Wednesday, April 13, 2011

MSNBC.com: 40 percent of ex-cons wind up back behind bars:
The assumption is that these are all choir boys at the prison and if we let them out, all will be well. And it doesn't work that way," Reams said. "We're getting exactly what we deserve when we do this — we're getting more crime.

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32 Comments:

Blogger HMT said...

When the nanny state makes practically everything illegal it should come as no surprise when someone gets put in jail. While you were in jail they passed yet more laws. It's not recidivism, it's an ever closing net. Welcome to freedom 2.0

5:14 PM, April 13, 2011  
Blogger dunkelzahn4prez said...

Maybe I missed it, but I would really like to know the breakout of violent v. non-violent offenses among this population of ex-cons. I would also like to know how many went in for non-violent offenses (drug possession, for example) and went back in for either the same or similar offense, or for a violent offense.

5:49 PM, April 13, 2011  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

Perhaps they didn't notice this, but 60% of ex-cons don't wind up back behind bars...

8:32 PM, April 13, 2011  
Blogger Cham said...

Incarcerations make the law-biding taxpayer feel good about government. Incarcerations don't necessarily punish the offender and they don't motivate people to avoid further criminal activity. 90% of criminals have psychological issues. Very few of them get help with these issues while incarcerated.

8:47 PM, April 13, 2011  
Blogger Ern said...

90% of criminals have psychological issues.

And your evidence for that is what?

And the percentage of non-criminals with psychological issues, defined in the same way as for criminals, is what?

This sounds like doctrinaire psychology from the 1960s.

9:09 PM, April 13, 2011  
Blogger BobH said...

90% of criminals have psychological issues. Very few of them get help with these issues while incarcerated.

Like Antisocial personality disorder (DSM-IV code 301.7)?? Show me that therapists actually know how to "fix" this. I'm convinced that therapists are the new jailers, the tools we use to manipulate other people's behavior, because that some of us can still feel good about ourselves when we put others in therapy.

I will agree that many prisoners are there because of drug arrests and I might agree to legalizing drugs, except that the legal drug, alcohol, incurs the most social costs of any of them.

7:57 AM, April 14, 2011  
Blogger Ern said...

BobH -

Thank you! I came back here to amend my questions. I'm quite willing to believe that the vast majority of criminals have psychological issues. My questions were going to be what percentage of criminals were psychopaths, and what the success rate was of psychotherapeutic techniques in keeping them from committing more crimes once released.

8:27 AM, April 14, 2011  
Blogger JG said...

"My questions were going to be what percentage of criminals were psychopaths ..."

--

Probably the same percentage or lower as the percentage of psychopaths among used car salesmen and people named "Dr. Phil".

8:31 AM, April 14, 2011  
Blogger J. Bowen said...

I might agree to legalizing drugs, except that the legal drug, alcohol, incurs the most social costs of any of them.

Imagine if we were still locking people up for using alcohol...

8:49 AM, April 14, 2011  
Blogger I R A Darth Aggie said...

Incarcerations don't necessarily punish the offender

Strange, I would have thought being locked into an 8x10 foot cell with a roomie not of your choice, and being restricted to a penal institution for a number of years whould be considered punishment.

9:57 AM, April 14, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

No surprise here. Our drug laws certainly exacerbate the problem. Plus, the damage caused to "offenders" who never end up in jail.

Many mental health professionals think everyone has problems. It's a field of gray areas. A psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker can find a problem anywhere if they want.

10:21 AM, April 14, 2011  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

HMT -

"When the nanny state makes practically everything illegal it should come as no surprise when someone gets put in jail."

No one challenged this SlashDot level bull? The truth is that criminals by and large break laws that even HMT would want enforced if on the wrong end.

10:27 AM, April 14, 2011  
Blogger SGT Ted said...

Alot of folks cannot grasp that there are a very large minority of people who view law abiding people as "chumps" and targets to prey upon and they don't give a fuck about anyone or anything other than themselves. These are the people who are forever in and out of jail; the proverbial 20 page rapsheet guys and gals.

11:28 AM, April 14, 2011  
Blogger dunkelzahn4prez said...

SGT Ted said...
Alot of folks cannot grasp that there are a very large minority of people who view law abiding people as "chumps" and targets to prey upon and they don't give a fuck about anyone or anything other than themselves.


These are the folks that fall into the sociopath/antisocial behavior. They are supremely self-centered, have no empathy or regard for other human beings, and blame the people they victimize for being "chumps" or suckers or otherwise deserving, in their twisted minds, to be ripped off or hurt in some way.

12:17 PM, April 14, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

BobH wrote: "Like Antisocial personality disorder (DSM-IV code 301.7)?? Show me that therapists actually know how to "fix" this."

