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Thread: Why I love America

  1. #11
    Administrator Will's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northumbrian View Post
    You mean they don't get Sky TV in their cells and are not allowed to take drugs or have sex with their partners whilst they are in jail? Diddums. Perhaps if our prisons were less pleasant, criminals would be more deterred from ending up there. Do you think I care about disgusting living conditions for prisoners?
    Erm, seriously, do you actually know anything about American Jails? They are absolutely rife with drugs, it is a HUGE problem in American Jails. I can't think of a single show on US prisons that doesn't show massive problems with drug abuse. They also have access to TV, Radio, Books, Internet, learning facilities, etc.. It seems you're just assuming that they live in empty rooms with a bed and nothing else.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...e-prisons.html

    On top of that, there is plenty of evidence that making prisons worse doesn't reduce crime, it increases it.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...-increases-it/
    http://faculty.som.yale.edu/keithche...nal_aler07.pdf

    I'm pretty sure you are exaggerating here, but even if you are not it doesn't make any difference. If you know the punsihment for smoking cannabis is 20-30 years in jail, then obviously don't smoke cannabis. In the Gulf States, there are extreme penalties for "trivial" things like having sexual contact with someone in a public place - everyone knows about these laws and if you break them, you only have yourself to blame.
    It's no exaggeration, it's called the Three Strike Rule. Frankly it amazes me that you would defend such an utterly ridiculous law, you're quite happy to spend all that money on incarcerating someone for 30 years for smoking three spliffs? How anyone can defend such an unbelievably idiotic waste of taxpayers money for something so trivial is beyond me. It's also a little terrifying that some people will willing agree with any law, no matter how obscenely wasteful and ridiculous it is.


    I've never seen any evidence that backs up the left-wing mantra of "prison doesn't work". Countries like Singapore which have harsh penalties are safer and have less crime than countries with a more liberal approach. As for the education, I think that all the billions Labour spent on the gleaming inner-city academies proves that no amount of spending on education will engage those who are culturally and socially disengaged from society.
    So you're saying you want to live in a country where you can be given a $2000 fine just for chewing gum, walking naked in your house is illegal, being gay can land you a two year jail sentence, all adult material is censored, you can be executed for taking any kind of drug, you have the highest execution rate per capita in the world (higher then Saudi Arabia), there is NO press freedom, they have public floggings for saying something racist, and striking is illegal? In other words, Singapore is an oppressive society, where people live in abject fear of the government and authorities, and you are actually using this as a gleaming example of how great tough sentencing is? Amazing.

    In America, within three years of being released, 67% of ex-prisoners re-offend and 52% are re-incarcerated. Does that sound like prison is working to you? How can you possibly say prison works as a deterreant when nearly 70% of people who've been there will end up gong back?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...entencing_laws

    The reasons for this are not the long prison sentences, but the glaring inequalities in wealth and the easy availability of firearms. I guarantee that America's crime rate would increase still further if sentencing was more lenient.
    Show me the evidence for this. Considering 50% of state prisoners are there for non-violent offences, and 90% of federal prisoners are there for non-violent offences, I somehow dount what you're saying.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...entencing_laws

    There is also plenty of evidence that not only does prison increase the likelihood that someone will become a drug addict, it also stigmatizes people and makes them unemployable, they can either exist on benefits (not possible is US anyway if you've been to prison) or you can re-offend just to feed yourself. So it's entirely plausible that prisons increase crime. Certainly, that's what a lot of academics agree:

    http://hosted.law.wisc.edu/lawreview...-_pritikin.pdf
    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.u.../93396.article

    This one again:
    http://faculty.som.yale.edu/keithche...nal_aler07.pdf


    The "declining" crime rate is all smoke and mirrors. People are less inclined to report minor crimes because they know how useless the police are. Similarly, the police have been encouraged not to log "minor" crimes such as vandalism or anti-social behaviour. Finally, car crime has dropped rapidly simply because of improvements in technology. The fact is that I would not feel safe walking alone through London or any major city in the middle of the night. Our justice system is therefore a failure.
    Show me the evidence that people are reporting less crime and that it's not just a daily Mail spun myth. I have yet to see one actual criminologist state this as a reason:
    http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/j...affles-experts

    In fact the IEA catagorically states that this is not the case:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22275280
    "Cross-checking Home Office and Eurostat data against a number of metrics, such as hospital admissions, the UKPI shows that this dramatic fall is not a blip in police reporting - the UK really is becoming more peaceful."

