Fear of going there prevents crime. Rehabilitation while there reduces further crimes… in an ideal world.
What has occurred in the last five years to make you think we live in an ideal world?
Prisons are often places for criminals to network and learn how to up their game. A 2016 survey found that even victims of violent crimes see prisons as ineffectual and harmful, and the majority want to reduce minimum sentencing requirements.
Prison also disproportionately affects those who are living with mental illnesses and those who have been victims of violent crimes themselves. Race, age, and economic status all impact sentencing in unfair ways.
Too many people who have slaughtered thousands of innocent people got away with it entirely.
So why do we still send people to prison for years?
Prison is not entirely without merit. Just as in the “real world”, what prison does is up to the person themselves. You are free to choose who you socialize with, what you do, what you learn, and your attitude. Psychologist Dr. Stanton E. Samenow participated in one of the longest running studies of criminal offenders in North America. He found that it was up to the offender:
“In short, just as he did in the free world, an inmate chooses the people with whom he develops close associations. He makes decisions about the type of person he wants to be. He decides what temptations he will resist. By no means is it inevitable that he will become a more hardened criminal or a more dangerous person because he is serving a sentence in a correctional institution.”
If you’re a normal person who made some bad choices, you might find prison helps (not counting the subsequent stigma of having served time). So, what makes the difference?
A psychopath has a lack of empathy, guilt, and remorse. They are irresponsible and impulsive. All of these qualities point toward a life of crime. While not all psychopaths become criminals, in the United States, 16% of adult males in the prison system are psychopaths which accounts for 93% of adult male psychopaths.
(Side note: that means there are 7% of male psychopaths walking around the United States but since only 1% of males are psychopaths to begin with… take your new girlfriend’s conviction that all her exes were psychopaths…)
If you went to prison…
The odds of you meeting, sharing a cell with, and possibly befriending a psychopath are 1-2 in 10.
If you are not, in fact, a psychopath yourself, then you could very well keep your head down, serve your time, and get out no worse a criminal than you were before you went in.
If you are a psychopath (and who can be sure they’re not?) or you aren’t inclined to change your ways, you can meet up with another psychopath and plot some truly terrible stuff.
If you’ve got some truly terrible stuff you want to do… maybe go to prison and find some help.
That’s just what happens in the next installment of Clown Conpsiracy…
What do you think about prison? Let me know in the comments.