Legal Systems, Prisons, etc.

  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    32
    Location:
    United States
    Because we're getting off-topic in the jails thread.

    This thread will be broad. You can discuss prison systems, prison conditions, rehabilitation for the criminal, the legal system, etc.

    I'm guilty of this, but when talking about something specific to your country, it might be best to name your country if it isn't the one under your name, just so we aren't getting confused.
    June 27th, 2012 at 05:36pm
  • Jewel Nicole

    Jewel Nicole (100)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    29
    Location:
    United States
    I was debating with myself if I should create a new thread for this particular article, but I figured it would go nicely in this thread, hopefully start up a discussion.

    This article is about Toddlers serving time with their mothers until their six years of age, it's done in Mexico apparently. When I first thought about a child in a prison I was immediately thinking "no way", but I don't know, for some reason I'm starting to think it's not such a horrific idea. I think it's important for the baby to know who their mother is and I think if a woman is away from her baby while their infants, toddlers, etc then they won't ever know their mother as their mother.

    Anyone else have any thoughts?
    July 28th, 2012 at 07:48pm
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    32
    Location:
    United States
    It makes me wonder what preventative measures are being put in place to safeguard the child's psychological development in being raised in prison.
    July 28th, 2012 at 08:14pm
  • Kurtni

    Kurtni (10125)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    27
    Location:
    United States
    I don't think there is any safeguards you can put in place. Prisons are mentally scarring to adults, they're riddled with violence, drugs and abuse. From what I understand, it's usually done for financial reasons, not for the benefit of the child anyways.

    If you've committed a crime and are sentenced to spend time in prison, you're not a fit parent- you cannot provide the proper environment or resources for your children, and custody should be given to someone else. I don't see any innate value in a child knowing "their mother as their mother" if the parent made poor choices that put them in prison. The child deserves a better, stable life. When you break the law, you put your kids at risk and I think you relinquish rights to them until you're released and can prove you can provide them with a safe home. The idea that an innocent child should be forced to serve time so that the mother can have the bond she desires is ludicrous to me.

    I think systems set in place in women's prisons in America are a rough model, but a better option, where prisons allow extended visitation with children or special weekend activities with children.

    I watched a documentary about this occurring in India. Many of the women in prison were there for completely sexist reasons, and I sympathize with them immensely, but there is no reason to add another wrong to the situation by compromising a child's life.
    July 28th, 2012 at 08:45pm
  • kafka.

    kafka. (150)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    27
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Kurtni:
    If you've committed a crime and are sentenced to spend time in prison, you're not a fit parent- you cannot provide the proper environment or resources for your children, and custody should be given to someone else. I don't see any innate value in a child knowing "their mother as their mother" if the parent made poor choices that put them in prison. The child deserves a better, stable life. When you break the law, you put your kids at risk and I think you relinquish rights to them until you're released and can prove you can provide them with a safe home.
    But putting a child in the foster care system is the exact opposite of ensuring them a stable life and a safe home. People who have been through the foster care system have higher risks of everything - suicide, sexual abuse, dropping out from high school, homelessness, committing crime, etc. I think in some instances (if the parent is a single parent, their sentence is short, they've committed a non-violent crime and they've never abused / mistreated their children), letting children stay with their parent(s?) in prison, as long as they're protected from the other inmates and ensured plenty of contact with other children, can be a better option for the children than separating them from their parent(s) and throwing them in the foster care system. It all depends on the circumstances and the children's welfare should be everybody's main concern, not whether the parent has been punished enough or whether they deserve to care for their children.
    July 29th, 2012 at 08:06pm
  • Kurtni

    Kurtni (10125)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    27
    Location:
    United States
    @ kafka.
    Being incarcerated also increases the likelihood of those things happening in fully grown adults, imagine how detrimental it would be to a child.

    A child doesn't necessarily end up in foster care if one or even both of their parents are sentenced to jail, custody can go to another family member and does in many cases. And I still think foster care as a last resort is a better option than surrounding a child dangerous people and imprisoning them. Unless the child is an infant, the transition from living freely to being placed in a prison would be psychologically confusing and traumatic. Prisons are notorious for ignoring abuse and mental health complaints; at least a foster child in a public school has a caseworker, teachers and counselors looking out for them and an escape from an abusive home for part of the day, where as an imprisoned child has been sentenced to stay there 24/7. As far as short sentences go, can one even discuss what qualifies as a short enough sentence for a child without being absolutely absurd?

