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Capitalist Jail System

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aeinste1n
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I have been toying around with the idea of a way to make imprisonment a more practical punishment. Currently, prison costs millions of dollars and is more of a punishment for the state than the criminals. Many of whom recive modern comforts.

I have borrowed several ideas from a warden in Arizona named Joe Arpaio. My proposed system would be like this.

First of all, instead of buffing up and raping eachother, the prisoners will be working. This prison will be less like a hotel and more like a sweatshop. I'm not so concerned for the prisoners comfort, but we won't work them to death. In fact, working will be volitional. If you choose not to work, you don't get fed. Just like in the real world. I figure if we sell this labor to buisinesses we could pay for the prison system, we wouldn't need China for labor anymore. How much less would it cost to ship toys halfway overseas and pay meagre wages than to ship toys across town and pay no wages? And if anyone is concerned about the quality of the product, it will be inspected (with extra punishment for faulty work), and besides, it's probably not much safer than toxic baby food, and lead toys from China.

Secondly, instead of punishing criminals to time, we sentence them to an amount of credit to earn. Have something similar to a factory and and apartment, intead of a prison. They can sign up to work as many hours as they choose, and if they work hard enough, they can get promoted to a higher quality job that earns more credit per hour. They can likewise be demoted, or punished with more credit to earn. Another idea is to allow them luxuries like non-crappy food, or better furniture for their cell, etc., in exchange for credit earned. They will stay longer but they have a more comfy time. All this means that the harder they work the sooner they can get out, giving them incentive to maybe put in a few extra hours. I say there is absolutly no better form of rehabilitation, because this is exactly how the world works. They would come out of prison ready to succeed, not strong enough beat people up.

Thirdly, I push for much harsher punishment. If the prisoners work harder they still won't be able to get out for a long time. No more light sentencing. A year or two of manual labor should create some good deterance. And as for life imprisonment, I would not suggest infinite credit to earn, but an exorbantly high amount. One that they might just be able to reach in their last years. Having no chance of freedom would destroy any incentive to work harder.

Now, as for those too old to work. We already have special care for them now anyway. And I doubt it makes much of a difference either way. If you are too old to assemble toys, you are probably too old to murder or steal. Prisoners that are sentenced for a large amount can build up credit and then just do minimal work for the remainder of their stay. (they will still be required to do some work to "pay" for meals)

I have also thought about this system being used as something similar to a volitional debtors prison, to give a job opportunity to the poor, but I am unsure if that would give too much power to the government.

I think this system is far superior to the one we have now. It is more efficient (maybe even profitable), more apt at creating deterrance, and it promotes proper rehabilitation to a capitalistic society.

Are there any kinks with this system? Any problems with its funtionality? Any problems ethically? Any ideas for improvement?

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the prisoners will be working... I figure if we sell this labor to businesses we could pay for the prison system, we wouldn't need China for labor anymore.

The problem with that is that you're setting up an incentive for the government to criminalise more and more things, to jail more and more people on the slightest pretext, in order to get itself more workers and more income. Just as the Chinese government does now, and which is a staple in privatised-prison dystopic novels and movies. The only work that prisoners should be doing is that which is for the maintenance of the prison itself, such as cleaning and maintenance. There should not be any work that generates an income (including in the form of the mitigation of expenses) from supply of value to those outside the prison.

Thirdly, I push for much harsher punishment.

I doubt you'll get much disagreement there. But, the motive for that should not include to get more work out of someone.

I think this system is far superior to the one we have now. It is more efficient (maybe even profitable), more apt at creating deterrance, and it promotes proper rehabilitation to a capitalistic society.

No. That sort of thing will destroy a capitalist society because that will sully capitalism's reputation. "Look, come see where people are convicted of bogus crimes so the government can make money!"

Any ideas for improvement?

I think that the fact that prisons will be expensive per inmate just has to be lived with, where all one can do is lower some of the costs in housing them. The real issue for the problem of the total expense is to minimise the need for jails in the first place, which means having a free society populated predominantly by rationally selfish people.

JJM

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I figure if we sell this labor to buisinesses we could pay for the prison system,

So One Thumb Eddy, on the inside gets a "job" making toys for Mattel for "free", meanwhile Joe six pack goes unemployed because the company would have to pay him a real wage for the value he provides? Sheesh, sounds like it might be better to be a thief, after all... Just like in the real world no one is going to feed Joe if he doesn't have a job either.

