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Jenson71
02-28-2008, 01:27 PM
1 in 100 U.S. Adults Behind Bars, New Study Says

By ADAM LIPTAK
Published: February 28, 2008

For the first time in the nation’s history, more than one in 100 American adults is behind bars, according to a new report.

Nationwide, the prison population grew by 25,000 last year, bringing it to almost 1.6 million. Another 723,000 people are in local jails. The number of American adults is about 230 million, meaning that one in every 99.1 adults is behind bars.

Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34.

The report, from the Pew Center on the States, also found that only one in 355 white women between the ages of 35 and 39 are behind bars but that one in 100 black women are.

The report’s methodology differed from that used by the Justice Department, which calculates the incarceration rate by using the total population rather than the adult population as the denominator. Using the department’s methodology, about one in 130 Americans is behind bars.

Either way, said Susan Urahn, the center’s managing director, “we aren’t really getting the return in public safety from this level of incarceration.”

But Paul Cassell, a law professor at the University of Utah and a former federal judge, said the Pew report considered only half of the cost-benefit equation and overlooked the “very tangible benefits — lower crime rates.”

In the past 20 years, according the Federal Bureau of Investigation, violent crime rates fell by 25 percent, to 464 for every 100,000 people in 2007 from 612.5 in 1987.

“While we certainly want to be smart about who we put into prisons,” Professor Cassell said, “it would be a mistake to think that we can release any significant number of prisoners without increasing crime rates. One out of every 100 adults is behind bars because one out of every 100 adults has committed a serious criminal offense.”

Ms. Urahn said the nation cannot afford the incarceration rate documented in the report. “We tend to be a country in which incarceration is an easy response to crime,” she said. “Being tough on crime is an easy position to take, particularly if you have the money. And we did have the money in the ‘80s and ‘90s.”

Now, with fewer resources available, the report said, “prison costs are blowing a hole in state budgets.” On average, states spend almost 7 percent on their budgets on corrections, trailing only healthcare, education and transportation.

In 2007, according to the National Association of State Budgeting Officers, states spent $44 billion in tax dollars on corrections. That is up from $10.6 billion in 1987, a 127 increase once adjusted for inflation. With money from bonds and the federal government included, total state spending on corrections last year was $49 billion. By 2011, the report said, states are on track to spend an additional $25 billion.

It cost an average of $23,876 dollars to imprison someone in 2005, the most recent year for which data were available. But state spending varies widely, from $45,000 a year in Rhode Island to $13,000 in Louisiana.

The cost of medical care is growing by 10 percent annually, the report said, and will accelerate as the prison population ages.

About one in nine state government employees works in corrections, and some states are finding it hard to fill those jobs. California spent more than $500 million on overtime alone in 2006.

The number of prisoners in California dropped by 4,000 last year, making Texas’s prison system the nation’s largest, at about 172,000. But the Texas legislature last year approved broad changes to the corrections system there, including expansions of drug treatment programs and drug courts and revisions to parole practices.

“Our violent offenders, we lock them up for a very long time — rapists, murderers, child molestors,” said John Whitmire, a Democratic state senator from Houston and the chairman of the state senate’s criminal justice committee. “The problem was that we weren’t smart about nonviolent offenders. The legislature finally caught up with the public.”

He gave an example.

“We have 5,500 D.W.I offenders in prison,” he said, including people caught driving under the influence who had not been in an accident. “They’re in the general population. As serious as drinking and driving is, we should segregate them and give them treatment.”

The Pew report recommended diverting nonviolent offenders away from prison and using punishments short of reincarceration for minor or technical violations of probation or parole. It also urged states to consider earlier release of some prisoners.

Before the recent changes in Texas, Mr. Whitmire said, “we were recycling nonviolent offenders.”

Cave Johnson
02-28-2008, 01:57 PM
If someone's in jail, then they obviously deserve to be there.

Adept Havelock
02-28-2008, 01:59 PM
That's what happens when you make Law Enforcement (through property seizure) and Prisons a for-profit enterprise.

Well, that combined with an absolutely inane approach to handling non-violent and "victimless" crime.

pikesome
02-28-2008, 02:14 PM
That's what happens when you make Law Enforcement (through property seizure) and Prisons a for-profit enterprise.

Well, that combined with an absolutely inane approach to handling non-violent and "victimless" crime.

The first part makes no sense. Property seizure doesn't require people in jail. It doesn't even require a conviction in many circumstances. If profit motive was at work here we'd see fewer people in jail, not the other way round. People in jail cost money with no ROI.

Adept Havelock
02-28-2008, 02:16 PM
The first part makes no sense. Property seizure doesn't require people in jail. It doesn't even require a conviction in many circumstances. If profit motive was at work here we'd see fewer people in jail, not the other way round. People in jail cost money with no ROI.

Sure it makes sense.

The police in many situations get to use the value of confiscated property to add to their budget.

How many prisons are run out of the budget for the local police force? Corrections is usually a separate budgeting entity, IIRC.

More arrests and confiscations=more money for the cops local budget. Sure, the Dept. of Corrections budget might grow so large that it will eventually draw down the budget for the local police.

That said, which is more likely the thought process at work?

1) If we arrest that guy and confiscate his property, we can use it to fund a purchase of XYZ equipment.

or

2) We should not confiscate that property or arrest that guy. Eventually, it might end up hurting our budget because the funds for incarceration have to come from somewhere.

From what I know of human nature, I suspect #1 is far more common. It's the same lack of a complete thought process that drives many entitlement programs.

Letting cops keep the spoils of drug raids and such is nothing more than Roman style Tax Farming.

It's just as bad an idea now as it was two thousand years ago, for largely the same reasons.

As for the rest of the first part...when you make Private Prisons (for-profit) part of the system, they are going to have a vested interest in lobbying to maintain a broken system that incarcerates people for stupid crap. Why? Though it costs the state, it makes the owner of the private prison money.

IMO, those two moronic policies have quite a bit to do with this country having one of the highest incarceration rates in the world.

Cave Johnson
02-28-2008, 02:27 PM
The first part makes no sense. Property seizure doesn't require people in jail. It doesn't even require a conviction in many circumstances. If profit motive was at work here we'd see fewer people in jail, not the other way round. People in jail cost money with no ROI.

The cops a) seize from everyone with property and b) incarcerate those either without anything to relinquish or, more likely, anyone to flip on.

Check out the reefer portion of Reefer Madness (the book, not the movie).

pikesome
02-28-2008, 02:28 PM
Sure it does. The police in many situations get to use the value of confiscated property to add to their budget.

How many prisons are run out of the local Police forces budget?

Letting cops keep the spoils of drug raids and such is nothing more than Roman style Tax Farming.

It's just as bad an idea now as it was then.

????

You're still making no sense. Throwing people in jail isn't a money making action. Period. The only way having someone behind bars could generate profit is if a 3rd party was handling it and could reduce the cost of incarceration below the fee from the gov. For local and state govs there isn't any way to jigger it to make money.

