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Do jails (Gaols) rehabilitate?

People who commit crimes will sometimes find themselves serving time in a penal institution, whereby they will be punished for their crime and may after a qualifying period be set free back into society.

Western society has differing versions of punishment, eg some countries/states have the death penalty for crimes while some other countries will chop off the hand of a thief for their first offence and then the other if they do it again. I have heard in countries with this practice that their rate of theft is way down.

Conversely I have also heard that the death penalty does not deter people from committing the crime... clearly they are very sorry ...when they are caught.

Also I have heard that some criminals cannot be rehabilitated, eg child molestors, tho in some cultures castration will remedy this'

In a recent American jail documentary I saw, there were two different environments portrayed for offenders. One was in a traditional jail with the prisoners dominating weaker inmates, while the other was very military oriented with prisoners ridden hard by their jailors with strict codes of practice enforced.... the outcomes were incidentally overwhelmingly in favour of the military styled environment in terms of rehabilitive members.

My debate here for TED members revolves around the present status quo for their country/state with regard to prison terms and systems for rehabilitation and what in their opinion would create the ideal system for rehabilitation of offenders! Notwithstanding, measures for dealing with preventative measures which would see for example the over represented numbers of offenders who were affected by or motivated by drugs at the time of their offence : D


Closing Statement from Time Traveller

Thanks to everybody involved for their time, effort, wisdom, experiences and contributions here.

My interpretation in conclusion. is that, jails do not rehabilitate but possibly instead further steep an individual into criminal institutilisation. Money appears to be more at the focus in terms of privatisation and it does seem a MASSIVE overhaul needs to be made in terms of punishment, jailing and criminal behaviour.

It seems that the nurturing/ developing years that a child is raised in are often the breeding ground but also the place to nip in the bud, criminality.

Some programs in jails designed to foster rehabilitation work for some people, as there are people who do care about this. Others will rehabilitate themselves due to wanting to break free of incarceration, tho this may come with maturity and reflection.

On the other side of the equation, if someone who has been rehabilitated after doing their time and paying the price for their crimes/s, they are then further punished by being discriminated against when seeking employment, thus setting up the potential for re-offending.

Many conversations on TED have revolved around this theme and it is unfortunate that there is not some better way (at the moment, I am going to have a crack at exploring our options) of better utilising the ponderings and ideas developed to be subsequently ideas worth spreading into society.

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    Jul 12 2013: Our present system does not rehabilitate. The short reason is, it deals with humans.
    We jail people for breaking the law.
    We are not sufficiently knowlegeable in the process of the human mind.
    Adaptability to jail conditions is favourable to long term habitation (addiction)
    Let us not mistake that those that are realeased that do not recommit have been rehabilitated, they probably would not recommit even if they had not been incarcerated, it is, "I made a grave mistake"
    The law is not black and white but, much grey area exists. The crown must deal with the black and white. The problem with the grey area is due to interpretation.
    The law is far from being perfect but, it is the best we have.
    I must also point out that, it is through trial and error that we have evolved to what we are now, like it or not. :)
    We are all human beings. We must remember what is a crime in one part of the world may not be a crime on another.
    To come back to the question. Try to imagine what it would be like in a world without crime. All laws made by man obeyed. Does this sound like black and white? Yes, to me it does! .... Unfortunately you cannot put parameters to crime so that they would only be petty ones. It is part of who we are so, real hardcore criminals I believe do not rehabilitate

    btw. This conversation is not a simple one, the TED community could write each a book on the subject and still not come up with a universal understandind because we are constantly changing. ;)

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