    The safety of pregnant women in prison cannot even be assured, how can you trust the system to protect an actual child? Staying with your parents and socializing with other children is not all it takes to raise a healthy and safe child.
    July 29th, 2012 at 08:35pm
  • The Rumor

    The Rumor (365)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    27
    Location:
    Great Britain (UK)
    I know in the US they have some special prisons that have units for pregnant women, where they can have their baby and remain with the child while serving their time. This all has to go through the warden and many processes are completed to decide whether the child would be better off in someone else's custody. I think that if the woman has committed a non-violent crime and is in for a relatively short time (under 18 months, say), then that would be okay.

    If the child is older or would be in the prison for longer than I think it's a terrible idea and a more stable environment with another family member would be preferable. I also think that a standard prison would be a total no-go. Obviously specialist units are a different matter.

    Studies have shown that if an infant is separated from their mother for as little as six months in the early stages, their development can be seriously hindered and if the mother would regain custody when she leaves prison it seems to make sense to maintain the bond for the child's sake while she is serving time.
    July 29th, 2012 at 10:29pm
  • Bella Goes Away.

    Bella Goes Away. (860)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    97
    Location:
    Yemen
    @ kafka.
    I'm late to the party, but foster care doesn't at all have to equal getting abused or anything else you mentioned. There are horrid foster homes, just like there are horrid parents, but there are also good foster homes (I know, I've been in two) and not everyone that goes through the foster care system are damaged.
    August 1st, 2012 at 06:50am
  • kafka.

    kafka. (150)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    27
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Be Bella's Lock:
    @ kafka.
    I'm late to the party, but foster care doesn't at all have to equal getting abused or anything else you mentioned. There are horrid foster homes, just like there are horrid parents, but there are also good foster homes (I know, I've been in two) and not everyone that goes through the foster care system are damaged.
    Anecdotal evidence is anecdotal.
    Kurtni:
    @ kafka.
    Being incarcerated also increases the likelihood of those things happening in fully grown adults, imagine how detrimental it would be to a child.

    A child doesn't necessarily end up in foster care if one or even both of their parents are sentenced to jail, custody can go to another family member and does in many cases. And I still think foster care as a last resort is a better option than surrounding a child dangerous people and imprisoning them. Unless the child is an infant, the transition from living freely to being placed in a prison would be psychologically confusing and traumatic. Prisons are notorious for ignoring abuse and mental health complaints; at least a foster child in a public school has a caseworker, teachers and counselors looking out for them and an escape from an abusive home for part of the day, where as an imprisoned child has been sentenced to stay there 24/7. As far as short sentences go, can one even discuss what qualifies as a short enough sentence for a child without being absolutely absurd?

    The safety of pregnant women in prison cannot even be assured, how can you trust the system to protect an actual child? Staying with your parents and socializing with other children is not all it takes to raise a healthy and safe child.
    This is not happening in the US, it's happening in Mexico and India (and that there's a big element of white people being appalled by how 'savage' and 'cruel' brown people are in the reporting), where the government doesn't have the same resources as the American one does. India has the biggest illiterate population in the world and Mexico has problems ensuring that all children (especially in rural areas) have secondary public schools they can attend - do you really think that all public schools are properly staffed? Of course children shouldn't be imprisoned (that is, held in prisons against their will) and housed with other inmates (was anyone suggesting this?) and if there is the option for them to be cared for family members that would be preferred, but that option doesn't always exist - and when it doesn't, letting a child stay with their parent in prison might be better for them than putting them in the foster system.
    August 1st, 2012 at 07:26am
  • Bella Goes Away.