You have to remember that prison in a real LFC nation will be reserved for people who actually infringe on the rights of others. So what does that mean?

Murder, Rape, Assault in any form, crimes involving minors, Theft, Fraud, Breach of Contract, treason... there are probably some others I've missed but you are not looking at even a tenth of the government constructed "crimes" we have today.

According to this article 24.7% of inmates in US prisons are there for drug crimes. There goes 25% of your cost... How many other non-crimes are clogging up the current system and making so much more expensive than it would be?

Yes, prison should suck, and hard, but I don't believe that prisoners should be taking any form of productive work away from citizens on the outside. I personally don't care if they dig a hole and fill it in every day like Cool Hand Luke, but if you made the prison a self contained community, responsible for producing most of the things it needs (food, furniture, clothing etc) you could probably gainfully employ all the prisoners with the necessities of their own lives and not take anything from anyone on the outside.

I'm not opposed to rehabilitation either, education and overcoming addiction should be the main focus of any prison rehab.

So you divide the prisoners time between hard labour and those rehabilitative programs. You could even have a merit system in which prisoners could rise to be nominally in charge of prisoners (with very close supervision) to teach leadership and management.

So the prisoner wakes up at dawn, works for 8 hours hard labour in the fields or what have you and then puts in another 8 in education/rehab. If you have them working in 2 rotating shifts you have someone doing the labour for 16 hours a day. 6/8 hours for sleep and you are right back at it again.

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Since you didn't specify any context other than "here and now", there are substantial reasons not to do this, as others have noted. It provides an incentive for the state to initiate force against citizens so as to provide slave labor that can be a revenue stream for the welfare state. It worsens the profound injustice against the majority of prisoners who are imprisoned unjustly. It also provides an incentive to "get tough" and create a system of disproportional punishments by increasing the threshold for imprisonment (e.g. parking tickets could result in prison terms). It moves the government even further from its proper function. The high costs of prison are a consequence of our utterly misguided criminal and penal systems, and actions that evade those consequences are at their root immoral (as evasion is, in general): any scheme that deliberately ignores the negative consequences of evil actions is an evil scheme.

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If we wouldn't arrest every drug dealer and user we can get our hands on, the prison system would be doing just fine. It is of course expensive to keep someone in secure imprisonment, but I don't see how we could significantly change that.

I doubt having them moved around, or having a lot of material shipped daily in and out of secure prisons, just to have them perform menial tasks, would even be cost effective, let alone pay for everything.

I want to also add, for what its worth, that I remember thinking Joe Arpaio is a scumbag, when I heard him interviewed. The one thing I remember especially infuriated me is his attitude toward the people serving drug related sentences. I wish I had a source, for more details, but I don't remember where it was.

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I have been toying around with the idea of a way to make imprisonment a more practical punishment. Currently, prison costs millions of dollars and is more of a punishment for the state than the criminals. Many of whom recive modern comforts.

As I wrote here, I don't think there is any moral basis for punishing or jailing criminals at all. Offenders should be forced to provide restitution to their victims and sent on their way. The only justification for a detention center is for cases where the only practical way to extract restitution from the criminal is to gather them in a work house. Offenders who refuse to work or provide restitution should either be exiled or (if they return or commit a major offense) be summarily executed.

Edited by GreedyCapitalist
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As I wrote here, I don't think there is any moral basis for punishing or jailing criminals at all. Offenders should be forced to provide restitution to their victims and sent on their way. The only justification for a detention center is for cases where the only practical way to extract restitution from the criminal is to gather them in a work house. Offenders who refuse to work or provide restitution should either be exiled or (if they return or commit a major offense) be summarily executed.

The important thing to keep in mind regarding punishing those who initiate force or fraud is that the initiated force or fraud. For doing that, they need to be punished, dependent upon the seriousness of their offense. Locking up prisoners for the initiation of force or fraud is banishment -- banishment from society and from freedom. I do agree, however, that providing restitution should be involved insofar as the criminal is able to provide restitution, but I think that is insufficient, especially for repeat offenders. In a society of freedom, so long as one does not initiate force or fraud one ought to be free from coercion. The criminal who violates this is choosing to live in a society where the initiation of force is OK, so there is nothing wrong with using force against him to punish him.

