What should be done about prisons?

17 Jun

Socially Extinct’s latest post is about prisons, and progs turning their gaze upon them, no doubt intending to ‘reform’ them along their ideological lines.

Like SE, the last thing I want to see are prisons remade along SJW, prog lines.

But I also don’t care for the status quo, in both directions.

That is to say, on the one hand, I think prisoners today have far too many privileges, in terms of things like the ability to communicate with the outside world / have contact with the outside world, through internet access, and the like. If it were up to me, I would severely curtail prisoners’ access to communication with the outside world (other than occasional visits through glass – no conjugal visits; and otherwise mostly communicating with loved ones by letters, the way it used to be), and entertainment, other than libraries to develop their minds and imaginations, and improve their literacy, etc., and maybe a prison band, playing musical instruments or singing in choirs – as was the case in olden days, certainly here in Canada, anyway. I’d make that a reward for good behaviour, rather than an automatic right. And if prisoners are made to do hard labour, they won’t need gyms to stay physically fit.

On the other hand, I do think there are many problems with modern prisons, both in terms of sadistic guards abusing their powers, having too much free reign to indulge in unnecessary levels of brutality against prisoners, and also in terms of prisoners having not enough oversight, and having free reign to victimize other prisoners, making them their ‘bitches’, etc.

I remember when this article came out over a decade ago, I was glad to see that someone on the Right (more or less) was actually concerned about the welfare of prisoners, although unlike Taylor, despite the racial dimensions which I do recognize, I see it more as a case of injustice, period, rather than particularly a racial one. (Prison rape and ‘bitch-making’ is wrong, period, regardless of who does it to whom, even if it happens more according to some patterns than others.) Would that others felt similarly, I thought.

IMO, both prisoners and guards don’t have enough oversight, and I don’t see why prisons need to have two people to a cell, rather than smaller individual solo cells. And given 21st century surveillance technologies available to us, I don’t see why we can’t implement a modern version of Bentham’s ‘panopticon‘, albeit with surveillance cameras rather than round-shaped buildings.

And rather than giving guards too much free reign to inflict violence sadistically, as they please, I’d rather have more formal institutionalized violence, such as bringing back the lash, and administering it for various offenses, with one designated guard doing the whipping at each prison, per shift.

I’d like prisons to be unpleasant places to be, but not in terms of permitting atrocities and injustices such as prison rape, and excessive beatings by guards. Simply in terms of being places of boredom, tedium, without many comforts, with much supervision, and formalized violence when warranted by true misbehaviour.

Surely, as Christians, we should believe in justice, which can be and must be hard sometimes, but we must avoid allowing injustices to occur, as we strive to administer justice.


Posted by on June 17, 2015 in government, law, The Decline, The Kulturkampf


24 responses to “What should be done about prisons?

  1. Eric

    June 17, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    In some countries, they’re getting rid of fair trials:

    Of course, the jury system in the US may as well not exist either, given its complete uselessness against the kangaroo courts run by prog lawyers and autocratic judges. Probably 2/3 of Americans in jail don’t need to be there and their places need to be filled by a lot of others who do.

  2. Will S.

    June 17, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    Hadn’t heard that about Norway, but knowing how proud the Nordic countries today are of their ‘progressivism’, not too surprising, alas…

    Yes, the system is rigged against men, everywhere…

    And if there wasn’t a drug war, there wouldn’t be anywhere near as big a prison population.

    Stupid liberal and neo-con policies led to this mess.

    Meanwhile, I’ve heard neo-con politicians joking about prison rape: such as churchian twit Mike Huckabee:

    Some ‘Christian’ he is.

    Typical neo-con…

  3. infowarrior1

    June 18, 2015 at 4:11 am

    I watched a documentary and read stories about prison rape pretty sickening.The most appropriate punishment is death, all the prisoners involved in rape should be executed.

    And I also propose that there should be irremovable hidden cameras covering the entire prison complex.

    I think Rodrigo Duerte’s method of capital punishment where he proposes that the death penalty be carried out after a 6 month case review after the sentence is pronounced would also help clean out the prisons.