Touche! Attempting to change someone who does not want to change takes you right to A Clockwork Orange. The results are about the same too.

Good post.

Trey

2:31 PM, April 14, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

The thing with psychopaths is that they may be permanetly brain damaged. There is a part of the brain called the prefrontal orbital cortex that is believed to deal with our ability to attach and empathise with others as well as calm ourselves when we are upset.

It develops from 20 weeks gestation to 9 to 12 months old, then it is done. Finito, over. To develop properly, a stable and emotionaly positive uterine environment is required, followed by attuned caregiving for the infant. Without that, you end up with antisocial people who are not neurologically capable of empathy or caring or normal self-control.

The research is ongoing, but it is robust and measurement based. And if true, it is frightening as hell.

Trey

2:36 PM, April 14, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...

Right, but did you notice that is an improvement? Any bad stat improvements, under this admin in particular if I trust most federal level admins only marginally, is questionable. I think, actually, the DOJ is going to try and use the numbers to allow more prisoner releases. Cut the military, and for states cut the prison systems, that is how liberals think we should cut (along with raising taxes) and what they do. They either create, misrepresent, or outright lie about statistics in order to cut what they don't want... usually the main things a nation is created to provided... protection.

Handing out condoms, and encouragement to use them, to 11 year olds, now that is where they think money should go. Bah!

3:53 PM, April 14, 2011  
Blogger highlander said...

Back in the early 80's, I spent three years as a part-time volunteer vocational training instructor at San Quentin. My colleagues and I taught inmates how to program large mainframe computers.

During the time I was involved with the program, we graduated 123 inmates and helped them to find jobs on the outside. Only one was ever sent back, and that was for a relatively minor parole violation. He was released again shortly after.

One afternoon several years after I left the program, I was using the restroom in the office building where I worked. A man standing next to me in the stalls seemed vaguely familiar. Turns out, he was one of our graduates. He had been a murderer. Now he was the data processing manager for a consulting firm down the hall.

Although we may have helped these inmates to develop marketable skills and find paying jobs, I think they probably would have succeeded even without our help because they had already made up their minds to get their act together and get out of there. Without that one crucial decision on their part, I don't think that we could have done anything whatever to alter the trajectory of their lives.

The big question then becomes: How do you get -- or help -- them to make that decision? I wish I knew the answer.

1:38 AM, April 15, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

"The big question then becomes: How do you get -- or help -- them to make that decision? I wish I knew the answer."

Like the old joke, how many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb?

Only one but the lightbulb has to really WANT to change.

I know, bad joke, but one thing that being in the business for 20 years has taught me is that if you work really hard you can help people change in the direction they want to go. That is as far as it goes in my experience, there is no changing an adult or even a middling adolescent if they are determined not to change.

That whole free will thingy is a bitch. 8)

Trey

9:55 AM, April 15, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

the modern corporate jungle seems to necessitate the sociopathic mindset as a prerequisite for survival.

any empathetic type would get eaten up before lunch.

12:54 PM, April 15, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Agreed Dr. And yet, I recently moved my office from a physician's setting to an executive suite surrounded by business people, and I LOVE the change.

But then these are little start ups and they are working at making something rather than making Jonesy look bad.

Trey

3:00 PM, April 15, 2011  
Blogger fred said...

The high recidism rate has been known for many years.

1. to blame "the nanny state" is total nonsense.
2. if you get out of prison after a number of years, the chance of getting any sort of work is severely limited--worse than it is these days even for high school and college grads.
3. what help, therapy, intervention is there for troubled potential criminals and what is available while in prison?
4. why do our prison rates far outstrip those in any other industrialized nation?

4:07 PM, April 15, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

why do our prison rates far outstrip those in any other industrialized nation?

Good question. We have the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. Kinda makes you wonder about the land of the free stuff.

5:27 PM, April 15, 2011  
Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

Highest incarceration?

Progressively moved to left-wing politics (socialism).
High number of single-parent (fatherless) homes.
Feminist BS.
Hollywood-inspired social engineering.
A culture that reviles industry and exalts rebels/mavericks.

It's our dogshit culture.

8:18 PM, April 15, 2011  
Blogger Larry J said...

I would love to see sources for definitive statistics on prison populations. Given prison overcrowding and limited budgets in so many states, how many non-violent drug users are really in prison? When many states are under court orders to implement early release programs, how many can afford to keep prisons full of non-violent offenders? I'm asking for hard numbers. Anyone have any sources to recommend?

7:07 PM, April 16, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

fred, did you even read the posts other people wrote? Or did you just apply talking points drawn randomnly from a bag?

