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Crime and punishment


Walsingham

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We had a discussion a while back about crime, punishment and reoffending a while back, but we didn't have great figures to work with, and it came down to figures in the balance of what was appropriate.

 

Recently released figures

 

Overall, some 79,547 new offences were committed by criminals who finished their sentence in the first three months of 2009. Of those who were released from prison, some 49 per cent went back to crime, while among all the offenders, 39 per cent reoffended. Both figures were down slightly on the previous year.

 

This seems far too high to my mind. Indeed, the concept of rehabilitation as it stands seems completely incorrect.

A report in November found that the majority of offenders never give up a life of crime despite punishment.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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When New York finally collapses into a lawless wilderness we can turn it into a giant penitentiary. Recidivist criminals can be imprisoned there in a dystopian society based on their values of avarice and brutality. Just don't crash your survival capsule in Manhattan, FFS.

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Well what do you expect after 20 years in a violent prison? That they would go out and be gas pumpers?

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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Well what do you expect after 20 years in a violent prison? That they would go out and be gas pumpers?

 

UK prisons aren't the Playstation-and-satellite-TV nirvanas the tabloids portray* but neither are they Escape from New York. They are grim, undoubtedly. I know this mainly because I had to visit a friend who found himself in a Category 'C' prison.

 

 

 

* We leave that to the Scandies.

Edited by Monte Carlo

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Well what do you expect after 20 years in a violent prison? That they would go out and be gas pumpers?

 

UK prisons aren't the Playstation-and-satellite-TV nirvanas the tabloids portray* but neither are they Escape from New York. They are grim, undoubtedly. I know this mainly because I had to visit a friend who found himself in a Category 'C' prison.

 

 

 

* We leave that to the Scandies.

Even if they weren't violent that's a long time for your life to stagnate and once you get out there is an immense social stigma. I guess some people figure that they can do better by themselves with a life of crime.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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Well what do you expect after 20 years in a violent prison? That they would go out and be gas pumpers?

 

UK prisons aren't the Playstation-and-satellite-TV nirvanas the tabloids portray* but neither are they Escape from New York. They are grim, undoubtedly. I know this mainly because I had to visit a friend who found himself in a Category 'C' prison.

 

* We leave that to the Scandies.

 

Apparently our system works?

 

Rank

United States: 715 per 100,000 people

UK: 143 people per 100,000

Sweden: 75 per 100,000 people

Denmark: 72 per 100,000 people

Norway: 64 per 100,000 people

 

link - uk data.

 

But seriously - we have the same problem - luckily for us, in regards to criminality, our culture is so homogeneous that crime tends to be a social stigmata.

 

I've worked in a rehabilitation institution as some of you might recall - where people were send when they needed psychiatric help, but weren't messed up enough to get into a psych ward.. We had a lot of violent people, yet after about an average of 5-6 years, a lot of them were usually able to go back out into society, keep a job and even get an education. I'm still in touch with a few of them and a girl (who had done some burglaries and drug trafficking) has completely turned her life around and is now on her way to becoming a teacher. Another is a busdriver in Copenhagen (he used to mug people and even kidnapped a family by mistake when he needed an escape vehicle) - now the normal thought here is "why does that guy deserve a break?" but I think that system worked very well as a supplement to jail, if they didn't follow our rules they would have to serve time, which proved to be a good motivator. And now they are actually paying taxes instead of costing millions and doing nothing.

Fortune favors the bald.

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But seriously - we have the same problem - luckily for us, in regards to criminality, our culture is so homogeneous that crime tends to be a social stigmata.

 

I've worked in a rehabilitation institution as some of you might recall - where people were send when they needed psychiatric help, but weren't messed up enough to get into a psych ward.. We had a lot of violent people, yet after about an average of 5-6 years, a lot of them were usually able to go back out into society, keep a job and even get an education. I'm still in touch with a few of them and a girl (who had done some burglaries and drug trafficking) has completely turned her life around and is now on her way to becoming a teacher. Another is a busdriver in Copenhagen (he used to mug people and even kidnapped a family by mistake when he needed an escape vehicle) - now the normal thought here is "why does that guy deserve a break?" but I think that system worked very well as a supplement to jail, if they didn't follow our rules they would have to serve time, which proved to be a good motivator. And now they are actually paying taxes instead of costing millions and doing nothing.

You can't argue with results, I would be actually interested to know more about that system. Does it have a name or would you relate your experiences a bit more?

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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My dictionary translated the word "udslusningshjem" to "halfway house".. after a quick google search that term seems to be correct.

 

The purpose of a halfway house, also called a recovery house or sober house, is generally to allow people to begin the process of reintegration with society, while still providing monitoring and support; this is generally believed to reduce the risk of recidivism or relapse when compared to a release directly into society. Some halfway houses are meant solely for reintegration of persons who have been recently released from prison or jail, others are meant for people with chronic mental health disorders, and most others are for people with substance abuse issues.

 

The one I worked with was generally people who came from violent homes and usually with drug abuse. There haven't been done any real research (so far it's all anecdotal) on whether or not this works. I can only account for what happened when I was there.

