like a good idea. Turning these criminals into productive members of society is far more cost effective then locking them up for life.

Its a good thing.

Agreed. I think that anything that can put a convict in a position where he is less likely to be a repeat offender is a good thing. Well so long as it doesn't become a huge tax burden, anyway. But I don't see this as being terribly different than giving cons access to a legal library. I'm always in favor of education.

I just thought of a slogan.

"Education, not Incarceration"

I like the nonprofit organizations, I know of one the goes into prisons and help inmates get their High School diploma. I even thought about joining a group with my Church that goes into prisons to minister too the inmates.

rolfwesselius:
I wondered When america would learn something about how we handle prisons in europe.

How do you do it in Europe?

Gilhelmi:

rolfwesselius:
I wondered When america would learn something about how we handle prisons in europe.

How do you do it in Europe?

Well in most of Europe prison's aren't about punishment but more about getting them back into society and become functioning member's of society again.
In most american prison's prison rape is often expected to happen.

rolfwesselius:

Gilhelmi:

rolfwesselius:
I wondered When america would learn something about how we handle prisons in europe.

How do you do it in Europe?

Well in most of Europe prison's aren't about punishment but more about getting them back into society and become functioning member's of society again.
In most american prison's prison rape is often expected to happen.

I wish I could disagree with you. I will keep wishing, and working in my society, for that day too come.

I'm conservative, and generally feel prisons should exist to punish and act as a deterrant as opposed to reform. We have things like "half way houses" and post-prison programs for that kind of thing once prisoners get out. I tend to feel someone who is going to fail there isn't going to be much helped by programs within the prison system itself. I also feel the more of these programs added and the more of a free hand and skill inmates are given the more difficult it is for the COs (Corrections Officers) to control and monitor.

As nice as it is to envision a system where these skills wil help a prisoner adapt better to the outside world, the bottom line is a tech savvy criminal is just going to be more dangerous, and inside, in the enviroment with a lot of other criminals, it simply gives these guys more time to brainstorm for things they think they can get away with using their newfound knowlege when they are released. The benefit to post-prison programs is that a guy who jumps into crime while learning there is more likely to screw up due to slowly developing the skills, as opposed to having had time to polish and plan before release. With all the crap going on via Twitter and stuff already, I actually find some comfort in the idea of a lot of inmates being ignorant of the entire thing, and not thinking of ways they can use it when they get out.

THAT said, I do see the arguements for reform and assimilation into society, I just feel it's not something that should be going on within the prison itself. I think those resources and effort should instead be fed into the halfway programs which are themselves overtaxed and always in need of effort. Put the effort into helping those who have been released so they have more options and will take time learning once they are out, rather than cramming these guys full of knowlege while they are in prison and learning under that mentality and in that enviroment. The enviroment in which you learn has a lot to do with it.

Of course then again I'm also a proponent of the entire "supercube" idea. That is to say, we change the humanitarian standards of prisons. We put every prisoner into their own personal 10' wide by 8' high cube with a fold down bed, toilet, sink, and a viewscreen on one wall controlled by a cabled remote control. You stick the prisoner in there naked, and the door basically does not open until their sentence is up. Food is slid through into the room a few times a day.

The idea here is that you put all the books, movies, etc... onto the screen from a prison library and let people keep themselves occupied that way, also allowing the prison to control what prisoners can see and experience. All communications happens via camera accross that screen with visitors, and there might be a prison chat room which can be monitored for "social contact". There is no release for exercise, which is a good thing because letting prisoners become stronger and tougher in prison is general a bad thing. No unsupervised communications means no planning. If some guy lights a fire in his sell somehow, or decides to smear feces everywhere, let him die, or hope he enjoys his own feces for however long his sentence is.

Such a situation probably has peopel going "OMG, inhumane, what do you mean no exercise or fresh air!" but honestly I feel it's no big deal since the idea is supposed to be to punish. Someone stuck in there for 10 years with nothing to watch but prison approved movies/TV/books/games or whatever probably won't be in a hurry to go back, and better yet we don't have to worry about prisoners raping and killing each other in the general population. Every prisoner is a solitary confinement prisoner!

When you consider my attitude, you can see where I'm not a big fan of yet another in-prison education initiative. My opinion is when a prisoner sees the sun again it should be a euphoric experience (like a prisoner leaving a dungeon of old) and the juxposition should make it so they will never, ever want to wind up back in that little 10' cube.

