Most Humane Prison

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In this documentary,  The director of Halden prison, Norway’s most humane prison, visits american prisons trying to encourage to change the ways of rehabilitation in prison.

Arguments in favor of documentary

  • Normally, it’s not about what studies show is more effective but about what is more profitable. Prisons are for profit and recidivism is used to increase these profits. Reform will never happen unless people become more active and call for the end of for profit prisons, which have a role in creating an extremely biased, prosecution happy justice system.
  • A small number of prisons are ENTIRELY privatized, but EVERY prison is dependent on a large network of private, for-profit companies to supply everything, which gouge inmates for basic necessities and services like calling their families.
  • There are para-prison utilities, Commissaries, parole services, companies that use prison labor for production, etc? Even if a prison is not explicitly “for profit”, it’s guaranteed someone is profiting somewhere down the chain.
  •  If you want less crime your options are reforming prisons or executing every single person in them, and only one of those is reasonable. Increasing punitiveness was tried twice in the last few decades and for every doubling of prison sentences 30% more crimes were committed as a result. The goal of prison reform is to turn criminals into good citizens. While currently we have prisons that turn criminals into much worse criminals. That’s not what you want.

Arguments opposing documentary

  • Let’s say there’s a program for prisoners to do public works in exchange for time off their sentence. It helps the community through these public works, and benefits the prisoner by giving them work, and less time in a concrete cube. But, the state is “technically” profiting in a way. Since they aren’t paying people with tax money to do those public works, they are profiting off the labor. Should they do away with this arrangement? Tell prisoners, “you got 10 years, sit in this cell with an hour of free time a day for 10 years”. What’s the correct answer? Almost no prisons force people to join the labor force, they join voluntarily. If they don’t like the work they have to do, they shouldn’t work.
  • In some countries the prison system is so bad that criminals have a higher chance of committing a crime after prison when compared to giving them no punishment whatsoever.
  • 90 some percent of prisons are government operated. If they were for profit you would not see such extreme shortages of staff within prisons. When you have an over all culture that has no respect for other people’s property or lives, you are guaranteed to have high recidivism.

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