And seizures have nothing to do with jail time anyway. Two totally unconnected issues. Or at least they don't have to be connected.

If what your saying was accurate cops would throw every speeder in jail and push habeas corpus to keep them there as long as possible. And they don't.

There are issues with the way we incarcerate people but profit? Nope.

Adept Havelock
02-28-2008, 02:39 PM
????

You're still making no sense. Throwing people in jail isn't a money making action. Period. The only way having someone behind bars could generate profit is if a 3rd party was handling it and could reduce the cost of incarceration below the fee from the gov. For local and state govs there isn't any way to jigger it to make money.

And seizures have nothing to do with jail time anyway. Two totally unconnected issues. Or at least they don't have to be connected.

If what your saying was accurate cops would throw every speeder in jail and push habeas corpus to keep them there as long as possible. And they don't.


I notice your ignoring my point that most folks (like with entitlement programs) aren't going to think beyond their own (or their departments own) bottom line.

I'm saying that incarceration rates are (in part) driven by a short-sighted policy concerning property confiscation. Let me put it this way:


Here's Joe Pothead. He's generally a decent guy, taking care of his responsibilities. He doesn't break the law at all except when it comes to his preferred form of intoxication.

Cops decide to arrest Joe Pothead, suspecting he has a personal stash on some very valuable property he owns. Sure, there are plenty of other criminals around, but going after this guy adds to the budgets bottom line, which gets you in good with the brass as well.

The Cops arrest Joe Pothead, seize his property, and the DEA kicks back a good chunk to the local police force budget.

At that point, some cops no longer care. They have got what they wanted. However, the system pushes Joe through and locks him up in a nice little privately-operated prison facility.

Joe's incarceration is an unintended consequence of the policy of property seizure.

The broken system that incarcerated him will be lobbied for by the Private Prison, who is making a few bucks off the state for locking Joe up.

The example I gave is very similar to a seizure case a few years ago in CA, IIRC.


There are issues with the way we incarcerate people but profit? Nope.

So the for-profit Private Prison industry has zero interest in (for example) prolonging an incarceration policy that incarcerates low-grade drug offenders and other non-violent offenders?

I wish I could believe that a business would be interested in cutting their own profits.

pikesome
02-28-2008, 02:42 PM
Sure it does.

The police in many situations get to use the value of confiscated property to add to their budget.


This has nothing to do with jail time. Look up the rules for seizures, drug ones in particular. They don't require jail time, they don't even require convictions. Seizing and not incarcerating would be far more profitable because there would be far lower expenses.

How many prisons are run out of the budget for the local police force? Corrections is usually a separate budgeting entity, IIRC.

Jail time isn't even distributed by police forces. They arrest, they don't convict and sentence. But I guess you could try to convince me that the seizing unit somehow, for some reason gets people who shouldn't be in jail put there. How this becomes profitable to anyone you'll have to explain. Especially how they get the courts, who don't get that seizure money, to play along.

More arrests and confiscations=more money for the cops local budgets. Sure, the Dept. of Corrections budget might grow so large that it will eventually draw down the budget for the local police.

None of this explains how putting more people in jail = more money.

That said, which is more likely the thought process at work:

1) If we confiscate that property, we can use it to fund a purchase of XYZ equipment.

or

2) We should not confiscate that property or arrest that guy. Eventually, it might end up hurting our budget because the funds for incarceration has to come from somewhere.


Uhhh, what? You still haven't explained how more people in jail = more money.

From what I know of human nature, I suspect #1 is far more common. It's the same lack of a complete thought process that drives many entitlement programs.

Letting cops keep the spoils of drug raids and such is nothing more than Roman style Tax Farming.

It's just as bad an idea now as it was two thousand years ago, for largely the same reasons.

Here we're in agreement. Too bad this thread has very little to do with seizures and a lot more to do with having a significant part of the population in jail.

As for the rest of the first part...when you make Private Prisons (for-profit) part of the system, they are going to have a vested interest in lobbying to maintain a broken system that incarcerates people for stupid crap. Why? Though it costs the state, it makes the owner of the private prison money.

Maybe. In order for private prisons to be profitable you have to keep the average cost per head below the income per head. Adding volume doesn't necessarily make that easier.

It still doesn't describe how gov run jails generate money.

pikesome
02-28-2008, 02:47 PM
His incarceration is an unintended consequence of the policy of property seizure.



Bullshit. His incarceration is the very much intended consequence of him breaking the law.

Adept Havelock
02-28-2008, 02:57 PM
Bullshit. His incarceration is the very much intended consequence of him breaking the law.

IMO, both play their part, but I'm sure you can't bring yourself to admit that. ;)

Don't get me wrong, I'm no cop-basher. I've made my respect for the majority of the Thin Blue Line very clear. I think allowing them to keep confiscated property is a phenomenally stupid and short-sighted policy, as it helps maintain an (IMO) clearly broken system.

This isn't a cop bash. It's a policy bash.

Or is it the fact I'm pointing out that profit just might be a bad thing in one or two instances that's sticking in your craw? :hmmm:

If you believe profit can't have a bad effect, I suggest you look into the history of Roman Tax Farming.

Now, how about addressing my points regarding the for-profit prison industry driving poor incarceration policy?

Are you going to try to convince me those companies are altruistic and not at all interested in keeping the numbers of prisoners they incarcerate (and thus, their profits) as high as possible?

It's pretty simple, IMO. When you give people a motive (profit) to follow policies that lead to mass incarceration, they are going to support those policies. :shrug:

It still doesn't describe how gov run jails generate money.


:spock:
I don't believe I ever said they did.

I said that allowing LEA's to profit from property seizure has an unintended consequence of leading to greater incarceration rates for certain (IMO) minor crimes. I also suggested that a for-profit private prison industry has a serious interest in keeping that population as high as possible, as most are paid per inmate/per day.

Cave Johnson
02-28-2008, 03:08 PM
Seizing and not incarcerating would be far more profitable because there would be far lower expenses.

That may be true on a macro level, but incarceration expenses are paid by the state but the benefits accrue locally. Hence the perverse incentives.

Jail time isn't even distributed by police forces. They arrest, they don't convict and sentence. But I guess you could try to convince me that the seizing unit somehow, for some reason gets people who shouldn't be in jail put there. How this becomes profitable to anyone you'll have to explain. Especially how they get the courts, who don't get that seizure money, to play along.

Mandatory minimum sentencing.

Maybe. In order for private prisons to be profitable you have to keep the average cost per head below the income per head. Adding volume doesn't necessarily make that easier.

It still doesn't describe how gov run jails generate money.