    Bella Goes Away. (860)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    97
    Location:
    Yemen
    @ kafka.
    So you're saying that there are no good foster homes, at all, ever?
    (And my post wasn't me providing evidence, had I wanted to do that I would have given you clear cut links to articles proving my point. I was giving my opinion which I can do freely without providing evidence that it's true. I didn't see any links in your posts providing evidence either...)
    August 1st, 2012 at 08:15am
  • Ayana Sioux

    Ayana Sioux (1175)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    24
    Location:
    United States
    I hate the racial imbalance of prisons. I know I always talk about race but Facepalm if there's one thing that will always bother it, it's racism.
    August 2nd, 2012 at 04:18pm
  • This.Useless.Heart.

    This.Useless.Heart. (115)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    28
    Location:
    United States
    ^ Race is actually incredibly relevant when discussing the flaws in the American legal system though (as I'm sure you and every other American in this thread are aware.) I forget the actual statistics, but the ratio of non-whites to whites in prisons (and jails, too, I believe) is incredibly insane.

    I'm taking a forensic psychology class this semester, so I predict -if this thread doesn't completely stay dead- I will definitely frequent this place.
    February 1st, 2013 at 06:53am
  • Fandango

    Fandango (775)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    25
    Location:
    Neutral Zone
    @ This.Useless.Heart. @ Ayana Sioux

    But how is this the fault of the legal system? Is this saying the entire legal system is flawed (see: racist) and imprisoning only (mostly) non-whites? Sorry, I'm not getting where you're coming from, unless you're talking about racial inequality in the actual prisons.
    February 1st, 2013 at 11:57am
  • charming.

    charming. (135)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    28
    Location:
    Australia
    Fandango:
    Is this saying the entire legal system is flawed (see: racist) and imprisoning only (mostly) non-whites?
    Yes and yes. People of colour are arrested disproportionately and given higher sentences for identical crimes.
    February 1st, 2013 at 01:01pm
  • Fandango

    Fandango (775)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    25
    Location:
    Neutral Zone
    @ pravda.
    Proof?
    February 1st, 2013 at 01:09pm
  • charming.

    charming. (135)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    28
    Location:
    Australia
    Fandango:
    Proof?
    Is this really something people aren't aware of? Here's a quick article that touches on some of the issues regarding racism in the [US] system. Most of them are the same here [Australia] and I imagine it's similar in other Western nations, albeit perhaps not to the same degree.

    Example: "whites and blacks engage in drug offenses, possession and sales, at roughly comparable rates... [yet] African Americans are arrested for drug offenses at rates 2 to 11 times higher than the rate for whites"
    February 1st, 2013 at 01:38pm
  • Fandango

    Fandango (775)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    25
    Location:
    Neutral Zone
    @ pravda.
    pravda.:
    Is this really something people aren't aware of?
    I sense a tone of condescension, which I'll ignore.

    Most of those statistics do not actually compare the number of arrests, etc. of non-whites to those of whites, e.g.
    Quote
    while African American juvenile youth is but 16% of the population, they are 28% of juvenile arrests, 37% of the youth in juvenile jails and 58% of the youth sent to adult prisons. 2009 Criminal Justice Primer, The Sentencing Project.
    Nor do they bare any weight, like this where they do not state qualifications/ability to perform the job of the applicants:
    Quote
    A study by Professor Devah Pager of the University of Wisconsin found that 17% of white job applicants with criminal records received call backs from employers while only 5% of black job applicants with criminal records received call backs.
    Quote
    The US rate of incarceration is five to eight times higher than other highly developed countries and black males are the largest percentage of inmates according to ABC News.
    This is the same in South Africa. Why? Not because they are the majority, but because poverty runs rampant in this demographic. (Not that we are a developed country, but I am just using an example).
    Quote
    The longer the sentence, the more likely it is that non-white people will be the ones getting it. A July 2009 report by the Sentencing Project found that two-thirds of the people in the US with life sentences are non-white. In New York, it is 83%.
    I won't even respond to this. It simply points to the hard fact that certain demographics did not commit a crime of that caliber. I don't see how one or more demographic committing a crime, being sentenced and doing time for it points to inherent racism. It's like saying white people need to commit more murders to even the statistics.

