Sending Someone to Prison for an Extended Period of Time, Does Nothing To Rehabilitate Them.

in life •  2 years ago

I recently saw in the news that a Georgia couple, Joe Tores and Kayla Norton were sentenced to 13 years and 6 years in prison respectively for making racist threats and driving past an African American child’s birthday party with trucks weaving confederate flags. They shouted racist insults at party goes and ultimately were captured on camera which helped to convict them. The problem here is while I wholeheartedly believe these people are huge pieces of human garbage, at what point do we question if the punishment fits the crime? Part of what is supposed to make America great is that even the worst of the worst people are given fair representation and a fair trial/sentence. This incident only adds to other recent incidents where people are being jailed for much longer periods of time than they should be.

There is a culture in America for jailing people up for long periods of time, despite whether or not they really deserve the sentence they received. I have seen rapists and murders get less time than what this Georgia couple ended up getting, is this right? They are ignorant racists and part of a white supremacy gang outside of prison, what do you think is going to happen inside of prison? Is 13 years going to magically make them see their ways and become rehabilitated? No, in all likeliness the second they go to prison, they are going to group up with a white supremacist gang and ultimately become bigger monsters when they get out.

The heart of the problem is rather than dealing with troubled people in intelligent ways, we lock them up for a long period of time and end up putting them on the tax payer dollar. To house, feed and just have each prisoner exist in the US, it costs upwards of 60,000 a year. That is more than a valued member of society on the outside. In the long run, most prisoners who end up leaving jail after an extended period of time, just end up back inside because there is no world out there for them. This just makes the long run more expensive for people like you and me and creates no goals for the people on the inside. Why work towards bettering yourself or towards any type of introspection if you know that there is no future for you. Most people are going to blame other problems that got them there in the first place and just become angrier.

What we need to be doing is creating punishments on a case by case basis to actually have a chance at rehabilitating someone. Im sure court ordered therapy or some sort of program to get to the heart of the problem, would cost cheaper in the long run and be more effective. Putting people in the inside only turns a fledgling criminal into a hardcore one. It’s like if you sit 3 best friends in a classroom and they talk to each other all day long, the best method to get them to stop is separation. We are essentially doing the complete opposite.

People who commit crimes that aren’t murder, rape, ect have a chance at being rehabilitated through various methods. Sticking them in a jail for the rest of their lives helps no one, not the tax payer, not the government and not the prisoner themselves. Other countries have tried to combat this type of problem with other methods that have proven to be successful. Granted many of these countries are relatively homogeneous and smaller, they still have a success rate exponentially higher than us. If we want to give people a future and truly rehabilitate them in life after prison, we need to go about punishment differently.


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Totally agree with your premise that non violent crime needs to be dealt with in a fashion that isn't lengthy prison sentences. Why put a kid caught with a few dime bags into a world where he is forced to join a gang in prison to ensure survival. You've now created a career criminal when that person could've been dealt with in a much more productive fashion.

The prison system should not be privatized, for-profit, in the US. These companies are guaranteed a 90% occupancy rate for constructing the prison. How are you going to keep them filled if you don't hand down ludicrous sentences?


For-profit prisons are a horrible idea, especially given that they lobby for harsher sentences and for more crimes to have mandatory minimum sentences. Private prison companies have spent many millions of dollars through lobbying and campaign donations as this article from the Washington Post in 2015 outlines.

They aren't spending millions without an expectation of very lucrative returns on the investment.


It's all a racket.


Imprisionment for non-violent crimes should be extremely rare, and only applied to egregious situations. And yes, I agree regarding for profit prisons. They are essentially just modern slavery, supplying and buying human bodies (disproportionally black, no coincidence there) to keep shackled and make money.


Prisons are the new slave labor.

While I agree with your premise, you missed some key points about this conviction. Most importantly, this was not a case of "freedom of speed". The convicted bared deadly weopons and threatened to kill the victims. The victims of the threats, harrassment, and menacing were mostly innocent children. It is likely that these children will have lasting psychological damage, that gives them nightmares, panic, and anxiety, that could very well last a lifetime.

I will admit that I do take some satisfaction in the sentence, but agree that it is not productive. The trial and any detainment leading up to it were probably punishment enough for the criminals to reflect on their poor judgement and hurtful actions. I suspect they will not repeat this behavior, but then again, their intense racism may be so ingrained that there is no curing it.