Great. I cant afford to pay to finish my education but now i'm paying for others to get their free degree.

I guess for the low low price of my anal virginity I can get a free education too eh?

rolfwesselius:

Gilhelmi:

rolfwesselius:
I wondered When america would learn something about how we handle prisons in europe.

How do you do it in Europe?

Well in most of Europe prison's aren't about punishment but more about getting them back into society and become functioning member's of society again.
In most american prison's prison rape is often expected to happen.

In the case of my nation, a bit too little focus of punishing and too much on a public-funded holiday.

Though yes, the prisons in America are festering pits of violence and damnation.

GiglameshSoulEater:

rolfwesselius:

Gilhelmi:

How do you do it in Europe?

Well in most of Europe prison's aren't about punishment but more about getting them back into society and become functioning member's of society again.
In most american prison's prison rape is often expected to happen.

In the case of my nation, a bit too little focus of punishing and too much on a public-funded holiday.

Though yes, the prisons in America are festering pits of violence and damnation.

Well norway the country with the least punishing prisons in the world has the lowest re offending rate.
Also we have been closing prisons in holland recently due to them falling into disuse

rolfwesselius:

GiglameshSoulEater:

rolfwesselius:

Well in most of Europe prison's aren't about punishment but more about getting them back into society and become functioning member's of society again.
In most american prison's prison rape is often expected to happen.

In the case of my nation, a bit too little focus of punishing and too much on a public-funded holiday.

Though yes, the prisons in America are festering pits of violence and damnation.

Well norway the country with the least punishing prisons in the world has the lowest re offending rate.
Also we have been closing prisons in holland recently due to them falling into disuse

Well, we can ship the chavs over there and let the.. Hollandish...? sort them out, they obviously have the right idea. They can keep them, too, unless they turn out to be useful.

GiglameshSoulE
ater:

rolfwesselius:

Well norway the country with the least punishing prisons in the world has the lowest re offending rate.
Also we have been closing prisons in holland recently due to them falling into disuse

Well, we can ship the chavs over there and let the.. Hollandish...? sort them out, they obviously have the right idea. They can keep them, too, unless they turn out to be useful.

You mean the Dutch? :P
And yes, I agree, let them take all the chavs and make them speak proper English and how to behave in an appropriate manner.

Therumancer:
snip

Whilst I can, in theory, see the reasoning in this, I don't think this would ever be right. Even if you counter-act the physical complications such conditions would impose, psychological issues are not so easy, and not being able to interact, and muscles atrohpying is not something anyone would want to deal with.
And treating criminals like they're in a battery farm is just not right.

I hadn't considered the possible effects of falling behind the technology curve, that's an interesting one. It's true that a criminal who'd been in jail for a long time would be seriously confused about new developments. Very interesting.

And of course I do support this new initiative, I believe the key to stopping reoffending is to provide people with ways to live without crime. Too often do we just throw them out the system in the same state they went in, and then we act all horrified when they go back to crime.

My teacher described prisons as maximum security care homes, which is an good analogy I feel and we should start treating prisons more like that. Especially when you consider the high numbers of prisoners with abusive backgrounds, those coming from poverty and those who are mentally ill.

Therumancer:
Snip

Ignoring everything important in your argument, because I don't feel like getting into a big debate, why does the prisoner need to be naked in the cube? That seems unnecesarry, especially since they'll be talking to visitors, might want to have clothes on for that.

Ah, second thing, what happens if the prisoner gets ill?

First they get a concert by Johnny Cash himself, now they are getting taught how to become successful business-people. Plus probably no ex-wife anymore to share their profits with.
Man, these convicted criminals really got it all.

Therumancer:
-snip-

Hitler and Stalin would have loved you.

Quaxar:
First they get a concert by Johnny Cash himself, now they are getting taught how to become successful business-people. Plus probably no ex-wife anymore to share their profits with.
Man, these convicted criminals really got it all.

They don't have freedom.

Something about prisoner being treated any better than in a concentration camp?

Queue ignorant Americans screaming stuff like 'that's my tax dollars' or 'why not just execute all of them' or 'put them on water and bread!'.

Actually, crap, I've already been ninja'd to my sarcastic prediction a few times.

