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(16,038 posts)
5. I disagree
Thu May 8, 2014, 08:32 AM
May 2014

I would absolutely agree if all inmates were just trying to serve their time. This isn't the case. There are many who live to victimize others and resume victimizing at any opportunity. There are individuals and groups within the prison system who run extensive criminal enterprises spanning multiple facilities. Drugs, prostitution, gambling, murder for hire, and every other vice imaginable. Again, not localized. To the vast majority of the population, what happens in the prison system is both unbelievable and unimaginable.

Instead of some blanket determination of no more solitary. ..I'm not sure why this is an issue and institutionalized violence isn't the focus.

Many, especially first time offenders, go in with a desire to peacefully serve their time and work toward release. Many would accept educational opportunities and job skill training. When they get there they are slammed into a population ran by victimizers. They have to either allow victimizing or join a gang for protection. Once in a gang they are labeled "disruptive group members" by the system resulting in extentions of sentences, and a lifetime commitment to the gang. Guards fear for their own safety and that of their families resulting in enabling of the gangs. In the federal system there are people, government employees who are charged with extending people's sentences. They do this by putting people in impossible situations, then punishing them for reacting.

The system is severely broken and solitary is the tiniest tip of the iceberg.

The more effective reform would be to have facilities devoted to education and training for all first time offenders where victimization isn't tolerated. And separate facilities for victimizers. If we polled the population about what they would fear most about going to prison, the number one answer by far would be victimization by other inmates. That is sad and unbelievably corrupt. It is no wonder that recidivism is as high as it is. ..solitary adds to that but isn't the largest problem by far.

I spent many years as a licensed defense investigator, have interviewed many inmates and visited many prisons both state and federal. Prison reform is long overdue, concentration on the tiniest issue to the exclusion of the far bigger issues will not begin to fix the problems...imho..

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