You don't think prisons have significant fixed costs and are more profitable to run completely full than just partially full?

pikesome
02-28-2008, 03:13 PM
IMO, both play their part, but I'm sure you can't bring yourself to admit that. ;)

Don't get me wrong, I'm no cop-basher. I've made my respect for the majority of the Thin Blue Line very clear. I think allowing them to keep confiscated property is a phenomenally stupid and short-sighted policy, as it helps maintain an (IMO) clearly broken system.

This isn't a cop bash. It's a policy bash.

Or is it the fact I'm pointing out that profit just might be a bad thing in one or two instances that's sticking in your craw? :hmmm:

If you believe profit can't have a bad effect, I suggest you look into the history of Roman Tax Farming.

Now, how about addressing my other points regarding the for-profit prison industry driving a bad incarceration policy?

Or are you going to try to convince me those companies are altruistic and not at all interested in keeping the numbers of prisoners they incarcerate (and thus, their profits) as high as possible?

Profit motive isn't the problem here no matter how much you want it to be.

Knee jerk laws or laws pandering to the public's need to feel safe are candidates. A lack of concern for the well being of criminals (why help them improve, screw em), a desire by those who get laws passed to control the actions of everyone else, overly restrictive laws stemming from fundamentalist morality, could also be argued.

But linking "too many people in jail" to "the cops make money by seizing stuff" is dumb. If we're going to fix the problem, figuring out the problem in detail is the start and this crap ain't it.

Adept Havelock
02-28-2008, 03:24 PM
Profit motive isn't the problem here no matter how much you want it to be.

So you believe the for-profit Private Prison industry has no interest in maintaining a broken system? Really?

Wow. An entire industry of altruists who are paid by-prisoner/by-day who want to cut their own throats. That's extraordinary.


Knee jerk laws or laws pandering to the public's need to feel safe are candidates. A lack of concern for the well being of criminals (why help them improve, screw em), a desire by those who get laws passed to control the actions of everyone else, overly restrictive laws stemming from fundamentalist morality, could also be argued.

I would certainly agree with most of those points. However, I don't believe they are mutually exclusive. I think it's a case of both arguments being factors.


But linking "too many people in jail" to "the cops make money by seizing stuff" is dumb.
In your opinion. I believe I made a pretty decent case for how "too many people in jail" is in part driven by short-sighted policies like private prisons and property confiscation.


If we're going to fix the problem, figuring out the problem in detail is the start and this crap ain't it.
I agree with the former point, but obviously disagree with the latter.

I have no problem with profit in general (it would be foolish to, IMO), it's just this is one of those rare cases (like Roman Tax Farming) where it has more negative consequences than positive. I know that the notion profit could have a negative consequence is heresy to some, but it seems quite clearly to be part of the problem here.


That may be true on a macro level, but incarceration expenses are paid by the state but the benefits accrue locally. Hence the perverse incentives.
Precisely why I made my point comparing it to the (IMO) flawed thought processes supporting many entitlement programs.



You don't think prisons have significant fixed costs and are more profitable to run completely full than just partially full?
An excellent point, as it also factors with per-prisoner/per-day payoffs.

pikesome
02-28-2008, 03:28 PM
That may be true on a macro level, but incarceration expenses are paid by the state but the benefits accrue locally. Hence the perverse incentives.

I'll buy this on occasion but as a systemic problem? Far fetched. Most government funding isn't "per head" and any other way makes incarcerating people a money losing action. People in jail can not make the cost of their stay, let alone a profit for anyone.

I do know that some communities set up jails and run them as money makers, importing prisoners from over crowded jail systems. These groups don't put the people there in the first place however. They have no input in the arresting, trying, or convicting of the prisoner before they get them.


Mandatory minimum sentencing.

Uhh... I think you're confusing the legislature with the police. And their motivations. Considering the get deal of resistance judges have to sentencing guidelines (their softness on criminals being the reason for them in the first place), you're going to have to expound on how this makes someone money.

You don't think prisons have significant fixed costs and are more profitable to run completely full than just partially full?

I'd buy in to this if there was someway to make a prisoner make money. Even if he's punching plates I doubt he's making what he costs the DOC.

Cave Johnson
02-28-2008, 03:32 PM
I have no problem with profit in general (it would be foolish to, IMO), it's just this is one of those rare cases (like Roman Tax Farming) where it has more negative consequences than positive.

Thanks for the info. It puts the 2 seasons of Rome I watched in better context, especially the gang subplot.

Adept Havelock
02-28-2008, 03:34 PM
I'd buy in to this if there was someway to make a prisoner make money. Even if he's punching plates I doubt he's making what he costs the DOC.

While I don't care for the hosting publication, the article is a decent discussion of the subject. It's dated 2002, but this trend hasn't changed. I'll see if I can find some more recent data on Corporate America using prison workforces. I doubt the public prisons are making much cash off of it, but I can't see the private prisons embracing it unless it was making them money. :shrug:


When most of us think of convicts at work, we picture them banging out license plates or digging ditches. Those images, however, are now far too limited to encompass the great range of jobs that America's prison workforce is performing. If you book a flight on TWA, you'll likely be talking to a prisoner at a California correctional facility that the airline uses for its reservations service. Microsoft has used Washington State prisoners to pack and ship Windows software. AT&T has used prisoners for telemarketing; Honda, for manufacturing parts; and even Toys "R" Us, for cleaning and stocking shelves for the next day's customers.

During the past 20 years, more than 30 states have enacted laws permitting the use of convict labor by private enterprise. While at present only about 80,000 U.S. inmates are engaged in commercial activity, the rapid growth in America's prison population and the attendant costs of incarceration suggest there will be strong pressures to put more prisoners to work. And it's not hard to figure what corporations like about prison labor: it's vastly cheaper than free labor. In Ohio, for example, a Honda supplier pays its prison workers $2 an hour for the same work for which the UAW has fought for decades to be paid $20 to $30 an hour. Konica has hired prisoners to repair its copiers for less than 50 cents an hour. And in Oregon, private companies can "lease" prisoners for only $3 a day.

But the attractions of prison labor extend well beyond low wages. The prison labor system does away with statutory protections that progressives and unions have fought so hard to achieve over the last 100 years. Companies that use prison labor create islands of time in which, in terms of labor relations at least, it's still the late nineteenth century. Prison employers pay no health insurance, no unemployment insurance, no payroll or Social Security taxes, no workers' compensation, no vacation time, sick leave, or overtime. In fact, to the extent that prisoners have "benefits" like health insurance, the state picks up the tab. Prison workers can be hired, fired, or reassigned at will. Not only do they have no right to organize or strike; they also have no means of filing a grievance or voicing any kind of complaint whatsoever. They have no right to circulate an employee petition or newsletter, no right to call a meeting, and no access to the press. Prison labor is the ultimate flexible and disciplined workforce.