    There is also a large amount of evidence (such as this and this) pointing to African-American/Latino youth being more likely to engage in criminal activity because of their upbringing and circumstances (e.g. single parent families, children as the head of the family, etc.), not racism in the courts/prisons/etc. It's not prejudice, just fact. African-American's are generally not as widely educated (through no fault of their own), leading to poverty, unemployment, and eventual crime.

    Of course there are individual cases where racism comes into play (so, no, I am not completely ignorant), but I really believe it's the same with sexism, ageism, mental ability, etc. It's not fair to generalise, nor to point fingers at the justice system.
    February 1st, 2013 at 02:18pm
  • charming.

    charming. (135)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    28
    Location:
    Australia
    Fandango:
    I wasn't trying to condescend, I just thought it was understood that the American 'justice' system is incredibly racist. From the streets (the stats on who is stopped and who is frisked) to the court room (the stats on POCs getting longer sentences, etc). Yes, there is evidence that African Americans and Latinos are more likely to engage in criminal activity, but they are still, even considering this, disproportionately targeted and punished. It's prejudice to turn a blind eye to this for the sake of saying that justice is colorblind and/or a 'these are just the facts' attitude (when they aren't the facts.) 'Justice' is undertaken by human beings, not a blind woman with a sword, so racism in policemen and judges and lawyers and witnesses is naturally going to creep in. That doesn't make it inherent to a system, but in this case (and, I'd argue, in many countries with historically persecuted ethnic minorities) the prejudice is not divorceable from the system; it acts within it, is perpetuated by it. If a black man has a 1 in 3 chance of being put into prison, and is in fact put in prison, what happens to his family? The high rate of incarceration, and the subsequent impact of prior-incarceration, has its own impacts on the racial community as well as being, then, self-perpetuating - by taking away opportunities in the previous generation, they set the next generation up to fail.
    Fandango:
    It simply points to the hard fact that certain demographics did not commit a crime of that caliber.
    Are you implying that white/middle-class people don't commit crimes of high calibres? The idea that sentences reflect crime/criminality accurately is [sadly] laughable, e.g. this infographic. So I have no trouble believing that when people are sentenced, various socio-economic factors came into play.

    I've been trawling through more material but to be frank this is incredibly depressing and I'm going to leave now.
    February 1st, 2013 at 02:33pm
  • Fandango

    Fandango (775)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    25
    Location:
    Neutral Zone
    @ pravda.
    Quote
    I just thought it was understood that the American 'justice' system is incredibly racist.
    I really don't see how you can make this statement. It's incredibly biased. There are racist aspects or places, it is not totally racist or race-driven (to my understanding, as an outsider who takes an interest in American politics). It constantly feels like a throwback from the blatant prejudice that African-American's/non-whites used to endure in the 60's.
    Quote
    If a black man has a 1 in 3 chance of being put into prison, and is in fact put in prison, what happens to his family?
    What happened to "You do the crime, you do the time"?

    Quite frankly, if somebody robs me/kills my family/rapes my sister, I won't give a flying fuck if they're white, black, pink, orange or blue, nor will I think twice about their family. Just putting that out there.

    But your argument is fair. I do believe there is racism (and sexism, ageism, and all the other 'isms that just aren't a good time for anyone), but I still don't believe it's the justice systems' responsibility to cater to the needs/well-being of the prisoner nor their family.
    Quote
    The high rate of incarceration, and the subsequent impact of prior-incarceration, has its own impacts on the racial community as well as being, then, self-perpetuating - by taking away opportunities in the previous generation, they set the next generation up to fail.
    I don't really understand what you're saying here. I feel like what you are implying is that the country must suffer through criminal activity and not incarcerate the current violators in hopes that future generations will not reproduce this activity. Please correct me if I'm wrong, because I don't feel like that is what you are saying.
    February 1st, 2013 at 02:47pm
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

    :
    Member
    Gender:
    Age:
    32
    Location:
    United States
    An African-American woman in Texas (I think) was given a stay of her execution from the governor. She had an all-white jury and they think that's the reason she was there in the first place.

    There have been so many high-profile cases on non-whites getting convictions that don't get overturned for decades.

    It's pretty fucked up. I only spent two months in jail for a crime I didn't commit. I can't imagine losing your entire life to it.
    February 1st, 2013 at 04:58pm