 

The general idea was however to find the root of the problem and deal with that, every pedagogue/employee either had or was given courses to help them recognize drug abuse, depression, some mental disorders etc. So when a problem occured (and they did - a lot) we we have a better idea how to respond ie. whether to send them to a shrink, put them on medication etc. But most importantly, the employees understood that most of these guys have never had a positive rolemodel, they've been beaten, kicked around and abused so many times that they've learned how to survive no matter what .. that needs to be "un-learned" before any real progress can happen. They need to trust again and to do that you need a system that works for them, not against them.

Fortune favors the bald.

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I didn't know that the Daily Fail had bought the Telegraph.co.uk domain. A bit cheeky, people might mistake them for a respectable newspaper. That sort of article makes me grind my teeth and lament the Decline of Journalism.

 

New study shows that 61% of those convicted don't reoffend. Can't run with that, let's go with:

 

CRIME SCHOOLS RAMPAGING HORDES OF CRIMINALS ROAMING THE STREETS ITZ COMING BABYMEAT DIET FLEE TO THE BUNKER IN AUSTRALIA HOPE THE FLAMETHROWER DEFENCES HOLD HELP I'VE BURST MY BRIAN

 

To actually contribute something constructive: New Zealand figures from 2009. Most of the text can be readily skipped. There are 2003 figures available also.

Edited by Zoraptor
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snip

 

Major differences in our cultures there, our halfway houses are not the the first stop but the last. I guess that the social stigma of prison doesn't deter some people and does less for the violent youth. Which in my experience are more vicious than their older counterparts.

I guess those programs wouldn't have much result here in the US because of this.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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I didn't know that the Daily Fail had bought the Telegraph.co.uk domain. A bit cheeky, people might mistake them for a respectable newspaper. That sort of article makes me grind my teeth and lament the Decline of Journalism.

 

New study shows that 61% of those convicted don't reoffend. Can't run with that, let's go with:

 

CRIME SCHOOLS RAMPAGING HORDES OF CRIMINALS ROAMING THE STREETS ITZ COMING BABYMEAT DIET FLEE TO THE BUNKER IN AUSTRALIA HOPE THE FLAMETHROWER DEFENCES HOLD HELP I'VE BURST MY BRIAN

 

To actually contribute something constructive: New Zealand figures from 2009. Most of the text can be readily skipped. There are 2003 figures available also.

 

Firstly, this is a discussion about the UK system, not the NZ or even Norwegian system.

 

Secondly I haven't said - at least not in this thread - that the solution is more draconian measures.

 

Thirdly, even if 61% don't reoffend, and I don't see that anywhere in the article (the article only talks about immediate reoffending). The point is that the current percentage reoffending violently is quite high enough to be reasonably seen as too damn high. Not to mention the apparent upward trend in the figures.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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1) You didn't put a notice saying that discussion of anything outside the UK is verboten

2) No mention of more severe punishment was made (by anyone at all, so far as I can see)

3) The conclusion can be drawn that if 39% reoffend then the remaining 61% don't. It's an implied figure based on the knowledge that a percent is a number out of 100 and reoffending/ not reoffending is a binary principle- you cannot partially reoffend, you either do (39%) or do not (100-39=61%). It's also based on the knowledge that if there's an option that implies the world is ending and one that doesn't the one that gets used is the shock horror one.

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I haven't explained myself very well.

 

1) I mean that crime and punishment are inseparable from culture and economy. Bringing in outside examples can be interesting, but also (potentially) grossly misleading.

 

2) My point here was that the message in other countries seems to suggest that rehabilitation CAN work. My point was that it isn't in this country. My instinct is that we have faield because we neither rehabilitate NOR protectively incarcerate.

 

You missed my much clearer point 3, getting distracted by the inverse ratio question. The point here is what level of reoffending is acceptable. My line is that 39% reoffending involving violence and sexual violence is completely unacceptable. It means we are releasing people to commit crimes, and completely innocent people are suffering. If that fails to bother you I suggest you have in turn spent too much time in your own head and not enough time on the street.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Think of it this way: the fundamentals about crime/ punishment/ rehabilitation is that you cannot tell with certainty who is going to offend (though you can assess risk factors) and you cannot tell with certainty who is going to reoffend. Is there a way to ensure people don't reoffend, apart from throwing them in jail permanently? If no then you have to accept the corollary to further incarceration or punishment reducing reoffending- a lot of people who won't reoffend will end up spending more time in jail which costs money and time they could use constructively, and if they aren't going to reoffend that has no point beyond being able to say "tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime". Or in other words I see no reason to focus solely on the bad 39% when there is a corresponding and larger 61% where the system seems to have actually worked.

 

I don't worry about being shanked on the street by a released prisoner who wants to nick my wallet for the same reason I don't worry about being run over by a car/ struck by lightning/ hit by a meteor/ blown up by terrorists. There's no point worrying about it, if it happens it happens. I'd be somewhat peeved if it happens but not significantly more so than if it were a psychiatric patient or Joe Random having a bad day as opposed to an ex con.