Therumancer:
Of course then again I'm also a proponent of the entire "supercube" idea. That is to say, we change the humanitarian standards of prisons. We put every prisoner into their own personal 10' wide by 8' high cube with a fold down bed, toilet, sink, and a viewscreen on one wall controlled by a cabled remote control. You stick the prisoner in there naked, and the door basically does not open until their sentence is up. Food is slid through into the room a few times a day.

You haven't got the faintest clue about how people respond to incarceration and conditions do you?

orangeban:

Therumancer:
Snip

Ignoring everything important in your argument, because I don't feel like getting into a big debate, why does the prisoner need to be naked in the cube? That seems unnecesarry, especially since they'll be talking to visitors, might want to have clothes on for that.

Ah, second thing, what happens if the prisoner gets ill?

Getting Ill, depending on the circumstances, might represent an exception, but would probably involve treatment within the cube as opposed to them being transferred elsewhere. Half the point is after all isolation, it's intended to be a punishment, and if you start bending over backwards for those who get sick, you wind up with a situation where everyone will be acting sick all the time just to get into the infirmiry, which is already a problem within prisons.

The point of nudity is again isolation, and the simple fact that it cuts down on efforts to escape. Clothing provides protection from the elements, and there is a BIG differance between say wearing a prison jumpsuit which might be identifable and would need to be exchanged for something else, and being totally naked. If the prison is fairly isolated some guy who escaped somehow would then have to contend with running through wherever it is, totally buck naked and without shoes.

It's also dehumanizing, the idea here is punishment. It's not supposed to be pleasant. To make someone see something as basic as clothing as a privlege as opposed to an entitlement can be a big deal.

There has been a lot of things written about it, the so called "supercube" is an old idea, but has never been approved. The idea being that it's possible to warehouse a lot more people this way, it cuts down on escapes, and also the nature of the controlled enviroment means you'd need less COs, and also have less danger involved in the facility.

The problem is of course one of humanitarianism, due to the lack of outside time, direct social contact, and of course the lack of any emergency evacuation. If the facility say goes on fire as a whole, and general safeguards fail part of the supercube concept is just to let the prisoners die. Of course this is in part to reduce chances of escape, because one of the classic tricks is of course to do something (either inside, or done by someone outside) to get an evacuation so a person can be sprung from jail or have a chance to escape since the COs who are outnumberd have to get people out of the building. If you just let the people die from crap like that it means nobody is going to go and light the cube on fire or whatever to get an evacuation, it also means that nobody is going to try and find a way to light a fire in their cell for attention or whatever.

My basic attitude is one of prison as punishment, as about to being about rehabilitation. I see an unpleasant prison experience as being a deterrant. You want people to fear prison, sadly in the US people are more concerned about the other inmates in prison, than the prison sentences itself.

Therumancer:
I'm conservative, and generally feel prisons should exist to punish and act as a deterrant as opposed to reform. We have things like "half way houses" and post-prison programs for that kind of thing once prisoners get out. I tend to feel someone who is going to fail there isn't going to be much helped by programs within the prison system itself. I also feel the more of these programs added and the more of a free hand and skill inmates are given the more difficult it is for the COs (Corrections Officers) to control and monitor.

As nice as it is to envision a system where these skills wil help a prisoner adapt better to the outside world, the bottom line is a tech savvy criminal is just going to be more dangerous, and inside, in the enviroment with a lot of other criminals, it simply gives these guys more time to brainstorm for things they think they can get away with using their newfound knowlege when they are released. The benefit to post-prison programs is that a guy who jumps into crime while learning there is more likely to screw up due to slowly developing the skills, as opposed to having had time to polish and plan before release. With all the crap going on via Twitter and stuff already, I actually find some comfort in the idea of a lot of inmates being ignorant of the entire thing, and not thinking of ways they can use it when they get out.

THAT said, I do see the arguements for reform and assimilation into society, I just feel it's not something that should be going on within the prison itself. I think those resources and effort should instead be fed into the halfway programs which are themselves overtaxed and always in need of effort. Put the effort into helping those who have been released so they have more options and will take time learning once they are out, rather than cramming these guys full of knowlege while they are in prison and learning under that mentality and in that enviroment. The enviroment in which you learn has a lot to do with it.

