TED Conversations

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

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?

+4
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Feb 18 2014: I think the number one, biggest problem is that we treat drug addiction as a crime rather than as a mental disease.

    You cannot "fix" a drug addict by locking them up for a few days/weeks/months.

    A drug addict will do whatever it takes to get the money needed for their next dose: theft and prostitution are the two big ones that come to mind.

    Putting them in jail for the petty crimes may prevent them from committing crimes for the duration of the incarceration, but as soon as they get out they are back on drugs and back committing crime. It is doomed to be a revolving door.

    That said, I do not know the solution.

    You cannot help a drug addict unless they really, really, really want help, and most do not.

    Attempts to go after the dealers has resulted in increased price of drugs, creating crime on both sides of the transaction as dealers fight for the distribution territories and addicts have to commit even more crime to buy drugs.


    The war on drugs has been an unmitigated, total failure. It has not reduced drug use and has actually increased the amount of crime associated with drugs.

    But what would work better? I fear the answer is to de-criminalize, let prices fall, and just accept that a certain portion of the population is going to destroy their lives via drug addiction.
    • thumb
      Feb 18 2014: I do not perceive drug addiction being treated as a crime Darrell. Many drug addicts are selling, and that is what gets them a spot in jail. Also, as you insightfully point out, a drug addict will do whatever it takes to get the money needed for a "fix". Often, drug addicts are incarcerated for theft, B&E, assault, robbery, etc.

      You're right....it's a revolving door.
      • Feb 19 2014: Drug addiction is a neurobiological disorder with a strong behavioral element. That being said, a large "natural study" has shown that many traditional professional assumptions about drug addiction could very well be flat-out wrong. This large "natural study" is the USA's involvement in the Viet Nam War. The level of hard drug use by American soldiers in the Viet Nam theater was amazingly high (it can be looked up). What was astonishing is that the vast majority of these people cleaned up and stayed sober once they were permanently removed from that environment. In essence, they were living inside a mental septic tank, and moving them to clean surroundings let most of them clear the disease.

        Now, how do we permanently remove people from the home-grown environments that spawn and perpetuate this disease? How do we do so in a way that doesn't violate various legal, moral, and philosophical principles? Remove the environment from the people? Who pays, and how?

        Don't know, just asking.
        • thumb
          Feb 19 2014: I am aware that drug use in Viet Nam was high Bryan, and I'm not so sure how many "cleaned up" after leaving that environment.

          I don't know for sure either Bryan....wish I did!

          I suggest, however, that it would not be very beneficial to simply remove people from their environments. It might be beneficial to give people the tools that might help them make their own good choices.
      • Feb 19 2014: That would fall under removing the environment from the people.
        • thumb
          Feb 19 2014: In my perception, it would fall exactly as I wrote..."It might be beneficial to give people the tools that might help them make their own good choices".
      • Feb 19 2014: Colleen

        Indeed " it would not be very beneficial to simply remove people from their environments"
        It would be very beneficial to give people the tools that help them their environments be good for them and others by helping each make their own good choices.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.