All of these conditions apply when the state administers the prison. But the prospect of such windfall profits from prison labor has also fueled a boom in the private prison industry. Such respected money managers as Allstate, Merrill Lynch, and Shearson Lehman have all invested in private prisons. As with other privatized public services, companies that operate private prisons aim to make money by operating corrections facilities for less than what the state pays them. If they can also contract prisoners out to private enterprises—forcing inmates to work either for nothing or for a very small fraction of their "wages" and pocketing the remainder of those "wages" as corporate profit—they can open up a second revenue stream. That would make private prisons into both public service contractors and the highest-margin temp agencies in the nation.

Rest of the article is here:

http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?articleId=4503

Iowanian
02-28-2008, 03:38 PM
1 in 100 US Adults should stop breaking laws, which carry severe enough punishments for incarceration.

Adept Havelock
02-28-2008, 03:40 PM
1 in 100 US Adults should stop breaking laws, which carry severe enough punishments for incarceration.

Or perhaps the US should remove it's nose from some of it's citizens (IMO private) affairs. :shrug:

Or perhaps the US should realize that locking up a kid for a petty crime is just giving him a scholarship to "Criminal University".

pikesome
02-28-2008, 03:41 PM
So you believe the for-profit Private Prison industry has no interest in maintaining a broken system? Really?

Wow. An entire industry of altruists who are paid by-prisoner/by-day who want to cut their own throats. That's extraordinary.

Today, non-governmental enterprises, in the form of publicly traded companies, operate 264 correctional facilities housing almost 99,000 adult offenders.

99K out of 2.3 million. Wow, I bet they have a lot of pull. They're watching a whopping 4% of the prison population. Did you even look up the number of private prisons? Try again.

In your opinion. I believe I made a pretty decent case for how "too many people in jail" is in part driven by short-sighted policies like private prisons and property confiscation.

No, you haven't made a case, decent or otherwise. You've connected a problem (it could even be argued that there aren't too many people in jail) to something else you don't like about the justice system without explaining how money is being made. Who's making it? How are they getting the jails packed? Once the jail is packed how is that lining someone's pocket?

Let me read that article and I'll revisit this. You provided exactly what I was complaining about above.


I agree with the former point, but obviously disagree with the latter.

I have no problem with profit in general (it would be foolish to, IMO), it's just this is one of those rare cases (like Roman Tax Farming) where it has more negative consequences than positive. I know that the notion profit could have a negative consequence is heresy to some, but it seems quite clearly to be part of the problem here.

You keep bring up the Romans. Tax Farming (if that's what you consider current seizure laws) has nothing to do with putting people in jail. I don't like it either but that's not why so many people are in jail.

Cave Johnson
02-28-2008, 03:45 PM
I'll buy this on occasion but as a systemic problem? Far fetched. Most government funding isn't "per head" and any other way makes incarcerating people a money losing action. People in jail can not make the cost of their stay, let alone a profit for anyone.

I'm too lazy/busy to look at all 50 states, but here's CA and LA that pay per head.

http://realcostofprisons.org/blog/archives/2006/09/al_private_pris.html

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/1106-05.htm

Btw, read the article for a glimpse at how efficient the free market is at managing prisons.

Uhh... I think you're confusing the legislature with the police. And their motivations. Considering the get deal of resistance judges have to sentencing guidelines (their softness on criminals being the reason for them in the first place), you're going to have to expound on how this makes someone money.

Am I? Your point was how do you get the courts to play along. My response was that specifically for federal drug crimes, there is no "playing along". Crime A = Sentence B.

pikesome
02-28-2008, 03:51 PM
While I don't care for the hosting publication, the article is a decent discussion of the subject. It's dated 2002, but this trend hasn't changed. I'll see if I can find some more recent data on Corporate America using prison workforces. I doubt the public prisons are making much cash off of it, but I can't see the private prisons embracing it unless it was making them money. :shrug:


When most of us think of convicts at work, we picture them banging out license plates or digging ditches. Those images, however, are now far too limited to encompass the great range of jobs that America's prison workforce is performing. If you book a flight on TWA, you'll likely be talking to a prisoner at a California correctional facility that the airline uses for its reservations service. Microsoft has used Washington State prisoners to pack and ship Windows software. AT&T has used prisoners for telemarketing; Honda, for manufacturing parts; and even Toys "R" Us, for cleaning and stocking shelves for the next day's customers.

During the past 20 years, more than 30 states have enacted laws permitting the use of convict labor by private enterprise. While at present only about 80,000 U.S. inmates are engaged in commercial activity, the rapid growth in America's prison population and the attendant costs of incarceration suggest there will be strong pressures to put more prisoners to work. And it's not hard to figure what corporations like about prison labor: it's vastly cheaper than free labor. In Ohio, for example, a Honda supplier pays its prison workers $2 an hour for the same work for which the UAW has fought for decades to be paid $20 to $30 an hour. Konica has hired prisoners to repair its copiers for less than 50 cents an hour. And in Oregon, private companies can "lease" prisoners for only $3 a day.

But the attractions of prison labor extend well beyond low wages. The prison labor system does away with statutory protections that progressives and unions have fought so hard to achieve over the last 100 years. Companies that use prison labor create islands of time in which, in terms of labor relations at least, it's still the late nineteenth century. Prison employers pay no health insurance, no unemployment insurance, no payroll or Social Security taxes, no workers' compensation, no vacation time, sick leave, or overtime. In fact, to the extent that prisoners have "benefits" like health insurance, the state picks up the tab. Prison workers can be hired, fired, or reassigned at will. Not only do they have no right to organize or strike; they also have no means of filing a grievance or voicing any kind of complaint whatsoever. They have no right to circulate an employee petition or newsletter, no right to call a meeting, and no access to the press. Prison labor is the ultimate flexible and disciplined workforce.

All of these conditions apply when the state administers the prison. But the prospect of such windfall profits from prison labor has also fueled a boom in the private prison industry. Such respected money managers as Allstate, Merrill Lynch, and Shearson Lehman have all invested in private prisons. As with other privatized public services, companies that operate private prisons aim to make money by operating corrections facilities for less than what the state pays them. If they can also contract prisoners out to private enterprises—forcing inmates to work either for nothing or for a very small fraction of their "wages" and pocketing the remainder of those "wages" as corporate profit—they can open up a second revenue stream. That would make private prisons into both public service contractors and the highest-margin temp agencies in the nation.

Rest of the article is here:

http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?articleId=4503

There's some good points in there. It still doesn't support the idea that we're packing prisons for monetary reasons. People are figuring out how to make money off all these prisoners. And I'm not about the argue that's good either. It's a big leap, however, to conspiring to put them in jail in the first place let alone that the reason is money.

Adept Havelock
02-28-2008, 03:57 PM
99K out of 2.3 million. Wow, I bet they have a lot of pull. They're watching a whopping 4% of the prison population. Did you even look up the number of private prisons? Try again.

So does the private prison industry have an interest in keeping it's head-count as high as possible or not? If they've only got 4% of the total population to profit from, why wouldn't they want the total they get the 4% of as high as possible?