Of course then again I'm also a proponent of the entire "supercube" idea. That is to say, we change the humanitarian standards of prisons. We put every prisoner into their own personal 10' wide by 8' high cube with a fold down bed, toilet, sink, and a viewscreen on one wall controlled by a cabled remote control. You stick the prisoner in there naked, and the door basically does not open until their sentence is up. Food is slid through into the room a few times a day.

The idea here is that you put all the books, movies, etc... onto the screen from a prison library and let people keep themselves occupied that way, also allowing the prison to control what prisoners can see and experience. All communications happens via camera accross that screen with visitors, and there might be a prison chat room which can be monitored for "social contact". There is no release for exercise, which is a good thing because letting prisoners become stronger and tougher in prison is general a bad thing. No unsupervised communications means no planning. If some guy lights a fire in his sell somehow, or decides to smear feces everywhere, let him die, or hope he enjoys his own feces for however long his sentence is.

Such a situation probably has peopel going "OMG, inhumane, what do you mean no exercise or fresh air!" but honestly I feel it's no big deal since the idea is supposed to be to punish. Someone stuck in there for 10 years with nothing to watch but prison approved movies/TV/books/games or whatever probably won't be in a hurry to go back, and better yet we don't have to worry about prisoners raping and killing each other in the general population. Every prisoner is a solitary confinement prisoner!

When you consider my attitude, you can see where I'm not a big fan of yet another in-prison education initiative. My opinion is when a prisoner sees the sun again it should be a euphoric experience (like a prisoner leaving a dungeon of old) and the juxposition should make it so they will never, ever want to wind up back in that little 10' cube.

I do like the idea, but being away from physical human contact for that long would probably have terrible pyschological effects on a person.

You must of seen the movie Oldboy right? Same thing happens to the maincharacter, really fucks with his head.

Therumancer:

orangeban:

Therumancer:
Snip

Ignoring everything important in your argument, because I don't feel like getting into a big debate, why does the prisoner need to be naked in the cube? That seems unnecesarry, especially since they'll be talking to visitors, might want to have clothes on for that.

Ah, second thing, what happens if the prisoner gets ill?

Getting Ill, depending on the circumstances, might represent an exception, but would probably involve treatment within the cube as opposed to them being transferred elsewhere. Half the point is after all isolation, it's intended to be a punishment, and if you start bending over backwards for those who get sick, you wind up with a situation where everyone will be acting sick all the time just to get into the infirmiry, which is already a problem within prisons.

The point of nudity is again isolation, and the simple fact that it cuts down on efforts to escape. Clothing provides protection from the elements, and there is a BIG differance between say wearing a prison jumpsuit which might be identifable and would need to be exchanged for something else, and being totally naked. If the prison is fairly isolated some guy who escaped somehow would then have to contend with running through wherever it is, totally buck naked and without shoes.

It's also dehumanizing, the idea here is punishment. It's not supposed to be pleasant. To make someone see something as basic as clothing as a privlege as opposed to an entitlement can be a big deal.

There has been a lot of things written about it, the so called "supercube" is an old idea, but has never been approved. The idea being that it's possible to warehouse a lot more people this way, it cuts down on escapes, and also the nature of the controlled enviroment means you'd need less COs, and also have less danger involved in the facility.

The problem is of course one of humanitarianism, due to the lack of outside time, direct social contact, and of course the lack of any emergency evacuation. If the facility say goes on fire as a whole, and general safeguards fail part of the supercube concept is just to let the prisoners die. Of course this is in part to reduce chances of escape, because one of the classic tricks is of course to do something (either inside, or done by someone outside) to get an evacuation so a person can be sprung from jail or have a chance to escape since the COs who are outnumberd have to get people out of the building. If you just let the people die from crap like that it means nobody is going to go and light the cube on fire or whatever to get an evacuation, it also means that nobody is going to try and find a way to light a fire in their cell for attention or whatever.

My basic attitude is one of prison as punishment, as about to being about rehabilitation. I see an unpleasant prison experience as being a deterrant. You want people to fear prison, sadly in the US people are more concerned about the other inmates in prison, than the prison sentences itself.

I, uh, see?

No, wait, I'll be honest, I find this "supercube" idea legitimately terrifying. But if I reset my moral compass here and look at this only from a viewpoint where the prisoner's life is effectively worthless, then I can see.

