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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

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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 14 2013: The clash of heinous crime with the modern version of human rights legislation means that rehabilitation of the perpetrators is seldom achieved in jail. Proper, civilized rehab would work even for serious offenders, but would be too costly to the taxpayer for education, psychological treatment and many other treatments that might rehabilitate prisoners back into society.

    The cheaper, less civilized option is punishment - to remove criminals from society, lock them up and throw away the keys. Whilst this appeals to the more visceral forms of 'justice', it has no place in civilized society in my opinion because it is a 'deterrent only' option; once in that loop it is impossible to get out, even if the will is there to do so.

    In the UK, many criminals regularly reoffend, safe in the knowledge that they will be treated very nicely indeed with very little in the way of deterrent or rehabilitation during repeated prison sentences. Many homeless people even turn to crime just to get a prison roof over their head, a bed, and free meals.

    Like many human ills, we are approaching it the wrong way and looking in the wrong place, in my opinion. Many ills and many crimes are actually being committed by society on the human condition, and certain individuals react by becoming mentally 'ill', turning to crime, and by becoming hopelessly addicted to drugs.

    If anything, it is the consumerist, money-led society itself that is in dire need of rehabilitation.

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