No, you haven't made a case, decent or otherwise. You've connected a problem (it could even be argued that there aren't too many people in jail) to something else you don't like about the justice system without explaining how money is being made. Who's making it? How are they getting the jails packed? Once the jail is packed how is that lining someone's pocket?
I did explain it, in detail. You rejected it with "nuh-uh, it was because he broke the law". However, disagreement does not equal negation. :shrug:


You keep bring up the Romans. If a model fits, I stick with it.


Tax Farming (if that's what you consider current seizure laws) has nothing to do with putting people in jail.

Really? So people aren't more likely to do something (confiscate property and make an arrest that might lead to incarceration) if they might profit from it by adding to their local budget? Even if that "profit" is ultimately illusory (like "Free Money" from the government)? I think they are.

For example, a cop might not bust a guy with an unsmoked joint in his shirt pocket (remember...it's a pothead we're dealing with here) walking down the street. However, if he notices the guy getting into a Dodge Viper with that same joint in his pocket? That Viper means big $$$ for the department from the auction. Suddenly that bust that wasn't worth the paperwork hassle looks very different.


I don't like it either but that's not why so many people are in jail.

I don't like it, and I certainly don't think it's the only reason for our absurd rate of incarceration. I do think it's one of many factors, and see no reason to simply dismiss it, as you apparently do.

There's some good points in there. It still doesn't support the idea that we're packing prisons for monetary reasons. People are figuring out how to make money off all these prisoners. And I'm not about the argue that's good either. It's a big leap, however, to conspiring to put them in jail in the first place let alone that the reason is money.

The only ones I've said are "packing prisons" for profit are the private prison industry, for obvious reasons. I don't think it's a "conspiracy", just a business looking after their own bottom line by keeping incarceration rates high. Why else would CCA (for example) fund "tough on Law and Order" candidates?

I've also suggested that it's an unintended consequence of letting cops keep the proceeds of property confiscation. That's all I've really said, AFAICS.

I believe we're going to have to agree to disagree, though I think our only point of real contention is I think profit motive is one of many factors in the problem of mass incarceration, and you see it as no factor at all. :shrug:

pikesome
02-28-2008, 04:00 PM
I'm too lazy/busy to look at all 50 states, but here's CA and LA that pay per head.

http://realcostofprisons.org/blog/archives/2006/09/al_private_pris.html

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/1106-05.htm

Btw, read the article for a glimpse at how efficient the free market is at managing prisons.

That first article makes one wonder if part of the solution is to quit incarcerating illegals and deport them. It also seems to say that, in some ways, private prisons are better than state owned.

Still neither article show a link between profit and packing jails. The percent of people in private jails is too small for me to buy that as even part of the problem.


Am I? Your point was how do you get the courts to play along. My response was that specifically for federal drug crimes, there is no "playing along". Crime A = Sentence B.

There's more than federal drug crimes. They don't figure into the profit motive?

pikesome
02-28-2008, 04:14 PM
So does the private prison industry have an interest in keeping it's head-count as high as possible or not? If they've only got 4% of the total population to profit from, why wouldn't they want the total they get the 4% of as high as possible?

:spock: How does an industry that has so few people in it wield enough power to cause an overcrowding problem? The likely explanation is that jail overcrowding has created an opportunity for profit, not the other way around.


I did explain it, in detail. You rejected it with "nuh-uh, it was because he broke the law" doesn't really negate that. However, disagreement does not equal negation. :shrug:

I had a bit more than that post to say, try re-reading them.

If a model fits, I stick with it.

Tax farming has nothing to do with jails or incarceration.
In essence, these individuals or groups paid the taxes for a certain area and for a certain period of time, and then attempted to cover their outlay by collecting money or saleable goods from the people within that area.[1]
They took stuff and/or money as taxes from people then paid some to Rome. The difference between what was collected and what Rome decreed was profit. Putting people in jail only hurt this process. Not quite the same as the OP.

Really? So people aren't more likely to do something (confiscate property and make an arrest that might lead to incarceration) if they might profit from it by adding to their local budget? Even if that "profit" is ultimately illusory (like "Free Money" from the government)? I think they are.

How is throwing them in jail making money? How about:

1. Grab guy and "seize" his loot.
2. Profit (there's not really any other steps, they don't need the conviction).

Or:

1. Grab guy and "seize" his loot.
2. Arrest him. (cost money)
3. Convict him. (cost money)
4. Jail him. (cost money)
5. Profit?????

I don't like it, and I certainly don't think it's the only reason for our absurd rate of incarceration. I do think it's one of many factors, and see no reason to simply dismiss it, as you apparently do.

I don't like it either, it's an affront to the Constitution (which is how they justify it). It's still the wrong tree for this particular problem. And I'm not even 100% convinced that too many people in prison is the problem. Maybe too many people not having any respect for the law or others is the problem and packed jails is the symptom.

banyon
02-28-2008, 04:25 PM
There's more than federal drug crimes. They don't figure into the profit motive?

State sentencing laws in Kansas work that way too. There are a TON of inmates who are in on nonviolent drug crimes with mandatory sentences. Judges had a lot of their discretion removed. (probably due to outrage on the right against *cough, activist judges!!111!, cough*)

pikesome
02-28-2008, 04:42 PM
State sentencing laws in Kansas work that way too. There are a TON of inmates who are in on nonviolent drug crimes with mandatory sentences. Judges had a lot of their discretion removed. (probably due to outrage on the right against *cough, activist judges!!111!, cough*)

I've heard this argument from some judge friends of my father, the reality is judges only have as much "discretion" as the legislature gives them. It was that way before the matrix, it's that way now. The legislature just decided they're not comfortable giving judges as much slack. Of course they bitch but judges have the same power the rest of us do, elect someone who will change the sentencing rules.

Adept Havelock
02-28-2008, 04:45 PM
I had a bit more than that post to say, try re-reading them.
I did. That was essentially your response to my scenario of how confiscation might contribute to mass incarceration.



They took stuff and/or money as taxes from people then paid some to Rome. The difference between what was collected and what Rome decreed was profit. Putting people in jail only hurt this process. Not quite the same as the OP.
Cops taking stuff, the DEA keeps some and kicks the rest back to them. I don't see the difference. Both are (IMO) outright theft by an agent of the government seeking to profit from it. The fact that one profits personally and the other professionally is inconsequential, IMO. :shrug:



How is throwing them in jail making money?
For the last time, throwing them in jail isn't making the police force any money. The person getting thrown in jail is sometimes a consequence of the police "making money" by confiscation.

In case you missed it...here's another example. A cop might not bust a guy with an unsmoked joint in his shirt pocket (remember...it's a pothead we're dealing with here) walking down the street. However, if he notices the guy getting into a Dodge Viper with that same joint in his pocket? That Viper means big $$$ for the department from the auction. Suddenly that bust that wasn't worth the paperwork hassle looks very different.

