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What if prisoners were given a choice...

Either go to jail and be re-educated, or forever leave society and go live on an abandoned island. In my mind, people who consistently commit crimes are just not cut out for society. But just because they were born into this society, doesn't mean they should be forced to live in it. So if someone is not cut out for society, why don't we give them the choice to leave society?

It's a bit of a wild idea, and I don't mean to sound harsh towards anyone who has ever committed a crime. I just believe that people shouldn't be forced to live in the society they were born and raised in, and if their given society turns out to not fit them, then instead of throwing them away in jail, committing them to misery and wasting taxpayers money, why not allow them to leave this society and go somewhere more suitable.

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    Feb 14 2013: Your question lumps together everyone who commits a crime into a category that assumes, essentially, they cannot be redeemed and are therefore worthless. There are many people who commit crimes because of ignorance or lack of awareness of the law, out of desperation (read Les Miserables, e.g.), who are protesting an unjust state (civil disobedience), or who are mentally ill or developmentally challenged. Your question also, seemingly, lumps together all types of criminals, from those who commit petty crimes to hardcore felons.

    Your question also ignores the potential prisoners have to contribute back to society, not only to help us learn about their problems and hopefully prevent them from being repeated in others, but also in terms of the labor they often do on our behalf.

    Lastly, though this is perhaps an unpopular view, the goal of a society is to care for all of its members, even those who break the law. They don't need to live in luxury, but the social contract should be a two-way street.
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    Feb 16 2013: Jamie, I worked in law enforcement and prisons .. there are some who believe that inmates can be re-educated .. I am not one of them.

    When AIDS reached Cuba, Fiedel Castro had the whole island tested. All positives were fenced off from the healthy to prevent the spread. They had their own society. The same could be done for dangerous and career criminals. The insertion of a locator chip, the application of a shock collar, electrified fences, etc ... Provide them with their own society. The details would not be hard to work out and the costs would certainly be less than the current system and in time self supporting.

    Some countries have a three strike law ... three majopr crimes and you are a career criminal and lose all right to parole, etc .... We could go to a fourth strike law ... immediate eradication. It is just and provides a solution to the problem. Some countries go straight to the death penality on the first offense ... religious law. You know the rules ... you break them ... you lose.

    One in three will go to jail or prison ... the costs are significant. we need to make the punishments more harsh to stop the trend. The prison I worked in the inmates were only locked down for 8 hours. (The worst ones more) They had TV, radio, libraries, gym, rec field, weights, school, medical, food, stores, church, etc ... Not a real punishing society. The only thing they could not do was leave. Do something wrong you get a ticket ... how mean. But yet the liberals sue the system all the time for poor little Jonnie, the mass killer, because he lost some privlidges because he beat someone up. No TV for a month. Oh no not that .. how cruel.

    Sorry for the soap box. Yes there should be alternatives and they should not be at the expense of the same society they have wronged.

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      Feb 16 2013: Did you work with juvenile offenders in juvenile detention?
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        Feb 16 2013: Only for about a year and then I went to the state prison system.
  • Feb 14 2013: This is not as out there as it seems. However, do we need to require everyone that wants to live in paradise to commit a crime.
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    Feb 19 2013: This was done by the british. The colonisation of Australia was driven by the need to address overcrowding in the British prison system; however, it was simply not economically viable to transport prisoners half way around the world for this reason alone.[1] Many convicts were either skilled tradesmen or farmers who had been convicted for trivial crimes and were sentenced to seven years, the time required to set up the infrastructure for the new colony. Convicts were often given pardons prior to or on completion of their sentences and were allocated parcels of land to farm.
  • Feb 18 2013: I have sat in groups of 3,000 and 5,000 ex-felons, outside of prison, with long incarceration, some of whom were very violent and are no longer so.
    They all had rehabilitated themselves and most had done it outside prison walls.
    I don't know how many began their "life re-hab" while behind bars but there are few who cannot be reached.
    I worked with a bank robber and a very violent person. Same person. His mother and father were criminals.His sisters and brothers were criminals. His aunts and uncles were criminals. His grandparents were both criminals. He was raised to be a criminal. He also had another talent that enabled him to make a lot of money legally once he was released.
    I could not bring myself to condemn him, though I would condemn his actions. I worked mainly with African-American men, ex-felons, trying to move forward, change and grow. They had two major obstacles at first. One, they were institutionalized by the prison system. Two, they were now entering society that was also heavily institutionalized in their own way, much of it with false and misleading information.
    They had to try and find their way in a still-racist America in which the slaves have to provide for their own enslavement needs, such as food, water, shelter, transportation, education, medical care, clothing, and to do so at rock bottom salaries. It's frightening. They cry. Survival dictates, not morals. I also know so-called nice families, decent people, who broke the law big time, that involved lots of money, all so that they could stave off what looked like impending bankruptcy, the end of their dreams and a life of homelessness, as it was their last strike. They pulled it off, weren't caught and have thriving businesses today, and I may add, good lives. Are any of these criminal-minded people, no matter how bad they may behave? The answer is no. There is no such thing as a criminal mind unless one lives in a society in which there are no reasons to commit crimes, and then do so.
  • Feb 17 2013: I am a liberal but on this subject I am NOT.
    I have known a few folks that have been in prison for various crimes, paid their time etc. then back into society. Most have NOT been rehabilitated on any level. Their lives seem to be centered around lies and what they can con someone into giving them. I am being harsh I know, but I have been on the receiving end of some of these lies & con jobs. What they learn in prisons is through the inmates. Sending them to a deserted island or into space is NOT an option, but stricter in prison rules are. The penal system in USA needs a complete overhaul, starting with all the perks they get. Giving them a choice (as you suggest) wouldn't work either. They'd lie just to take the rehab, then go back to old ways just to stay in society once rehab is over. Some nations have harsh laws for a reason. We may not like those laws but they are usually effective.
  • Feb 15 2013: One would need to define criminal for starters, but i like the way you think...

    is it criminal to feed your kids rubbish from a labratory factory? i think so, is it legal, absolutely.

    just a thought

    I view most criminals as opportunists, where we see a secure facility, they see loopholes, possibilities and an advantage.

    some are just dangerous and should be segregated, however i think that prisoners are a largely untapped labour resource, think tanks of possibilities should be made from some of the most intelligent,
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    Feb 14 2013: I think those people would try to get away from wherever they were committed, return to society, and start committing crimes.
  • Feb 14 2013: There aren't very many deserted islands anymore. The only viable solution (maybe in another hundred years time) is to send them off into space to be colonists. Just like Australia! History repeats itself.
    • Feb 17 2013: That is NOT a good idea when you think about it. Sending the worst of us into space, wouldn't say too much about us if they should meet up with others from another world.
      • Feb 19 2013: Heh heh, good point. Intergalactic war, anyone?