Edited by Zoraptor
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You've been pretty civilised in your reply, so I'll refrain from calling you deranged. >_<

 

1. Not worrying about being stabbed sounds fine until you've been stabbed. I've been stabbed, however inexpertly. Ditto shot at.

 

2. I don't mind taking my chances with people who haven't stabbed anyone before, but contending with all the ones who we know will o around stabbing people is perverse.

 

3. One way we seem to diverge is on the notion that you can predict who is going to reoffend. You say you can't. I say you can. Anecdotally to myself and to the press police and prison officials are saying we are releasing people who are known to be seriously violent (either physically or sexually), and pretty much crossing our fingers.

 

4. If a hospital released patients with serious communicable diseases to the tune of more than 30% we'd want to know what the **** they were playing at.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Don't get any funny ideas about fundamental changes of heart, but I found this article about how teaching prisoners to write can help reoffending rates.

 

What this suggests to me (by informed guesswork as much as anything) is that compulsive criminals lack metacognitive skills, which writing helps develop. That is 'thinking about thinking'.

 

I need to reiterate, though, that I don't give a **** how we stop people reoffending. They can have a hug a day for all I care. But I find the reoffending rates far too high.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Don't get any funny ideas about fundamental changes of heart, but I found this article about how teaching prisoners to write can help reoffending rates.

 

What this suggests to me (by informed guesswork as much as anything) is that compulsive criminals lack metacognitive skills, which writing helps develop. That is 'thinking about thinking'.

 

I need to reiterate, though, that I don't give a **** how we stop people reoffending. They can have a hug a day for all I care. But I find the reoffending rates far too high.

I gotta say that's all fine but rehabilitating prisoners is like rehabilitating addicts, if the environmental factors that led to the addiction in the first place are not acknowledged there is a risk of remission. Without surroundings to cradle and support this newfound world view i'm afraid that a lot of criminals will just go back to their old ways.

 

Maybe we should go back to heads on pikes, that always worked.

Edited by Orogun01
I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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For some people there will drivers to offending. But I would balance the expense of tackling someone who is an offender with the expense of tackling someone who isn't YET an offender. Efforts to rehabilitate offenders - which are often unsuccessful* - cost ten times what it would cost to intervene with vulnerable children.

 

*A friend's husband works specifically with offending youths so I am not just talking out of my arse here.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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For some people there will drivers to offending. But I would balance the expense of tackling someone who is an offender with the expense of tackling someone who isn't YET an offender. Efforts to rehabilitate offenders - which are often unsuccessful* - cost ten times what it would cost to intervene with vulnerable children.

 

*A friend's husband works specifically with offending youths so I am not just talking out of my arse here.

From what I understand those programs can only go so far in providing for youth in terms of opportunities, I know a few people involved in such programs that feel that way. Biggest problem with said strategy is how to create the incentive for youth to attend. One thing I remember is a similar effort made back in Cuba, there was a special set of schools that targeted 18+ youth that had dropped out of school. The incentive was that they would be paid to attend school, a meagerly sum but it was only a few hours classes a day. Most went because it was easy money and kept them out the military service, which they were all trying to dodge.

 

Wish we could implement something like that here, but I already hear the cries of "Communist" "He is trying to turn this country into a socialist cesspool" or some teabagger crazy like that.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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The kids my friend works with are onliged to attend because they are convicted offenders. He does help people who do change, but he equally laments having to spend vast amounts of time one-on-one with individuals who are completely lost causes when we all know that kids in normal education have to put up with huge class sizes. His assessment was that you could have ten vulnerable but not yet broken kids receiving regular pastoral care for the same price of one kid who's completely mental already.

 

Assuming that metric is true, and even if you allow for the notion that the mentalist can be made better, the numbers just don't add up.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Interesting case in point.

 

Youths removed from area of event, with trip to seaside, to avoid them joining trouble = cunning = me happy.

 

Youths going on to commit violence anyway = my point.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Interesting case in point.

 

Youths removed from area of event, with trip to seaside, to avoid them joining trouble = cunning = me happy.

 

Youths going on to commit violence anyway = my point.

Environmental factors extend to the company one keeps, you take a youth gang to another place and they are still gonna act as a gang. Maybe what we need is a more in-depth study of how environment can turn someone into crime, has there been a study like that. The only one I know is the infamous "Zimbardo experiment".

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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Agree with you 100% about the gang influence. I think more needs to be done to isolate and neutralise (not that kind of neutralise) gang leaders. Because one character can drag a whole mob of simple halfwits into crime.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Agree with you 100% about the gang influence. I think more needs to be done to isolate and neutralise (not that kind of neutralise) gang leaders. Because one character can drag a whole mob of simple halfwits into crime.

Personally I think that the same should be extended to the saner elements of the gang, those that are salvageable human beings. Maybe I'm wrong in thinking that economy factors into this behavior but; are most of these gangs from low income environments? If so there should be outreach programs targeting those areas.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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