Now, if they get tossed into a prison run by CCA or one of it's competitors, only then is throwing them in jail making someone money. As such, if I was running CCA I would make damn sure my corporation supported candidates and legislation whose approach to crime is incarceration, rather than one whose approach is rehabilitation outside of the prison system. That approach is only reinforcing the broken Justice system, IMO.


1. Grab guy and "seize" his loot.
2. Profit (there's not really any other steps, they don't need the conviction).

Or:

1. Grab guy and "seize" his loot.
2. Arrest him. (cost money)
3. Convict him. (cost money)
4. Jail him. (cost money)
5. Profit?????


In the latter example, the monies from #3 and #4 don't come from the cops, so it's furthering an illusion of profit from confiscation (which doesn't change the motive behind it). #2 is a necessary expenditure to stem off the inevitable public outrage every time a force tries your first approach. See the response in a number of threads here to the DEA outright seizing cash from people without an arrest for examples.


I don't like it either, it's an affront to the Constitution (which is how they justify it).
There we fully agree


It's still the wrong tree for this particular problem.
There we disagree. I think it's part of the problem, but far from all of it.

And I'm not even 100% convinced that too many people in prison is the problem. Maybe too many people not having any respect for the law or others is the problem and packed jails is the symptom.

It's likely a chunk of both, but I'm inclined to think that when the "most free" nation on the face of the Earth has a greater percentage of it's population locked up than any other country, the Justice system itself is a big part of the problem.

As I said, I think our only real contention is I think the profit factor plays some part in the problem, and you are convinced that can't possibly be true. I suspect this is a case where it's necessary to agree to disagree.

pikesome
02-28-2008, 04:59 PM
Ok Havelock, we might be chewing on the same bone here. Let me restate some of this to get to the meat of our differences.

1. Seizures are bad. At least the way they are being practiced now. I can accept the concept but I want it to work far different than currently.

2. There might be too many people in jail. I'm not sold on this idea but keeping as many people as we do in jail is expensive even if they are all there for a good reason. Finding a way to lower the number is a good idea.

3. I'm not in favor of lowering sentences as a solution to the population problem. Give me rehab programs, parole for good behavior, furlows, I'm open to other ideas besides throwing in the towel. Which is how I see a unilateral decrease in sentences without anything from the convict.

4. I'm for tabling the "profit motive" talk, we don't see eye to eye but it shouldn't be too big an issue. We can bark at each other over solutions, that might be effort better spent.

Adept Havelock
02-28-2008, 05:12 PM
Ok Havelock, we might be chewing on the same bone here. Let me restate some of this to get to the meat of our differences.

1. Seizures are bad. At least the way they are being practiced now. I can accept the concept but I want it to work far different than currently.
I wholeheartedly agree. A little respect from LEA's for Article VI is long overdue on this issue.

2. There might be too many people in jail. I'm not sold on this idea but keeping as many people as we do in jail is expensive even if they are all there for a good reason. Finding a way to lower the number is a good idea.Again, I agree. I think there are too many, but I also believe there are plenty of folks who aren't left in there nearly long enough.

3. I'm not in favor of lowering sentences as a solution to the population problem. Give me rehab programs, parole for good behavior, furlows, I'm open to other ideas besides throwing in the towel. Which is how I see a unilateral decrease in sentences without anything from the convict.
I am to a point. I see no reason to incarcerate someone because they prefer (for example) getting silly with some substance other than alcohol as long as they meet their other responsibilities, or other personal issues like that. To me that's not throwing in the towel, as much as it is Govt. dropping a foolish policy. I think for many rehabilitation is superior to simple incarceration, but I'll also acknowledge that some folks can't be and won't be helped.

4. I'm for tabling the "profit motive" talk, we don't see eye to eye but it shouldn't be too big an issue. We can bark at each other over solutions, that might be effort better spent.
I'm always happy to agree to disagree. Thanks for the discussion.

BTW- Did I pay for the five minute argument or the full hour? :p

Iowanian
02-28-2008, 05:57 PM
Or perhaps the US should remove it's nose from some of it's citizens (IMO private) affairs. :shrug:

Or perhaps the US should realize that locking up a kid for a petty crime is just giving him a scholarship to "Criminal University".

Lets see some examples of these innocent kids locked up for very little.....I'd also like to see how many convictions of other "petty crimes" they had prior to sentencing.

I suppose if we'd just execute everyone with life without parole, run them through like a hog killing floor that would make a lot of room in prison.

I'll make a deal....You can make drugs legal, if its a "free pass" to shoot a criminal committing a crime while on drugs or drunk? If someone is stealing from you for pot money....its the owners right to shoot them. That would detour "petty crime".

A crime is "petty" until its your shit being stolen.

Mr. Flopnuts
02-28-2008, 06:05 PM
That's what happens when you make Law Enforcement (through property seizure) and Prisons a for-profit enterprise.

Well, that combined with an absolutely inane approach to handling non-violent and "victimless" crime.

I haven't read this thread yet, but I made this comment a year or so ago and was called a nut job for saying that prisons = profit. The profit is not ours, it's made from us. It was made pretty clear in that article the amount of money made on the prison system. It's another way to justify taking it from you and me. Way too many people are in jail for DUMB SHIT. I'm sick of paying for it. Let the potsmokers, and petty criminals out. Fine them, community service (That should save tax money), etc. Find a cheaper alternative to punishing people who don't pose REAL threats.

Mr. Flopnuts
02-28-2008, 06:07 PM
Sure it makes sense.

The police in many situations get to use the value of confiscated property to add to their budget.

How many prisons are run out of the budget for the local police force? Corrections is usually a separate budgeting entity, IIRC.

More arrests and confiscations=more money for the cops local budget. Sure, the Dept. of Corrections budget might grow so large that it will eventually draw down the budget for the local police.

That said, which is more likely the thought process at work?

1) If we arrest that guy and confiscate his property, we can use it to fund a purchase of XYZ equipment.

or

2) We should not confiscate that property or arrest that guy. Eventually, it might end up hurting our budget because the funds for incarceration have to come from somewhere.

From what I know of human nature, I suspect #1 is far more common. It's the same lack of a complete thought process that drives many entitlement programs.

Letting cops keep the spoils of drug raids and such is nothing more than Roman style Tax Farming.

It's just as bad an idea now as it was two thousand years ago, for largely the same reasons.

As for the rest of the first part...when you make Private Prisons (for-profit) part of the system, they are going to have a vested interest in lobbying to maintain a broken system that incarcerates people for stupid crap. Why? Though it costs the state, it makes the owner of the private prison money.

IMO, those two moronic policies have quite a bit to do with this country having one of the highest incarceration rates in the world.


QFT

'Hamas' Jenkins
02-28-2008, 06:08 PM
If someone's in jail, then they obviously deserve to be there.