    We should build more prisons and increase sentences. We could start by abolishing the "time off for good behaviour" nonsense and instead have "time added for bad behaviour". I personally am in favour of building a huge penal colony on a remote Scottish Island such as St Kilda or North Rona to house our most dangerous individuals. We are far too soft, and nowhere more so than in the issue of foreign and immigrant criminals. Mariusz Krezolek has just been jailed for 30 years for torturing 4 year old Daniel Pelka to death, along with his evil partner Magdelena Luczak. 30 years might seem a reasonable sentence. What has shocked me, however, is that Krezolek was jailed in the UK THREE TIMES previously for crimes of violence and burglary - and was wanted for similar offences in his native Poland. Why on hell's Earth was this man not deported to Poland before he had the chance to murder little Daniel? I'm sure the left-wing human-rights brigade will have their usual excuses.
    So, despite falling crime rates, you want to build more prisons and incarcerate more people at the taxpayers expense to combat this falling crime rate on the completely unsupported idea that it will reduce crime? Seems like a ludicrous waste of money we don't have, to combat a rising crime rate which doesn't exist.

    EDIT: Here's another little bonus, another reason not to love America's Prison system. http://rollingout.com/criminal-behav...ldren-to-jail/
    "He once sentenced a teen to three months in jail for creating a MySpace page that mocked her school’s assistant principal. Ciavarella also sentenced another teen to 90 days in jail after a simple schoolyard fight."
    Last edited by Will; 08-07-2013 at 09:53 AM.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member Rook's Avatar
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    ^

  3. #13
    Administrator Will's Avatar
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    Oh, and while you're busy loving American Justice, here's another beautiful story. In parts of America they have this thing called civil forfeiture, where you don't need to be convicted of ANY crime, and you can have all your possessions take from you just under the "suspicion" of having committed a crime. You're especially likely to be suspicious if you're not white. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2...urrentPage=all

    At least these ceased assets get used for useful things like popcorn machines, church donations to curry favour with the electorate, and paying for more enforcement so more possessions can be taken from people who have not been convicted of any crime. Yes, it's easy to see why someone would love America for that.
    Admin Will - Think for yourself, it hasn't been banned, yet.
    "When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."
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  4. #14
    Administrator Will's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rook View Post
    ^
    Thank you at the back.
    Admin Will - Think for yourself, it hasn't been banned, yet.
    "When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."
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  5. #15
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    You make some fair points Will, but I have to ask you the obvious question. If you don't believe in prison, what is the alternative? Community sentences - they are seen as a joke by criminals and not a deterrent at all. Should we birch criminals? I think Amnesty might have a word or two to say about that.

    Presumably as a good socialist you will say that more money should be spent on education and tackling poverty so that people are not drawn into crime in the first place. I agree to some extent, but I also believe that some people are so bad and so evil that no amount of education or social improvement to their lives will stop them offending. Ariel Castro fits into this category, and it is this sort of offender (rare as they are) that I was really trying to address in my comments about sentencing, rather than someone caught smoking a spliff or shoplifting.

    If Ariel Castro had committed his crimes in the UK, he would have been sentenced to 15-20 years. In America, he will have to serve the rest of his natural life. I think this latter sentence is correct and appropriate - he can never be rehabilitated and his sentence is proportional to the suffering he caused his victims. Prison is not just about rehabilition - it is also about about punishment and justice for the victims. Here in the UK, a 41 year old man has just walked free from court, despite being convicted of sexually abusing and making "extreme pornography" with a 13 year old girl. That is sickeningly lenient as far as I am concerned, although at least the Attorney General is looking at increasing the sentence.

    Crimes which involve physical or sexual violence, especially against children, should be treated very seriously with long and punitive prison sentences. I can't see any logical argument against this from the point of view of justice for victims. I also think the victims should have a say in the length of the sentence.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Northumbrian View Post
    Ariel Castro has just been sentenced to life in prison PLUS one thousand years for kidnapping and repeatedly raping and assaulting three young women in Ohio.

    America is not perfect and there are lots of things the American's do that I don't agree with. However, on this issue you can't take anything away from the Americans. They put the rights of victims in front of the rights of criminals. Compare Castro's sentence with the insulting 15 months initially given to Stuart Hall for sexually abusing girls as young as 9 (now mercifully increased to a still absurdly lenient 30 months). Even the Oxford sadistic paedophile ring were only given sentences from 7 years to 20 years, and therefore will still be young men when released - yet these crimes were as bad, if not worse, than Castro's.

    Time to ditch Europe and do things the American way (without the death penalty of course).
    If only!

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