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Redefine the term "rehabilitation" in context of prison

The way I understand it, prisons are established for three reasons. 1. Deterrance: fear of getting caught keeps people from committing crime. 2) segregation: Keep people who have harmed others from doing it again. 3) Rehabilitation: the idea that the criminal will change in some way so to not break the law again.

I think the idea of deterrance is good. I also believe deparating criminals is a good idea, but ONLY if they endanger others. I do not believe the current prison system is concerned with rehabilitation. The term needs to be dropped, redefined, or removed. If anything, the prison does worse than rehabilitate.

Thoughts?

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  • Feb 17 2014: I am glad to see so many differing viewpoints. I should say that I do not consider myself a liberal or socialist, but I also hate capitalism and believe that it spirals out of control without constant, effective checks in place. I can say that for-profit prisons seem criminal in themselves. I got a few glimpses into that dimension through Vonnegut. The statistics here are plain and undeniable. Our system is broken. Maybe we need new language. Most people don't like to hire people who have been to prison, not beca use they have committed a crime-nobody's perfect-but because they have been (to borrow from an above contributor) "poisoned." Since they have been in prison, they are contaminated. As though serving time is more degrading than comitting the crime. Justice, then, is a corrupting agent. Terms like "rehabilitation" are condescending and distance prisoners from society. But if policing were perfect, and each truly had to face reckoning, who would run the prison? There would be noone left outside the gates!

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