Trey

8:42 AM, April 17, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Leary

though reviled in later life as a trouble-making hippy, leary managed a 20% recidivism rate in his work on immates.

pretty compelling stuff.

if one is to draw a conclusion from all this, it is to believe that our government needs to have a penal system that is monolithic and fear-inducing...and it seems to work.

try to keep your heart rate down if you see poilice lights in your mirror...even if your tags are current, your insurance is paid up and you were driving in accordance with the traffic code.

people, that is law-abiding people, are terrified for the most part.

social engineering,and real world intimidation.

9:06 AM, April 17, 2011  
Blogger Larry J said...

try to keep your heart rate down if you see poilice lights in your mirror...even if your tags are current, your insurance is paid up and you were driving in accordance with the traffic code.

That brings to mind the pointless debate as to whether capital punishment is a deterrent. For most people, fear of punishment (jail) is a deterrent - we don't break the law because we fear the consequences. If you don't believe me, why don't you go and rob a bank? You won't, will you? Why not, because it's wrong (and it is) is part of it but fear of getting caught is another.

For some people, no amount of punishment is a deterrent. If it were, we wouldn't have so many bank robberies, rapes, murders, etc. Is it sufficient that the majority of the population is deterred from committing crimes by the fear of punishment? Personally, I think yes or we'd have a lot more crime. For those who aren't deterred, punish them severely.

We should also do away with our uneasiness about punishment. Calling it the "Department of Corrections" is a sad joke because they seldom correct anything. That's why it's called "capital punishment" instead of "capital deterrence." Even if it doesn't deter a single person who is bent on murder from committing the crime, it is a form of punishment. That's sufficient.

4:03 PM, April 17, 2011  
Blogger Cham said...

Dr. Alistair: You say law-abiding people are terrified of law-enforcement. I'll agree with you. However, once somebody is arrested, processed and does a few days/weeks/months in prison they become less fearful. Hence, the recidivism. It's that same percentage of the population of non-law-abiders that commit most of the crime. I'm sure the 80-20 rule applies.

Here is where things are starting to go wrong. As the number of Law Enforcement Officers increase, as well as the number of laws, we have more people interacting with law enforcement. As the number of people getting questioned, asked to show identification, threatened to get arrested increases, the number of people who are fearful of getting arrested decreases.

You can see the demise of the fear becoming apparent as people joke or admire celebrities' mug shots. In my region getting arrested has become no big deal because it is so commonplace. The police are doing themselves a disservice by pestering more people.

6:08 PM, April 17, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Larry J wrote: "For some people, no amount of punishment is a deterrent."

So, are they the ideal candidates for the death penalty? It their case, it would deter them.

I cannot wrap my head around the death penalty, so I am not for it. I figure if I could not throw the switch I should not support it. Then too, I believe that God is the arbiter of life and death.

Trey

9:09 AM, April 18, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

cham, so what you are saying is that exposure to the potential harm without recieving that which one is fearful of diminishes the fear response.

then the police run a car full of drunk teenagers into a culvert at 100mph. (happens with sickening regularity in this town, and as my oldest approaches that age, my axiety increases.)

and that`s why the police are becoming increasingly militaristic in their appearance and attitude.

and larry, sociopaths don`t repsond to the fear response of badges, guns and lights and other symbols of authority the same way as "law-abiding" types do, so they continue to "walk on the grass" without fear of sanction.

as a side note, the ontario provincial police were given state-trooper type hats a few years ago, but the fashion disappeared quickly. too many officers getting laughed at, i would guess.

the police carry guns and other mechanisms of lethal force, and brandish them with impunity, and if you still aren`t convinced, try leaving a routine traffic stop unilaterally because you disagree with their reason for pulling you over.

some years ago our locals changed their name from force to service.

i wonder which service they provide?

2:48 PM, April 18, 2011  
Blogger Cham said...

Dr. Alistair: As your child ages, talk to his friends. See how many of them have been searched, or processed, though not charged with a crime. I don't know any male teen around my area who hasn't. The kids don't know their rights and can remain calm and composed enough to avoid police interactions. My city has 620,000 people and the cops made 70,000 arrests last year.

A few years ago our police officers were issued Israeli-style paramilitary outfits, with black jumpsuits, ball caps and lace-up boots. They looked appropriate for who they are and what they do: The most unfriendliest cops on earth. They returned to their regular uniform after about a year of that.

What's going in is that teen boys see that going to the lock-up as a rite of passage. After the first processing they aren't fearful any more. It becomes a joke.

Oh, and unlike on TV, our cops aren't worried about everyone's feelings. They are the exact opposite of what you see on all the many many many cop shows that are made about our idiot police force.

5:44 PM, April 18, 2011  

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