I mean, I feel there are so many things wrong with your idea, but it is lines like, "If you just let the people die from crap like that it means nobody is going to go and light the cube on fire or whatever to get an evacuation, it also means that nobody is going to try and find a way to light a fire in their cell for attention or whatever." that make me realise we clearly have moral viewpoints that are totally opposed. How interesting, that doesn't happen too often.

Blablahb:
Something about prisoner being treated any better than in a concentration camp?

Queue ignorant Americans screaming stuff like 'that's my tax dollars' or 'why not just execute all of them' or 'put them on water and bread!'.

Actually, crap, I've already been ninja'd to my sarcastic prediction a few times.

Therumancer:
Of course then again I'm also a proponent of the entire "supercube" idea. That is to say, we change the humanitarian standards of prisons. We put every prisoner into their own personal 10' wide by 8' high cube with a fold down bed, toilet, sink, and a viewscreen on one wall controlled by a cabled remote control. You stick the prisoner in there naked, and the door basically does not open until their sentence is up. Food is slid through into the room a few times a day.

You haven't got the faintest clue about how people respond to incarceration and conditions do you?

Blablahb:
Something about prisoner being treated any better than in a concentration camp?

Queue ignorant Americans screaming stuff like 'that's my tax dollars' or 'why not just execute all of them' or 'put them on water and bread!'.

Actually, crap, I've already been ninja'd to my sarcastic prediction a few times.

Therumancer:
Of course then again I'm also a proponent of the entire "supercube" idea. That is to say, we change the humanitarian standards of prisons. We put every prisoner into their own personal 10' wide by 8' high cube with a fold down bed, toilet, sink, and a viewscreen on one wall controlled by a cabled remote control. You stick the prisoner in there naked, and the door basically does not open until their sentence is up. Food is slid through into the room a few times a day.

You haven't got the faintest clue about how people respond to incarceration and conditions do you?

Actualy I probably know a LOT more about it than you, and not just because my dad is a CO. Your right reactions would not be positive, but that's kind of the point. I'm just giving a basic run down on the idea (which isn't mine), it's quite functional, it's just not in keeping with the US's current morality.

Truthfully you know very little about the US, probably far less than we know about other countries. In the US it's not so much an issue of "oh my tax dollars, just feed them bread and water" it's a situation where people line up to basically turn our prisons into country clubs. Right now we put a lot of effort into providing inmates with free educations, teaching them everything from engineering to cooking and sewing, and ironically enough law. In the US our prisons are so loose that your typical person is more concerned about what the other inmates and prison gangs might do to them, than the state employees or the prison sentence itself.

The point of the supercube is largely a reaction towards regaining control of a system that we have little control of due to politics. As cruel as what I say actually sounds, the bottom line is that if you go in there and serve your time like your suposed to your going to be pretty safe and can just pretty much sit there and watch old movies and read books on the screen until your time is up, while thinking about what you did and how you wound up there. This being opposed to the current situation where the protections on inamates have lead to huge networks for smuggling contraband, and some people actually going into prison intentionally to run and maintain their own little syndicates. While TV (like always) exagerrates somewhat, you actually have a reasonably good chance of being beaten to a pulp or stabbed even during a short prison stay, at the hands of other inmates.

Those who talk about concentration camps, apparently don't know the first thing about them. As camps they were actually a very open enviroment packed with tons of people loosely kept under control and handled largely as groups. The point of the camps being short term control as they moved people through them towards execution. It's sort of like the lines at disneyworld except without the willing crowds, guys with guns forcing you through the ropes and fences, and death at the end. This is nothing like that. Actually the only real danger the person faces is themselves due to relative isolation... and yes it's not a pleasant situation, but it's not supposed to be.

SaneAmongInsane:

Therumancer:
I'm conservative, and generally feel prisons should exist to punish and act as a deterrant as opposed to reform. We have things like "half way houses" and post-prison programs for that kind of thing once prisoners get out. I tend to feel someone who is going to fail there isn't going to be much helped by programs within the prison system itself. I also feel the more of these programs added and the more of a free hand and skill inmates are given the more difficult it is for the COs (Corrections Officers) to control and monitor.