  4. infowarrior1

    June 18, 2015 at 4:16 am

    @Will S.

    Free Northerner had a take on prisons:

  5. Will S.

    June 18, 2015 at 5:59 am

    @ infowarrior1: I don’t know if I would go that far, I prefer the death penalty being reserved for those who take life, as per Scripture.

    But I’d have them flogged within an inch of their life…

    I remember the FN piece. I am much in agreement with the sentiments about the problems of modern prisons, but I’m not convinced that there is anything wrong with the existence of prisons, per se; I think they worked better historically, and could be made to do so again, and should. I think there are some non-murderers who need to be behind bars, away from society.

  6. Will S.

    June 18, 2015 at 5:59 am

    As for the politician, that’s just grandstanding, surely.

  7. infowarrior1

    June 18, 2015 at 8:41 am

    ”I don’t know if I would go that far, I prefer the death penalty being reserved for those who take life, as per Scripture.”

    I am taking the legal code of Exodus,Leviticus and Deuteronomy as inspiration.

    There are capital punishments for kidnapping,rape and murder.

  8. infowarrior1

    June 18, 2015 at 8:42 am

    @Will S.

    I think there should a substantial reduction in the prisons if done right.

  9. feeriker

    June 18, 2015 at 10:28 am

    A major step in the right direction for cleaning up/reforming prisons is this: stop locking people up for”crimes” that do not violate Natural Law (i.e., cause identifiable famage or harm to person or property). Any “crime” that is drug-related comes readily to mind as an example of something not germane to the NL, and thus not fitting the definition of a crime. Even in cases where NL is involved, prison is often not the ideal, or even the appropriate form of punishment for the crime.

    As long as politics continues to play any role in the administration of “justice” (or the perverse bastardization thereof that most us are stuck with), prisons will continue to be violent, overcrowded cesspools that do far more long-term harm to everyone than good.

  10. Gerry T. Neal

    June 18, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    The idea that prison time should be the default sentence for a criminal conviction is itself a progressive innovation. Until modern times, jail was where you held a person prior to sentencing, but the sentence was death for capital crimes, and stuff like flogging and the stocks for lesser offences. Long term incarceration was what was done with political prisoners. The shift to relying upon prisons came about because liberal progressives condemned the old set of punishments as “barbaric” and “inhumane” as they did the Lex Talionis and the very concept of criminal justice as “punishment. They believed that a more “enlightened” and “humane” approach to criminal justice was to make its end the rehabilitation of the criminal. This meant prisons. Of course, this was arguably less humane, because it meant convicts would now be treated as guinea pigs in prisons that were now laboratories for progressive experimentation. Flogging and death would be more humane any day. Ironically, the end of rehabilitating the convict, is far more effectively accomplished by a system of justice that says that for being a public nuisance he has to spend a day in the stocks, after which he will have paid his debt to society and it will be regarded as done, but he will be far less likely to commit the crime again. Prisons just tend to make criminals worse.

  11. Eric

    June 18, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    A lot of it, too, has to do with the dumbing-down and immature mindset of our culture. I actually heard another neo-con pundit call jails ‘a time-out for grown-ups’. If we had a sane society it would work more like Gerry describes, where punishments would fit crimes; and crimes would part of a rational legal code instead of lynch-mob ‘justice’.

    I remember reading once about a governor in Ancient Rome. A bunch of scum of hanging around the women’s baths being nuisances and the governor sent some soldiers out and caught four of them. He told the punks: “If you want to behave like asses, I’ll treat you that way.” Then he had them put in harnesses and forced to pull the garbage wagon around town for a week, while eating grain, drinking from troughs, and kept in the stable.

    LOL—things like that really are deterrents. But imagine how the Libtards would squawk if some mayor did that today!

  12. Will S.

    June 18, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    @ infowarrior1: Yes, and there’s also the death penalty for chopping firewood on the Sabbath.

    Do we want to go that far?

    @ feeriker: Agreed.

    @ Gerry: I do agree with bringing back more of such things as flogging, and stocks; I think that would be a good idea.

    @ Eric: Ha! Indeed, I think there’s much merit in deterrents of that kind; surely, they would work for many (except the few sickos who fetishize being forced to act like animals).