Besides, for some crimes, how would one convert the crime into dollars? Let's say someone was murdered or severely crippled, how would one put a price tag on someone's life and tell the perpetrator that since you did this you can pay the fine and restitution, and then you, too, can be free. They effectively took away someone's life and they ought to lose their freedom. What about something like rape, which can effect a woman for the rest of her life, can the criminal merely pay for her psychological bills and go on his way? Doesn't this open the door for anyone who has money to do what he pleases in violating rights so long as he pays the victim?

The purpose of jails is to keep society safe from the initiation of force or fraud; if you violate that premise of freedom, then you ought to lose yours. It's as simple as that.

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I want to also add, for what its worth, that I remember thinking Joe Arpaio is a scumbag, when I heard him interviewed. The one thing I remember especially infuriated me is his attitude toward the people serving drug related sentences. I wish I had a source, for more details, but I don't remember where it was.

Yes, he is. He is drunk on power and seems to have no problem with police-state tactics. Definitely not someone to be looked to as a model of good policing.

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As I wrote here, I don't think there is any moral basis for punishing or jailing criminals at all. Offenders should be forced to provide restitution to their victims and sent on their way. The only justification for a detention center is for cases where the only practical way to extract restitution from the criminal is to gather them in a work house. Offenders who refuse to work or provide restitution should either be exiled or (if they return or commit a major offense) be summarily executed.

I really don't see how this paying restitution could be applied to violent crime. What exactly is the right objective amount of cash for rape? How much is the mobility of the man crippled by a drunk driver worth?

My answer is simple. There is no price high enough to return that which can not be bought.

Crime begets punishment. Any person who violates the right to life (and limb) has opened the way for another, legally the state to violate his rights in response to the crime. Since we are a moral society, since we are enlightened, we do not take an eye for an eye, we will not castrate the rapist but we will take his liberty, his right to live his life as he sees fit, even if only for a specific period of time.

For purely monetary crimes I would accept restitution and compensation, but not for the rest.

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I really don't see how this paying restitution could be applied to violent crime. What exactly is the right objective amount of cash for rape? How much is the mobility of the man crippled by a drunk driver worth?
Are you suggesting that the concept of "crime" be expanded to eliminate all civil liability and making e.g. injuring a person through negligence be a crime? Or are you suggesting that since it's not clear what price to put on a hand, that compensation for injuries should not be allowed? (BTW, in New Jersey, the answer is 2/3 of the victim's average wage over 200 weeks). If you object to judging the facts of damage caused by a person in the case of a crime on the grounds that it's not self-evident what the dollar amount should be, presumably you would have to object to compensation in civil suits where the same question has to be asked.

The answer to your question is part of legal science.

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I have been toying around with the idea of a way to make imprisonment a more practical punishment. Currently, prison costs millions of dollars and is more of a punishment for the state than the criminals. Many of whom recive modern comforts.

I have borrowed several ideas from a warden in Arizona named Joe Arpaio. My proposed system would be like this.

First of all, instead of buffing up and raping eachother, the prisoners will be working. This prison will be less like a hotel and more like a sweatshop. I'm not so concerned for the prisoners comfort, but we won't work them to death. In fact, working will be volitional. If you choose not to work, you don't get fed. Just like in the real world. I figure if we sell this labor to buisinesses we could pay for the prison system, we wouldn't need China for labor anymore. How much less would it cost to ship toys halfway overseas and pay meagre wages than to ship toys across town and pay no wages? And if anyone is concerned about the quality of the product, it will be inspected (with extra punishment for faulty work), and besides, it's probably not much safer than toxic baby food, and lead toys from China.

Secondly, instead of punishing criminals to time, we sentence them to an amount of credit to earn. Have something similar to a factory and and apartment, intead of a prison. They can sign up to work as many hours as they choose, and if they work hard enough, they can get promoted to a higher quality job that earns more credit per hour. They can likewise be demoted, or punished with more credit to earn. Another idea is to allow them luxuries like non-crappy food, or better furniture for their cell, etc., in exchange for credit earned. They will stay longer but they have a more comfy time. All this means that the harder they work the sooner they can get out, giving them incentive to maybe put in a few extra hours. I say there is absolutly no better form of rehabilitation, because this is exactly how the world works. They would come out of prison ready to succeed, not strong enough beat people up.