As nice as it is to envision a system where these skills wil help a prisoner adapt better to the outside world, the bottom line is a tech savvy criminal is just going to be more dangerous, and inside, in the enviroment with a lot of other criminals, it simply gives these guys more time to brainstorm for things they think they can get away with using their newfound knowlege when they are released. The benefit to post-prison programs is that a guy who jumps into crime while learning there is more likely to screw up due to slowly developing the skills, as opposed to having had time to polish and plan before release. With all the crap going on via Twitter and stuff already, I actually find some comfort in the idea of a lot of inmates being ignorant of the entire thing, and not thinking of ways they can use it when they get out.

THAT said, I do see the arguements for reform and assimilation into society, I just feel it's not something that should be going on within the prison itself. I think those resources and effort should instead be fed into the halfway programs which are themselves overtaxed and always in need of effort. Put the effort into helping those who have been released so they have more options and will take time learning once they are out, rather than cramming these guys full of knowlege while they are in prison and learning under that mentality and in that enviroment. The enviroment in which you learn has a lot to do with it.

Of course then again I'm also a proponent of the entire "supercube" idea. That is to say, we change the humanitarian standards of prisons. We put every prisoner into their own personal 10' wide by 8' high cube with a fold down bed, toilet, sink, and a viewscreen on one wall controlled by a cabled remote control. You stick the prisoner in there naked, and the door basically does not open until their sentence is up. Food is slid through into the room a few times a day.

The idea here is that you put all the books, movies, etc... onto the screen from a prison library and let people keep themselves occupied that way, also allowing the prison to control what prisoners can see and experience. All communications happens via camera accross that screen with visitors, and there might be a prison chat room which can be monitored for "social contact". There is no release for exercise, which is a good thing because letting prisoners become stronger and tougher in prison is general a bad thing. No unsupervised communications means no planning. If some guy lights a fire in his sell somehow, or decides to smear feces everywhere, let him die, or hope he enjoys his own feces for however long his sentence is.

Such a situation probably has peopel going "OMG, inhumane, what do you mean no exercise or fresh air!" but honestly I feel it's no big deal since the idea is supposed to be to punish. Someone stuck in there for 10 years with nothing to watch but prison approved movies/TV/books/games or whatever probably won't be in a hurry to go back, and better yet we don't have to worry about prisoners raping and killing each other in the general population. Every prisoner is a solitary confinement prisoner!

When you consider my attitude, you can see where I'm not a big fan of yet another in-prison education initiative. My opinion is when a prisoner sees the sun again it should be a euphoric experience (like a prisoner leaving a dungeon of old) and the juxposition should make it so they will never, ever want to wind up back in that little 10' cube.

I do like the idea, but being away from physical human contact for that long would probably have terrible pyschological effects on a person.

You must of seen the movie Oldboy right? Same thing happens to the maincharacter, really fucks with his head.

The guy in Oldboy was also tortured and had drugs pumped into his room with some frequency. He also had no idea why he was there. In this case the person does know why they are in prison and also unlike the guy in Oldboy is going to know what they did to deserve it (In Oldboy he doesn't find out until the end). Also as I pointed out the idea is that the guy in the prison does get to have SOME contact, albiet not directly.

Sure it's a terrifying thing, and that's kind of the point, you want to have a prison system that is going to make people scared to be thrown into prison so they won't commit crimes.

The Plunk:

Therumancer:
-snip-

Hitler and Stalin would have loved you.

Not really, both actually ran camps, which were the opposite of what I'm talking about and far closer to what the current prison system we run is like. They also were quite active in their cruelty. Hitler was pretty much doing mass executions, and Stalin was attempting to re-educate the population, the idea of his gulags was that the people in them either died or came out a productive worker, he actually didn't WANT people to die in them, he just didn't care if they did since he was working towards a very specific purpose. The testing Stalin did was intended towards a specific end, as opposed to the creation of no-win scenarios for the purpose of killing people.

To be honest what I've suggested might not be nice, but it's not going to kill many people either. To be honest I think your typical person would be scared of it (which is a godo thing, as it acts as a deterrant) but actually safer than the current system.

Therumancer:

SaneAmongInsane:

Therumancer:
I'm conservative, and generally feel prisons should exist to punish and act as a deterrant as opposed to reform. We have things like "half way houses" and post-prison programs for that kind of thing once prisoners get out. I tend to feel someone who is going to fail there isn't going to be much helped by programs within the prison system itself. I also feel the more of these programs added and the more of a free hand and skill inmates are given the more difficult it is for the COs (Corrections Officers) to control and monitor.

