Our current system of punishing serious law breakers has up and downs, just like everything else in a democracy. I'll do my best to list these below.
- Efficiency: It is a system that has been in place for years and has fulfilled its capacity during such times. It runs (relatively) quickly and smoothly and is a system that has been streamlined and refined by centuries of use.
- Morality: It is not inherently cruel to humans, in the sense that it does not directly cause physical, emotional, or mental suffering. The prisoners are clothed and fed, and are provided with health care. Many also recieve counseling and attend classes to avoid further confrontations with the law.
- Theory: America was built on the foundation of inherent rights and liberties. By removing these, a prisoner will long for their return, and strive to keep them after release.
- Cost: To maintain the illusion of the Eight Amendement (No Cruel or Unusual Punishment), prisons need to treat their charges better than many Americans live daily. Each prisoner must be fed, clothed, occupied, provided basic necessities (cleanliness, health care, etc.), as well as guarded by paid employees and sustained by an extensive support staff of cooks, cleaners, and legalists. With over 1% of American adults currently imprisoned, this provides an ever expanding monetary toll on taxpayers.
- Effectiveness: Just the fact that criminal numbers have been rising faster than the population has been enough to question imprisonments overall effectiveness.
- Impartiality: Not all criminals can be locked up for X amount of days and be expected to come out as model citizens. Many prisoners are mentally sick or socially inept with a variety of disorders, thus leading to their unlawful behaviour. Without proper counseling and treatment, a stint in prison will only delay their next oppurtunity to break the law.
This thread is for discussing the effectiveness, status, and morality of the current system of prisons and jails in America, any form of punishment used outside of America, and previously practiced forms of punishing the unlawful. This is a personal experiment that I am doing across a variety of forums, and I will refrain from taking any side throughout the discussion.