If there is one bright spot, it is that this case may bring some of these criminal justice travesties, like excessive sentencing, to the attention of the very people who have cheered for longer sentences in the past. However, I doubt they have the capacity for serious reflection to give it much thought.

My mom is a lawyer, And she always talk about this... She says (among many other things) that in every criminal system must exist the characteristic of being preventive, rehabilitating, re-educating and reformer of the offender, to return it to the society as a useful citizen after having complied with the sentence interposed...
That aspect (unfortunately) is not taken into account in many countries, including mine: VENEZUELA... Passing those "details" over, has a very expensive price; Such as partial or complete dysfunctionality of the penal system... I really do not know if it can serve you as a breath, but it's no secret that Venezuela is one of the most dangerous countries in the world today ... And how do we get there? FOR THE COMPLETE NEGLIGENCE OF OUR LEGAL-PENAL SYSTEM :

  1. THE MAXIMUM CONVICTION FOR ANY CRIME (INCLUDING MURDER) IS 30 YEARS... And that, if they manage to catch the guilty...
    I LIKE so much YOUR POST !!...

Excellent piece @calaber24p, the lack of fairness in our justice system so often doesn't match the intention of it. I think about this in terms of the often non-existent sentences for convicted rapists too. I'd also like to agree with @wakeupsheeps about the dangers of privatizing's a terrible idea on every level and there is even less incentive for a private system to help prisoners get the help they need to exit nor address fairness or human rights.

The first thing that needs to be examined with respect to this incident is, was a crime committed? We can't talk about "punishment fitting the crime" until we establish that first. Also, in order for there to be a crime there must be a victim and so we need to establish whether or not there was physical harm to a person(s) or a to property. If there was no act of aggression upon a person or a person's property then there is no crime. Someone may have been "offended" but is offending someone actually a crime?

Now, while "free speech" doesn't mean a person can say anything, anywhere that, doesn't prevent anyone from saying things that may be offensive. Where do you draw the line? If saying things that are offensive become crimes the sky is the limit! You call someone a dumb-dumb... what punishment does that deserve? Who decides what's offensive or what's too offensive and therefore, worthy of punishment? This is a Pandora's Box.

As far as the issue of incarceration for "non-violent" crimes the answer is, there should not be any. Again, if there was a crime then then perpetrator should be made to pay restitution to the victim. What we have now is a system where victims are victimized twice because once the state gets involved they assume the role of victim and exact their punishment. The actual victim gets nothing but maybe the satisfaction of the perpetrator being punished and then they get to pay more taxes to put them behind bars. This makes no sense; there is not even an attempt made to restore the victim - No Restitution.

I was going to comment on the problem with the privatization of the prison system but my comment is already rather long so I'll leave that for another time.

The problem in the US is that most prisons are for profit. They are owned by corporations. They need customers, in the form of inmates, to keep turning a profit. So, there is huge financial gain for locking people up. Doesn't the US incarcerate more people than any other country? It's unethical and a sham. I agree with your point of view.


Yes, more then any other country where there are numbers, including "political sentence" China. Like at 1/3 more the the second country. About 10 times of the "socialist" European countries.

USA 7,41 per 100‘000 people
2: Russia 5,32.
China 1,20.
Germany 0,97

Most "western" countries hover around 1 person per 100K


Yes. These statistics say it all. That along with the fact that prisons are for financial profit in the US should be front-page news.


I think you hit the nail on the head in regards to the issue of financial incentive to lock people up. However, I think that profit is unlikely to be the driving cause. Consider who pays the prison system. Private prisons are government contractors. If we were the customers, the incentive would be for prisons to rehabilitate. You're also most correct about the current U.S. prison system being an unethical sham.


Not to mention the "support" needed from attorneys and clerks and judges with an attitude.


Very true. The system is broken and has been for a long time.

I agree wholeheartedly that a lot of prison sentences do not help with rehabilitation. I don't think that there is single intervention that will fit all criminals. Each offender should be assessed on what their individual needs and concerns are. Afterwards an appropriate treatment should be applied to the offender. To make sure, there are no relapses after a person is released. There should be a support group that will help the person stay on the right track.

I think jailing anyone who has not caused harm to another person is the wrong thing to do. Jailing people for debt is also insane. Jail does not work.

Sentences have 4 functions (+ the profit function in case of the US).

