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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 18 2013: Thankyou everyone for some very thoughtful posts. It seems that in general, I could sum up the following,

    1. It is better to prevent people from circumstances that lead to a life of crime.

    2. Time, reflection and lack of freedom in jail create the rehabilitation.

    3. Prisons are not designed to rehabilitate and may in fact create more crime (with the exception of point 2)

    Does anyone else have some bullet points to add?

    My purpose then is to thru this medium to provide our collective group BEST answers to each bullet point, with the ideal of creating a good as it gets society blueprint to diminish criminal behaviour and rehabilitation for those who still find themselves incarcerated, if it is possible. Also identify how to, for those impossible to rehabilitate, options to keep them away from society so society will be safer.
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      Jul 18 2013: Understanding madness of (private prison ownership) is crucial to understanding the barbarity,+ ineffectiveness of the prison system. It extends to the destructive mechanism poisoning our entire government. That is wholesale (Privatization)! Those that are fond of that concept, who think i'm anti business shouldn't make that mistake. Ben Franklin was my hero, an amazing scholar,humorist, the most pragmatic entrepreneur that ever lived. He would have immediately seen the folly in the privatization of (justice) which is after all what we're talking about here. This doesn't mean, that private industry shouldn't play a roll, and make a profit off aspects of the system. Rather we need to understand a crucial point. That is, the collective responsibility, we all share, to (govern all human beings living within our borders, and sphere of influence). We suffer both individually,and collectively from the offenses of convicts. We as individuals, naturally shrink from the horrors, and suffering of crimes, criminals who perpetrate them, even the victims. Sadly it is a task, and a reality that none of us can afford to ignore. The condition of our prison system, and our broken justice system is in our hands, and should remain so. Those who cling to the fantasy that privatization is the panacea for all our woes, are living in a fools sinking paradise. We now have a dangerous, viral, self preserving, hidden world of vast expenditures, + unbelievable barbarity. It is a self replicating nightmare. The (Prison Industrial Complex) costs (U.S.) at least $228,000,000,000 billion dollars per year. Privatization is bankrupting us,+ we are recreating the fearful beasts of our nightmares, by allowing the mindless monetization of human suffering, for victims,and criminals alike, while expanding the madness that often fostered the crime in the first place. We have no choice as a society, and as individuals, but to deal soberly with the horrors directly to feel the weight of our decisions.

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