  13. infowarrior1

    June 19, 2015 at 6:09 am

    @Will S.

    Nope considering that such things are applicable only in a theocracy and we do not live in a theocracy now. Although the reasons is for capital punishment goes beyond the prescriptions in the bible. Like the ripple effect that it has on the entire community as well as the extent of damage to the victim.

  14. Socially Extinct

    June 19, 2015 at 7:20 am

    Good post and great comments, Will!

    I particular agree with:

    “and entertainment, other than libraries to develop their minds and imaginations, and improve their literacy, etc., and maybe a prison band, playing musical instruments or singing in choirs – as was the case in olden days, certainly here in Canada, anyway. I’d make that a reward for good behaviour, rather than an automatic right. And if prisoners are made to do hard labour, they won’t need gyms to stay physically fit.”

    Prison should be civilized punishment, not tyrannical vengeance. As always, there’s that fine line that we have come to lose sight of as a society. The expression of imprisonment has become a cultural tug-o-war, and consequently, prone to conflicting economic and moral agendas; in other words, a mess of inconsistencies and primeval bureaucracy.

  15. feeriker

    June 19, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Prison should be civilized punishment, not tyrannical vengeance.

    The only moral purpose of justice is restitution for victims of actual crimes against the Natural Law: and this seldom ever means prison (and no, that formless, non-existent abstraction called “society,” for which “the State” is usually substituted in practice, is not and cannot be a victim of crime, ever. Only individual people can be victims of crimes).

    Did you rob someone? Your punishment is to pay back what you stole, by whatever legal means necessary, no matter how much you must suffer for it.

    Did you commit an act of forcible rape? Your victim might want to see you castrated (physically, not “chemically).

    Did you commit an act of felony assault and battery? The person you assaulted should then be permitted to beat you (or have you beaten) to within an inch of your life.

    Did you kill someone for reasons other than justified self-defense? Let the dead person’s family decide your fate (yes, they may decide to kill you in retribution, or they might choose to forgive you; either choice is their prerogative under Natural Law).

    Note that NONE of these acts of restitution involve caging people, as this serves no restorative benefit to the aggrieved parties.

  16. JW

    June 19, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    On the Reformed side, Vern Poythress (professor at WTS) in his interaction with Theonomists (Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses) points out that prison as punishment appears nowhere in the Old Testament civil code and thus Theonomists, if being true to their convictions, should find prisons-as-punishment unjust. It violates the key principle of punishment – that the punishment fit the crime.

  17. Will S.

    June 19, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    @ infowarrior1: Indeed, other cultures have embraced capital punishment; in fact, before modern times, most did.

    I support it, myself; our Catholic friends may be constrained from being able to do so, because their church doesn’t go along with it. Which alas gives rise to people like Sister Prejean, etc.

    @ SE: Thanks!

    Agreed, re: the ideological tug-of-war that has sadly erupted over prisons, playing games with people’s lives for social engineering purposes; sad, that.

    @ feeriker: Hear, hear!

    I’ve long agreed (naturally) with the Biblical ‘eye for eye; hand for hand; burn for burn; wound for wound’, etc. If THAT were an option, one could empty most of the prisons; combine that with the death penalty, and an end to the drug war, and most of the prisons could be closed! That would be good, indeed.

    @ JW: Ah. I have read a little bit of Poythress, and naturally, I like him. And while not sympathetic to theonomy any more than him, if it were to be instituted, I’d be happy with that one aspect of it, if they truly indeed were consistent.

  18. JW

    June 22, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Now, it’s been over a decade since I read the book (and the book is current packed away), so take this with a grain of salt.

    I wouldn’t characterize Poythress’s position on Theonomy as unsympathetic, per se. For instance I do not recall him taking great issue with Theonomists regarding Matt 5:17-19. This is the typical starting point; Bahnsen’s _By This Standard_ starts precisely here. Poythress’s chief point was that a Christ-centric reading of the Old Testament introduces some exegetical complications into typical Theonomic approaches to the Old Testament (he probably had Rushdooney’s Institutes’ in mind).


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