Basically half of the prison population is comprised of non-violent drug offenders. Of course, since most prisons in the US are basically Thunderdome, by the time they get out, they have become so hardened by their experience that they come out worse than what they came in as.

IIRC, the US has the highest rate of incarceration of any Westernized country.

Iowanian
02-28-2008, 06:12 PM
Imagine if they'd have chosen to simply follow the law and leave the pipe alone.


Very few prison inmates are there for having a little personal use bag.


If there was really any profit, considering the incarceration numbers, the govt would be filthy rich.

Its a bogus arguement.

Taxpayers fund the incarceration of these criminals. I think its FINE if the $10k in drug money
under their seat goes to the govt if they are convicted.

Adept Havelock
02-28-2008, 06:20 PM
I'll make a deal....You can make drugs legal, if its a "free pass" to shoot a criminal committing a crime while on drugs or drunk?
Why should their state of intoxication or sobriety bear on the response to a crime? Is there a different law for "stealing while drunk" than "stealing while sober"? No. Why? It's a silly concept.

Driving and other activities are already covered.

If someone is stealing from you for pot money....its the owners right to shoot them.

Fine by me.



Taxpayers fund the incarceration of these criminals. I think its FINE if the $10k in drug money
under their seat goes to the govt if they are convicted.

And I'm sure the fact they can grab it without an arrest, conviction, or anything more than an accusation is fine with you too.

After all, what's a 200+ year legacy of "innocence until proven guilty", Article VI of the US Constitution, and a legal tradition of "burden of proof is on the accuser" mean when stacked against "GITTIN' SOME RIGHTEOUS PAYBACK" against people who do something you personally disagree with. :rolleyes:

I've always preferred the Grape to the Green, but I really don't think it's the governments business if someone does either, unless it's proven their act is putting someone else in harms way.

Iowanian
02-28-2008, 06:27 PM
I know several people who are or have been in prison, including one of my best friends, for drug crimes.

ALL of them had chances, and blew it.....and most had another chance that they blew before being sentenced, and THEN only spent a small portion of their sentence actually incacerated. ALL of them deserved it.

It seems to me in the case of a drug arrest, they get their property back if not convicted. If large sums of cash are found, and they can't show a legal means of acquiring it......

People aren't doing time in prison for smoking a J at home.


You're right though...It shouldn't matter if someone is drunk or high....If someone is stealing your property or has harmed your family(rape et al), I'm all for eye for an eye justice.

Iowanian
02-28-2008, 06:29 PM
Your act of smoking the J might not be harmful to anyone else....What about the chain of suppliers who are using that money. Is anyone upstream from your peace pipe being harmed? Are you sure??

Legalize smoke if you want to...I don't care. Just tax the living shit out of it, weld shut the uterus of any pregnant woman who can't pass a drug test, and give employers protection to fire people who are impaired, or pathetic workers due to their legal habit.

Adept Havelock
02-28-2008, 06:33 PM
I know several people who are or have been in prison, including one of my best friends, for drug crimes.

ALL of them had chances, and blew it.....and most had another chance that they blew before being sentenced, and THEN only spent a small portion of their sentence actually incacerated. ALL of them deserved it.

Some do, some don't. If somebody is arrested because they robbed someone for drugs, or pushed them on kids, etc. that's one thing. If someone was arrested because they had a baggie in their pocket, I think it's a load of crap. IMO, It's not my or the governments business if someone wants to kill themselves slowly with drugs...or rapidly with a .45 or legal painkillers for that matter.

It seems to me in the case of a drug arrest, they get their property back if not convicted. If large sums of cash are found, and they can't show a legal means of acquiring it......
Most of the time, they don't. That's one reason seizure is a problem. It doesn't even require an arrest. As for proving how they acquired it, I defer to the legal tradition of the burden of proof being on the accuser. It's the prosecutions job to prove it's ill-gotten. Yeah, it's annoying and hard work for the prosecuter, but no system worth having is easy.

You're right though...It shouldn't matter if someone is drunk or high....If someone is stealing your property or has harmed your family(rape et al), I'm all for eye for an eye justice.
Thanks.

Your act of smoking the J might not be harmful to anyone else....What about the chain of suppliers who are using that money. Is anyone upstream from your peace pipe being harmed? Are you sure??

Sounds like a case for legalization and taxation to me. Prohibition only aggravates problems like that. See the failed Constitutional amendment on prohibition for further details.


Legalize smoke if you want to...I don't care. Just tax the living shit out of it,
That makes a hell of a lot more sense than what we are doing, at least to me.


weld shut the uterus of any pregnant woman who can't pass a drug test,
A little too close to Eugenics for my taste, though I can understand the sentiment behind it.


and give employers protection to fire people who are impaired, or pathetic workers due to their legal habit.
They already can. I've seen plenty of drunks fired over the years. Fired one myself. No need for additional legislation there. :shrug:

I understand where you are coming from about "petty" crime not being "petty" when it happens to you, but I think just shipping a 15-16 yo to "The Big House" for stealing a stereo or TV is likely only going to teach him to be a better criminal. Another approach might work better. JMO.

Iowanian
02-28-2008, 06:38 PM
Personally, I think very small amounts (1/8th) should be a civil pentalty, $100 and go on your way.

My real issue is with harder drugs, particularly women who give birth to addicted or afflicted babies and the deadbeat drugged up "dad's".

I'm not really discriminating, I hate all dirtbags equally.

Adept Havelock
02-28-2008, 06:50 PM
Personally, I think very small amounts (1/8th) should be a civil pentalty, $100 and go on your way.

My real issue is with harder drugs, particularly women who give birth to addicted or afflicted babies and the deadbeat drugged up "dad's".

I'm not really discriminating, I hate all dirtbags equally.

I really don't see much difference with whatever someone wants to blow their top off with, but even I do have some reservations about legalizing hard stuff.

I just have a hard time rationalizing locking someone up for putting something in their body, as long as they aren't hurting anyone other than themselves, or making that the government's business.

I can certainly agree with your perspective as it pertains to women who use during pregnancy and "dads" who go along with it. "Dirtbags" is a kind word to describe them, IMO. I suspect the profanity filters would block a more accurate description.

Granted, those folks don't pass my "aren't hurting anyone else" test. Not by a long shot.

pikesome
02-28-2008, 06:57 PM
Would changing simple possession (whatever amount that is) from jail time to seizure of said drugs(just said drugs) and a ticket, the $100 Iowanian suggested sounds ok, work?

There are good arguments for legalizing some drugs but just as many good arguments for outlawing tobacco and alcohol.

Iowanian
02-28-2008, 07:01 PM
Its the big picture for me.

You, the occasional recreational user of smoked oregano likely doesn't hurt a damn thing. I'm sure its true for the majority of huka-mericans.