Thirdly, I push for much harsher punishment. If the prisoners work harder they still won't be able to get out for a long time. No more light sentencing. A year or two of manual labor should create some good deterance. And as for life imprisonment, I would not suggest infinite credit to earn, but an exorbantly high amount. One that they might just be able to reach in their last years. Having no chance of freedom would destroy any incentive to work harder.

Now, as for those too old to work. We already have special care for them now anyway. And I doubt it makes much of a difference either way. If you are too old to assemble toys, you are probably too old to murder or steal. Prisoners that are sentenced for a large amount can build up credit and then just do minimal work for the remainder of their stay. (they will still be required to do some work to "pay" for meals)

I have also thought about this system being used as something similar to a volitional debtors prison, to give a job opportunity to the poor, but I am unsure if that would give too much power to the government.

I think this system is far superior to the one we have now. It is more efficient (maybe even profitable), more apt at creating deterrance, and it promotes proper rehabilitation to a capitalistic society.

Are there any kinks with this system? Any problems with its funtionality? Any problems ethically? Any ideas for improvement?

The Roman Empire called that Slavery. It was tried at Auchwitz later. The employers mostly ended up in jail themselves for their pains, if not dead.

I wouldn't advise going that route. Officially slavery has been abolished.

Teresa

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I really don't see how this paying restitution could be applied to violent crime. What exactly is the right objective amount of cash for rape? How much is the mobility of the man crippled by a drunk driver worth?

My answer is simple. There is no price high enough to return that which can not be bought.

Crime begets punishment. Any person who violates the right to life (and limb) has opened the way for another, legally the state to violate his rights in response to the crime. Since we are a moral society, since we are enlightened, we do not take an eye for an eye, we will not castrate the rapist but we will take his liberty, his right to live his life as he sees fit, even if only for a specific period of time.

For purely monetary crimes I would accept restitution and compensation, but not for the rest.

Actually, if there were a set amount, say $50,000 for lesser crime and $500,000 for more serious crime, a large portion of that money which is paid by the employer would not be paid to the prisoner but instead paid to the victim on his behalf. The criminal would have to work for those years of his sentence, paying for his keep and paying to compensate the victim. At least when people get out of jail they'd have marketable skills AND they'd have a clean slate (i.e., not owe the victim any more money). It would improve the recidivist rate, I reckon. But also there would be a way to compensate victims.

If you translate sentences into monetary values you come up with a number of years it takes the person to pay the amount. There could be a combination of minimum time to serve as well as monetary amount - as in you can't buy your way out of a minimum sentence. I think we probably mostly already have a sentencing structure that makes sense but it might have to be tweaked.

The ability of people to earn more money is a function of them learning what it really takes to be a rational human being. Why not make an incentive to improve oneself? To rehabilitate oneself?

Prison isn't working to rehabilitate anyone because the society in which we are living is its own kind of prison anyway.

Prison would serve us better if it was used to both educate and punish in a way that helps the person BECOME a better person because it is in his self-interest to do so. If someone who is sentenced to 10 years is able to study, work a job, and improve his qualifications so that he can get a better job (even thru the prison system) he can actually become someone who is productive. At the same time, being able to earn the means to pay for their keep and to compensate victims is a better use of the system.

There is way too much emphasis in prison at present on getting people hooked on religion as a way to show repentence. That's a crock, as we know.

I think fewer people would turn to crime if working for a living legitimately weren't being treated as poorly as it is. But for prison itself to be a worthwhile endeavor on many levels, we need to have rights as individuals NOW - to live our lives as we see fit and not be treated like children or incapable persons for our entire lives.

Edited by AllMenAreIslands
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Are you suggesting that the concept of "crime" be expanded to eliminate all civil liability and making e.g. injuring a person through negligence be a crime? Or are you suggesting that since it's not clear what price to put on a hand, that compensation for injuries should not be allowed? (BTW, in New Jersey, the answer is 2/3 of the victim's average wage over 200 weeks). If you object to judging the facts of damage caused by a person in the case of a crime on the grounds that it's not self-evident what the dollar amount should be, presumably you would have to object to compensation in civil suits where the same question has to be asked.

The answer to your question is part of legal science.

No I'm saying that cash based restitution for violent crime does not adequately atone for the loss of a person who is raped, or the family that looses one of its members.

I believe in punishment, if you reduce crime to a cash transaction then someone like Bill Gates could conceivably violate another persons rights and merely have to pay some specific cash penalty for his crime. Would you call that justice?

