Make it hurt
The simple fact that prison is not the most tedious and boring place in the world (as it was through the 1950’s) is an indication of why there is such a high recidivism rate; also, why the concept of a ‘correctional institution’ is little more than an oxymoron.
If you want to help a prisoner to mend his immoral ways (only immoral people break the law), you must first break their spirit. We have known this to be universally true since the earliest societies. It can be easily accomplished.
Prison must be the dullest, most boring place on earth. No weight rooms, no libraries, no TVs. No basketball hoops. No internet. It also must be the safest place on earth, where no inmate should fear being raped, knifed, or attacked in any other manner. Sexual abuse of any prisoner requires a mandatory additional 20-year sentence, completed in solitary confinement. There is no such thing as consensual sex between prisoners. Anyone can be intimidated into saying so under threat of violence.
It’s called PRISON for a reason. It should be a 100% controllable environment. This starts by absolutely prohibiting any form of communication between the prisoner and their family until 80% of their term has been served. No letters (outgoing), no phone calls, no emails, no internet, no TV, no visitors.
Let’s go back to the good old day when any felony conviction required at least one year of incarceration. Every prisoner must serve 80% of their original sentence before a parole can be considered. All prisoners who are physically able, perform hard labor every day. That’s every day, all seven of them. That in itself used to be an enormously useful way of breaking the spirit of an incorrigible convict.
First DUI, mandatory 30 days in jail. 2nd DUI, one month behind bars, 3rd DUI is treated as a felony, minimum one year in jail.
The work should be meaningless: dig a hole, fill it back up (aka “Cool Hand Luke”)
To increase the boredom factor, the three meals served each day are repeated on every subsequent day:
Breakfast – powdered eggs, toast and milk. All you want.
Lunch – Baloney and cheese sandwich, piece of fruit, milk. All you can eat (at the table)
Dinner – meatloaf, mashed potatoes, milk.
The menu never changes for any reason. If you have a religious objection to any provided food, don’t eat it.
Any prisoner creating a disturbance is immediately transferred to solitary confinement, where they will serve the rest of their term.
All prisoners get one hour of yard time each day, during which they are permitted to stand quietly and do nothing else. Rubber bullets will be reminders of the rules.
All prisoners sentenced to death have 720 days for the appeal process to wend its way through the legal system. After that, all appeals expire, as they do. The Japanese have shown the world that death by hanging is inexpensive and 100% effective. Any stigma with the past regarding this method of execution will be ignored.
Prisoners will be permitted to visit a chapel and talk with a pastor of their faith on Sundays.
Any prisoner attempting escape will be shot on sight.
Are these Draconian? No. Right now the Mexican cartels have control over the Los Angeles prison system – and have had control for over 30 years. Information flows freely in both directions. No visitors, no mail, no internet, no loss of control.
Currently, prison is considered a ‘finishing school’ for first offenders. The way to stop this is by resuming the ‘three strikes’ rule. The third felony conviction brings with it life without parole. Governors can no longer pardon inmates unless new evidence exonerates them completely.
Anyone convicted of murder in any degree receives a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
After 80% of their time has been served, all rehabilitation functions of the prison system will be open to the prisoner, including the ability to communicate with family.
The money required for putting the word ‘penal’ back into the penal system could easily be found by taking it way from hotels for the homeless, and healthcare for people in the country illegally.
The most blatant difficulty here is that the federal government can’t impose systemic change onto the state prison system. So they do what they have been doing for eons: offer the states federal grants to up compliance with the federal prison system.
One last item. Anyone convicted of child abuse will be surgically castrated, once inside the prison walls. The money we spend after release on parole to monitor sex offenders (who have a very high recidivism rate) can be now used elsewhere in the prison system. Castrated men don’t re-offend.
If any of these ideas offend you, I’m glad to have been of assistance. We need our culture back. We need our citizens to feel safe. One way to do that is to keep the bad guys off the street. No one like revolving door justice -- what we see in San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, et al., ad infinitum.
We are barely one generation away from a civil war. At that point you will be alone and on the streets with the same people I am talking about who already have the skills and tools to turn you into a pile of goo in well under 30 seconds.
What do you want for yourself, your children, your friends?