  • Prevent that the same person does a crime again (that is the reason why even after prison sentence or instead of you can out people in psychiatry)
    and prevent that other persons do the same crime by shocking them
  • protection of society, prevent someone gets hurt
  • rehabilitation
  • retaliation

the first point and second point works - as long as the person is in the prison - for the person, but after? Also, as the US shows, deterrence is not very effective
Reha is needs effort, and that is often lacking
Retaliation - I think that is a big part in the US

Where is the feminist protesting of this sexist and biased sentencing?


"Joe Tores and Kayla Norton were sentenced to 13 years and 6 years in prison respectively"

PS - What were they charged for, being asses? What's the crime, yelling? Smells like thought-crime to me.


""Torres, who had retrieved a shotgun from his vehicle, pointed his shotgun at the group of African American party-goers and stated he was going to kill them while his co-defendants stated that 'the little ones can get one too,' referring to the young children at the party," the statement said." --

Pointing guns at people has consequences.


Yeah, that seems pretty normal. This is interesting:

"They are both banished from Douglas County when they're released from prison."


"For making racist threats and driving past an African American child’s birthday party with trucks weaving confederate flags. They shouted racist insults at party goes and ultimately were captured on camera which helped to convict them."


So, to clarify, we're dealing with some sort of hate-crime statute here which has criminalized insulting people with over 10 years in prison for men? (and, apparently, 6 for women)

Interesting points you make here. It indeed doesn't seem to work & even make things worse.

People are how they are because of their past experiences, which doesn't make the things they do ok ofc. But they are still human beings who are miserable and are working that out on others. If they were happy they wouldn't try and hurt others.

Putting them together with people with even worse experiences only makes it worse imo.

The question then is how do we actually do help people like this f.e.?

How do we change people's mentality in general?

Maybe psychological help can help them, but only if they are open for it I guess...

No idea how to solve this issue...

Raise good points
Compensation with prison is rehabilitation
Keep it up

Wouldn't it just make them angrier when they come out of jail ? The court system always seems to favor the majority

I agree with this so much. What we're currently doing -- in Canada too -- doesn't make sense. We send criminals back into the community the same or worse than when they went to prison. Then they commit more crimes, often damaging their communities, families and others in the process, leading to more people to commit crimes and end up in jail. We spend the least amount possible on our justice system -- even though it's still a crazy amount -- because tax payers don't think it's "fair" to offer criminals free counselling, education, etc. But if we invested in really rehabilitating people like you said, we'd all be better off. We'd have a better shot at ending the cycle of violence and, long-term, our costs would go down.

I am 100% in favour of investing in rehabilitation. However, I also think that those who can't be rehabilitated-- like repeat sex offenders or people who commit violent acts against children -- should be kept away from the public indefinitely.

They usually come out with a worsened attitude, enhanced criminal skills, a sense of hopelessness, a lack of fear of further punishment and no skills to burden society further. Take away a person's hope, and they have nothing to live for.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the US has the most incarcerated than any other country and we also have the highest recidivism rates as far as I know. Putting people in a box for an extended period time makes them resentful and restless. Rehabilitation should be intense therapy, and support. Theres also been studies that animal therapy days in prison show a great improvement in the population moral.

"Crime don't pay but the hours are good"

I agree. It should be a case to case basis. They're wrong for doing what they did but the amount of time they were given just doesn't match up with the offense and they'll probably end up being angrier than they were before. They'd probably blame the other party for "being the reason" they were put away. And when they get out, it won't be pretty. Rehabilitation and education would be make more of an impact on them. Great post.

This is exactly what I was thinking lately!

Some people have been hardened after spending time in prison. Some people have also been reformed. however i believe some criminals who have committed offences like serial murder or other wicked acts should be kept permanently in prison.
Great post @calaber24p
I'll request that you stay in touch... I've always admired your work... Followed.

Can you cite a source regarding the couple you are referring to? I seriously doubt that they were sent to prison just for waving a flag and shouting something racist. There must have been more to it than that.

But setting that detail aside, I do agree that long prison sentences does very little to aid in rehabilitation and probably actually increases recidivism rates.

Sending people to prison does nothing bu keep us out of a job, keep us depressed, and drive us to do more crime. It's essentially a big business in which the government and the privately owned prisons are able to make money from. It's really messed up and needs to be reformed Great post tho

This is just one branch or even leaf in or giant tree of problems. All this technology. Al this freedom and we still can't deal with people with minor offenses. As long as you monetize the prison system, these problems will never go away.

Congratulations @calaber24p
You took 64 place in my Top 100 of posts