In the big picture, its been purchased from someone. Is it a friend who grew it in their home that only sells to adult friends? Do they have kids in their home they put at risk by having it? Did it come from a random "dealer" who got it from a distributor who got it from a wholesaler who will kill people who owe him money? Is the money from that being used to fund worse activities? Is it being smuggled in from other countries where God knows whats done to get it to you and how many people are harmed? Is it laced? If it is, are tax payers responsible to pay your ER bill or have their insurance rates affected?

I see the domino effect that really does hurt someone, even if it doesn't during the burn itself.

I'll likely never be convinced of legalizing harder drugs......Meth and other drugs have destroyed too many people I know.

Adept Havelock
02-28-2008, 07:04 PM
Would changing simple possession (whatever amount that is) from jail time to seizure of said drugs(just said drugs) and a ticket, the $100 Iowanian suggested sounds ok, work?

Only if you believe it's the governments business what you or someone else puts in their body. :shrug:

There are good arguments for legalizing some drugs but just as many good arguments for outlawing tobacco and alcohol.

Sure, there are a number of arguments, most based on the same belief mentioned above. However, there are a few based on arguments regarding Govt. provided Health Care. ;)

IMO, those are dramatically outweighed by the argument made by the similarity between the WOD and the failed 18th Amendment.

Its the big picture for me.
As it is for me.



In the big picture, its been purchased from someone. Is it a friend who grew it in their home that only sells to adult friends? Do they have kids in their home they put at risk by having it? Did it come from a random "dealer" who got it from a distributor who got it from a wholesaler who will kill people who owe him money? Is the money from that being used to fund worse activities? Is it being smuggled in from other countries where God knows whats done to get it to you and how many people are harmed? Is it laced? If it is, are tax payers responsible to pay your ER bill or have their insurance rates affected?

To me, that's a great argument against prohibition and for regulation, and above all else, taxation.

It's also a pretty good argument against govt. health care, IMO.


I see the domino effect that really does hurt someone, even if it doesn't during the burn itself.
Sad but true.

Meth and other drugs have destroyed too many people I know.
I'd agree. I just think it's their choice, not the governments. No more than it is the govts. job to save people from themselves.

pikesome
02-28-2008, 07:12 PM
Only if you believe it's the governments business what you or someone else puts in their body. :shrug:

Yea, I know. It's hard for me to reconcile my "leave me alone" position with my dislike of legalized drugs. I guess I just feel like, in this issue at least, my fellow Americans probably are too stupid to be allowed to decide for themselves.


Sure, there are a number of arguments, most based on the same belief mentioned above. However, there are a few based on arguments regarding Govt. provided Health Care. ;)

IMO, those are dramatically outweighed by the argument made by the similarity between the WOD and the failed 18th Amendment.

Prohibition failed because most people didn't want to quit drinking. Drugs don't share the same level of support across the populace.

Adept Havelock
02-28-2008, 07:17 PM
Yea, I know. It's hard for me to reconcile my "leave me alone" position with my dislike of legalized drugs. I guess I just feel like, in this issue at least, my fellow Americans probably are too stupid to be allowed to decide for themselves.

Careful, that kind of thinking can lead to thinking the Government's job is to save us from ourselves. ;)


Prohibition failed because most people didn't want to quit drinking. Drugs don't share the same level of support across the populace.
True, but the problems it generates are exactly the same. Some might argue they are even worse. I think that's a pretty clear argument it's not working any better this time than it did the first.

What's the definition of insanity again? :hmmm:

pikesome
02-28-2008, 07:46 PM
What's the definition of insanity again? :hmmm:

Disagreeing with me. :p

Iowanian
02-28-2008, 07:57 PM
I'd agree. I just think it's their choice, not the governments. No more than it is the govts. job to save people from themselves.


I might agree if it weren't for the other lives affected, like their children that they're not responsible enough to raise, the emotional problems and public funded therapy they need to go along with the publicly funded food and housing because "dad" chooses to put something into his body of his own free will.....because it doesn't hurt anyone but him.


I have no problem admitting bias on this subject....I know a handful of people who have OD'd, a guy who was murdered with 3 other people over pot money, and a lot of kids some of my "friends" or now, acquaintences aren't taking care of.

I saw and was exposed to some pretty bad shit in HS by people who "just liked to smoke a tray"....until they started passing out speed......and.....

Adept Havelock
02-28-2008, 08:17 PM
Disagreeing with me. :p

LMAO

Nice.



Iowanian, I can certainly understand why you feel the way you do. I've also watched some spectacular self-destructions over the years.

'Hamas' Jenkins
02-28-2008, 10:46 PM
Its the big picture for me.

You, the occasional recreational user of smoked oregano likely doesn't hurt a damn thing. I'm sure its true for the majority of huka-mericans.

In the big picture, its been purchased from someone. Is it a friend who grew it in their home that only sells to adult friends? Do they have kids in their home they put at risk by having it? Did it come from a random "dealer" who got it from a distributor who got it from a wholesaler who will kill people who owe him money? Is the money from that being used to fund worse activities? Is it being smuggled in from other countries where God knows whats done to get it to you and how many people are harmed? Is it laced? If it is, are tax payers responsible to pay your ER bill or have their insurance rates affected?

I see the domino effect that really does hurt someone, even if it doesn't during the burn itself.

Is anyone else reminded of the commercial whose logic was "If you smoke pot, you support the Taliban"?

Mr. Kotter
02-28-2008, 10:55 PM
I might agree if it weren't for the other lives affected, like their children that they're not responsible enough to raise, the emotional problems and public funded therapy they need to go along with the publicly funded food and housing because "dad" chooses to put something into his body of his own free will.....because it doesn't hurt anyone but him.


I have no problem admitting bias on this subject....I know a handful of people who have OD'd, a guy who was murdered with 3 other people over pot money, and a lot of kids some of my "friends" or now, acquaintences aren't taking care of.

I saw and was exposed to some pretty bad shit in HS by people who "just liked to smoke a tray"....until they started passing out speed......and.....

You are right.

This is the crux of the problem. Not all MJ users go on to "harder" drugs...but far too many do.

So, when that happens, and their families, careers, jobs, education, and children are impacted by that...

I suppose the rest of society is just suppose to write a blank check for rehab and support of their obligations and responsibilities...while they are "getting help?"

Maybe you don't support the Taliban; but you don't have a right to steal money from American taxpayers....because you lack self-control and the sense of responsibility to take care of you and your own.

Right. :rolleyes:

:shake:

Iowanian
02-29-2008, 07:56 AM
Is anyone else reminded of the commercial whose logic was "If you smoke pot, you support the Taliban"?

Don't worry. A lot of academics have difficulty relating real world concepts to their confined views. Reality doesn't always seem to make sense, so I can see why the above, realistic scenerio is too much to grasp. Maybe try gripping it with your roach clip.

Cochise
02-29-2008, 08:27 AM
it's a shame these people keep committing felonies