As nice as it is to envision a system where these skills wil help a prisoner adapt better to the outside world, the bottom line is a tech savvy criminal is just going to be more dangerous, and inside, in the enviroment with a lot of other criminals, it simply gives these guys more time to brainstorm for things they think they can get away with using their newfound knowlege when they are released. The benefit to post-prison programs is that a guy who jumps into crime while learning there is more likely to screw up due to slowly developing the skills, as opposed to having had time to polish and plan before release. With all the crap going on via Twitter and stuff already, I actually find some comfort in the idea of a lot of inmates being ignorant of the entire thing, and not thinking of ways they can use it when they get out.

THAT said, I do see the arguements for reform and assimilation into society, I just feel it's not something that should be going on within the prison itself. I think those resources and effort should instead be fed into the halfway programs which are themselves overtaxed and always in need of effort. Put the effort into helping those who have been released so they have more options and will take time learning once they are out, rather than cramming these guys full of knowlege while they are in prison and learning under that mentality and in that enviroment. The enviroment in which you learn has a lot to do with it.

Of course then again I'm also a proponent of the entire "supercube" idea. That is to say, we change the humanitarian standards of prisons. We put every prisoner into their own personal 10' wide by 8' high cube with a fold down bed, toilet, sink, and a viewscreen on one wall controlled by a cabled remote control. You stick the prisoner in there naked, and the door basically does not open until their sentence is up. Food is slid through into the room a few times a day.

The idea here is that you put all the books, movies, etc... onto the screen from a prison library and let people keep themselves occupied that way, also allowing the prison to control what prisoners can see and experience. All communications happens via camera accross that screen with visitors, and there might be a prison chat room which can be monitored for "social contact". There is no release for exercise, which is a good thing because letting prisoners become stronger and tougher in prison is general a bad thing. No unsupervised communications means no planning. If some guy lights a fire in his sell somehow, or decides to smear feces everywhere, let him die, or hope he enjoys his own feces for however long his sentence is.

Such a situation probably has peopel going "OMG, inhumane, what do you mean no exercise or fresh air!" but honestly I feel it's no big deal since the idea is supposed to be to punish. Someone stuck in there for 10 years with nothing to watch but prison approved movies/TV/books/games or whatever probably won't be in a hurry to go back, and better yet we don't have to worry about prisoners raping and killing each other in the general population. Every prisoner is a solitary confinement prisoner!

When you consider my attitude, you can see where I'm not a big fan of yet another in-prison education initiative. My opinion is when a prisoner sees the sun again it should be a euphoric experience (like a prisoner leaving a dungeon of old) and the juxposition should make it so they will never, ever want to wind up back in that little 10' cube.

I do like the idea, but being away from physical human contact for that long would probably have terrible pyschological effects on a person.

You must of seen the movie Oldboy right? Same thing happens to the maincharacter, really fucks with his head.

The guy in Oldboy was also tortured and had drugs pumped into his room with some frequency. He also had no idea why he was there. In this case the person does know why they are in prison and also unlike the guy in Oldboy is going to know what they did to deserve it (In Oldboy he doesn't find out until the end). Also as I pointed out the idea is that the guy in the prison does get to have SOME contact, albiet not directly.

Sure it's a terrifying thing, and that's kind of the point, you want to have a prison system that is going to make people scared to be thrown into prison so they won't commit crimes.

Maybe, maybe, but I could totally see it really backfiring and then suddenly we have a large group of people that refuse to leave their cell.

I seriously can't imagine prison being a bigger deterrent then it already is unless we just start killing all prisoners by Brazen bull. Like really, even the version you describe seems more pleasent (minus the potential negative effects) then the current prison system. In your world if I go to jail I don't have to worry about being raped or shanked.

spezz:
Great. I cant afford to pay to finish my education but now i'm paying for others to get their free degree.

I guess for the low low price of my anal virginity I can get a free education too eh?

I believe thats half the problem, the US doesn't have the proper free education of other developed nations like Europe, Australia etc.
Australia has a system like Europe, its about re-education and reformation rather than damnation, and in general it does work far better.