There is nothing wrong with wanting to see someone pay with the loss of their liberty or even their life if that person has done the same.

I have no problem with the inclusion of cash settlements but, again, for violent crime something more dear than cash should be forfeit.

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What crime was Bill Gates accused of in the first place?

I agree with you, Zip - a cash settlement should not be the only restitution. But it could and should form PART of the restitution.

In order for any system to work, crimes need to be rationally defined. THat's one of the main problems at the moment - rational action is being cast as the criminal act, while criminal actions have been sanctioned and are being legally done, by the government itself most of all.

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What crime was Bill Gates accused of in the first place?
I think his words "someone like Bill Gates could conceivably" indicates that this is about a possible crime, not an actual one, and the violator might be someone with massive wealth, thus not at all effected by any objective system of monetary penalties -- except one expressing the penalty as a portion of a man's total wealth.
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-- except one expressing the penalty as a portion of a man's total wealth.

Except my point is that I reject the notion that ANY cash payment by itself can serve as punishment for a violent crime in which an individuals right to life or liberty are violated.

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Except my point is that I reject the notion that ANY cash payment by itself can serve as punishment for a violent crime in which an individuals right to life or liberty are violated.

True, by itself a cash payment cannot serve as punishment. But I think there's a definite role for cash payments to play in the whole structure of punishments.

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Except my point is that I reject the notion that ANY cash payment by itself can serve as punishment for a violent crime in which an individuals right to life or liberty are violated.
Uh huh, and the ostensive "suppose Bill Gates..." rationale for not having purely monetary punishment would not be valid if the penalty was not absolute dollars but percentage of individual wealth. You can still reject monetary-only punishments, but you need a justification, and I don't see what the justification is.I was only addressing Islan's assumption that you thought Gates had committed a crime.
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Uh huh, and the ostensive "suppose Bill Gates..." rationale for not having purely monetary punishment would not be valid if the penalty was not absolute dollars but percentage of individual wealth.

This I take as meaning that you think that taking a percentage of Microsoft is different from taking a cash payout. I don't think it is, one form of cash versus another, that's all you have proposed.

You can still reject monetary-only punishments, but you need a justification, and I don't see what the justification is.

Cases like this are my justification. Here you are as likely to get blood from a stone as you are to get adequate financial compensation for this heinous crime out of Samantha Kematch, and the stepfather, Karl Wesley McKay. They beat this poor child for years, her entire life really and finally killed her, wrapped her in plastic and dumped her body in an unmarked grave.

So what's the price we should attach to this crime? Show me a calculation that comes anywhere near to compensating the other members of this girls family or the foster parents that had previously looked after her, for the years of torture, the absolute and total theft of her individual rights and in the end the cost of her life.

The fact that these criminals are absolutely financially destitute is a mere aside. If the richest man on the planet did the same to his child I would not accept that a great cash and cars giveaway would ever be adequate compensation for such a violation of rights. You could make the man a pauper and it would not be enough.

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This I take as meaning that you think that taking a percentage of Microsoft is different from taking a cash payout. I don't think it is, one form of cash versus another, that's all you have proposed.
No, what I said was intended to point out the invalidity of the statement you made earlier -- "if you reduce crime to a cash transaction then someone like Bill Gates could conceivably violate another persons rights and merely have to pay some specific cash penalty for his crime. Would you call that justice?". Your implication is that a fine even of $20,000 would be a pittance for someone with Gates' wealth. True, but that just shows that absolute dollar amounts as opposed to percentages allow for absurd punishments.
Cases like this are my justification.
How would this be relevant to the case of a crime where monetary punishment would be possible?
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I agree that some things done as crimes cannot be paid for via money. What if some masochist won the lottery, and then went around breaking people's legs, paying them, I don't know, maybe $5,000 each. Would that compensate them? And should he be free to go about his business so long as he paid the monetary price? The thing is that the victims did not decide ahead of time how much to be paid for having their legs broken, and just charging a fee would be like making it a contract after the fact -- a contract the victims did not agree to.

I would suggest not letting non-objective laws persuade one that jails are not necessary; just as one should not let non-objective laws persuade one that governments are inherently bad and that government ought to be abolished. Governments ought to be there to protect the rights of the individual, and sometimes that will require taking some violent people off the streets for a long time.

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