Just can't stop laughing at these people who actually want harsher punishments for criminals, in a system where incarceration is a business run by private companies and a majority of crimes stem from social indifference.

"Gotta start givin' these dang gangbangers life for robbin' a quick-e-mart! Dang animals!"

Meanwhile the population's getting reamed by lobbyism.

Therumancer:
snip

This is one of the stupidest things ive ever heard.

First of all, your supercube wouldn't work. Everyone in there would die within a month. People need sunlight, because they need Vitamin D. Then we have the problem of these people not moving for years on end. They would become so weak they wouldn;t be able to stand, if they didn't get a blood clot and die first. Plus, the solitude would drive them insane. Basically, you're saying "oh, you commited a crime, have fun dying or going insane in a tiny cube". I take it that you're from America. I know your prison system (and your legal system) are terrible, but building a giant cube doesn't really fix anything, and is a prety childish idea. Your opinion sounds like the narrow-minded ignorance of someone who gets all their opinions from their racist Dad and 4chan.

Above you were saying that a skilled criminal is a dangerous criminal. Let me break this down for you. Criminal are just people who have commited a crime. Theyre just like you and me, except for the whole "crime" thing. They're not monsters. Eventually, they're going to go back into society after their time is up. Now, they could go in with no knowledge of the outside world, and no skills, where they'll just reoffend because noone will hire them. Or they could come in with some real skills and integrate back into society. Because thats what prison is about, reforming criminals so they can rejoin society, not as a punishment. If you wanted to punish them, you'd punish them, not lock them up.

I think you really need to re-evaluate why we lock people up, what a criminal is, and your understanding of human rights. Good talk.

Mr Pantomime:

Therumancer:
snip

This is one of the stupidest things ive ever heard.

First of all, your supercube wouldn't work. Everyone in there would die within a month. People need sunlight, because they need Vitamin D. Then we have the problem of these people not moving for years on end. They would become so weak they wouldn;t be able to stand, if they didn't get a blood clot and die first. Plus, the solitude would drive them insane. Basically, you're saying "oh, you commited a crime, have fun dying or going insane in a tiny cube". I take it that you're from America. I know your prison system (and your legal system) are terrible, but building a giant cube doesn't really fix anything, and is a prety childish idea. Your opinion sounds like the narrow-minded ignorance of someone who gets all their opinions from their racist Dad and 4chan.

Above you were saying that a skilled criminal is a dangerous criminal. Let me break this down for you. Criminal are just people who have commited a crime. Theyre just like you and me, except for the whole "crime" thing. They're not monsters. Eventually, they're going to go back into society after their time is up. Now, they could go in with no knowledge of the outside world, and no skills, where they'll just reoffend because noone will hire them. Or they could come in with some real skills and integrate back into society. Because thats what prison is about, reforming criminals so they can rejoin society, not as a punishment. If you wanted to punish them, you'd punish them, not lock them up.

I think you really need to re-evaluate why we lock people up, what a criminal is, and your understanding of human rights. Good talk.

Thank you, you managed to gather all the arguments into coherent form, while my mind was still flopping about trying to comprehend the sheer callousness of the whole idea.

Teaching criminals business...

Isn't that kind of redundant? Have you SEEN business practices lately?! The stuff they teach you in college is NOT what people do out there! If they did, then the economy would not be where it is. (There might still be a question on what governments do with their money, but the idea is that proper business would have been a buffer against recession.) Yes, of course. Let's teach the guys in jail about business so that when they're out, they can ignore all the points that could lead to a better economy in favor of screwing others for a profit. And they'll do it with glee because it will follow the letter - not the spirit - of the law and therefore be loophole-legal, an irony that no ex-con could possibly pass up.

Good plan!

*Goes to find about 10 billion bricks and every cement truck available for one massive rendition of The Cask of Amontillado*

Say it with me now: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MONTRESOR!

I can see it now:

Baddy "Thirdleg" Murderface's Wire Cutters, Shovels, and Nail Files Emporium!

Send your old and unused Wire Cutters, Shovels, and Nail Files to us, and we send you a totally legit check! Just send it too P.O. Bx 2346 Cell Block 5, Cell 23, Top Bunk

Therumancer:
...blah...

The clinical term for people like you is "psychopath" I believe.

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