How to help fix mass incarceration

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Anonymous User
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How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby Anonymous User » Tue May 05, 2015 7:30 pm

So, let's say your goal is to diminish the system of mass incarceration in the US. What's the best way for a lawyer to do that? Criminal defense? Prosecution (on the theory that a fair prosecutor can do more good than a good defense attorney)? Innocence project? Politics?

Interested in others' thoughts.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue May 05, 2015 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue May 05, 2015 7:33 pm

Economics. When it becomes too expensive to incarcerate non-violent offenders, the Republicans may see the light.

P.S. I can't tell you how uncomfortable it was in the late 1990s to sit through talk after talk by Newt Gringrich extolling the goal of building more prisons to incarcerate more Americans ( guess which corps. supported Newtie).

CanadianWolf
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue May 05, 2015 7:40 pm

The best way for an attorney to help solve the problem of mass incarceration is to get into politics, get elected & shift funds into rehabilitation treatment , education & training, & work programs for non-violent offenders. It's all about the money.

Also, put a stop to cheap prison labor for private for profit companies. Make prisons pay minimum wage to incarcerated individuals working for outside private interests. So long as big time political donors can get their hands on 18 cents per hour labor for their private enterprises, our prisons will be full.
Last edited by CanadianWolf on Tue May 05, 2015 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Tue May 05, 2015 7:44 pm

We need a consequence that scares the general public other than prison or jail. I'd be down with increased shaming. Higher levels of mandatory community service that you have to do while wearing orange prison-like uniforms.

Incarceration should be reserved for predatory criminals only.

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kevgogators
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby kevgogators » Tue May 05, 2015 7:45 pm

Less than 1% of the U.S. population is incarcerated...I've never understood this 'boy cried wolf' mentality.

CanadianWolf
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue May 05, 2015 7:46 pm

Treatment & job training should be a lot more productive than public humiliation.

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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue May 05, 2015 7:48 pm

The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world--surpassing both South Africa & Russia (our top competitors).

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rinkrat19
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby rinkrat19 » Tue May 05, 2015 7:52 pm

kevgogators wrote:Less than 1% of the U.S. population is incarcerated...I've never understood this 'boy cried wolf' mentality.

First of all, that's a nonsensical application of the 'boy who cried wolf' fable. Have you actually read the story?

The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. Other English-speaking countries imprisonment rates are about 1/5 ours, and other developed western countries like Germany and Sweden are 1/10. While the United States represents about 4.4 percent of the world's population, it houses around 22 percent of the world's prisoners.

You really don't see anything wrong with that?

Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Tue May 05, 2015 7:57 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:Treatment & job training should be a lot more productive than public humiliation.


Treatment? And people talk about prisons being a for profit scam....

Job training for what jobs?

Public shaming works. It alters behavior. Don't want to experience it, don't commit crimes.

CanadianWolf
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby CanadianWolf » Tue May 05, 2015 8:01 pm

A very high percentage of the US prison population suffers from mental illness--public humiliation won't cure anything.

Jails & prisons are also populated by many with no or minimal job skills. Public humiliation won't train anyone for anything productive.

NorCalLaw
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby NorCalLaw » Tue May 05, 2015 8:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:So, let's say your goal is to diminish the system of mass incarceration in the US. What's the best way for a lawyer to do that? Criminal defense? Prosecution (on the theory that a fair prosecutor can do more good than a good defense attorney)? Innocence project? Politics?

Interested in other's thoughts.


This is an issue that a lot of public defenders care about; you'd definitely be in good company at most PD offices.

That said, no single job is likely to change the situation much, legal or otherwise.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby XxSpyKEx » Tue May 05, 2015 8:41 pm

CanadianWolf wrote:The best way for an attorney to help solve the problem of mass incarceration is to get into politics, get elected & shift funds into rehabilitation treatment , education & training, & work programs for non-violent offenders. It's all about the money


Problem is that you'll never get elected if your stance is to make laws more lenient and to reduce prison sentences. (Just imagine smear campaign saying something along the lines of "Imagine if your precious child was raped, brutally murdered, and thrown into a dumpster like little poor little Jeremy Doe. Well, Anon, wants to let all these child rapists, murders, etc. back in your community, so that they can rape and murder your children. Blah blah blah. Vote for me!") Tough on crime is a big sell in most places. In cities where it's not, well, most of those people are disenfranchised from voting anyways. I suppose you could sell yourself as a tough on crime type of person, but then work towards making laws more lenient and to reduce prison sentences, but you'll never get re-elected if you do that.

EDIT- Although, I could see the cost of incarceration concern working as a selling point. It's kind of unfortunate that money is the only thing that can actually sell these types of initiatives, but they tend to work.

NorCalLaw
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby NorCalLaw » Tue May 05, 2015 8:47 pm

XxSpyKEx wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:The best way for an attorney to help solve the problem of mass incarceration is to get into politics, get elected & shift funds into rehabilitation treatment , education & training, & work programs for non-violent offenders. It's all about the money


Problem is that you'll never get elected if your stance is to make laws more lenient and to reduce prison sentences. (Just imagine smear campaign saying something along the lines of "Imagine if your precious child was raped, brutally murdered, and thrown into a dumpster like little poor little Jeremy Doe. Well, Anon, wants to let all these child rapists, murders, etc. back in your community, so that they can rape and murder your children. Blah blah blah. Vote for me!") Tough on crime is a big sell in most places. In cities where it's not, well, most of those people are disenfranchised from voting anyways. I suppose you could sell yourself as a tough on crime type of person, but then work towards making laws more lenient and to reduce prison sentences, but you'll never get re-elected if you do that.

EDIT- Although, I could see the cost of incarceration concern working as a selling point. It's kind of unfortunate that money is the only thing that can actually sell these types of initiatives, but they tend to work.


You're largely correct, though California passed some sentence-reduction stuff via popular vote just recently. http://ballotpedia.org/California_Propo ... %282014%29

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Yukos
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby Yukos » Tue May 05, 2015 8:50 pm

I don't know if it's the "best" way, but one alternative is to join a civil impact litigation firm. You could help with class actions representing arrestees who don't have access to constitutionally adequate representation because many places have next to no PD funding. Or California has significantly reduced its prison population (although it's still really high) because of a judgment that its prisons are unconstitutionally overcrowded. That's a kind of systemic change that PDs and DAs can't take part in, although they play their parts as well.

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sinfiery
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby sinfiery » Tue May 05, 2015 8:51 pm

get really rich and buy politicians or become politician and sell off other views to get elected while holding onto fixing this problem

or

mass introduction of economically efficient methods of training and education via generation old computers lined with open source education content that effectively allows one to remove themselves from their often poisonous physical surroundings

but also get rich and use your money against the economic interest of those wanting more prisons

DJ JD
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby DJ JD » Tue May 05, 2015 9:05 pm

Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Treatment & job training should be a lot more productive than public humiliation.


Treatment? And people talk about prisons being a for profit scam....

Job training for what jobs?

Public shaming works. It alters behavior. Don't want to experience it, don't commit crimes.


Weird, I thought a good amount of law students/lawyers get basket-weaving majors like psychology, and therefore should know better, seeing as there's a wealth of psychological studies that suggest the contrary, not to mention recidivism rates and things of the like.

And training... you know, to give prisoners legitimate skills when they come out, you know, so they don't resort to the things that got them in prison the first place. I didn't know having more potentially productive members of society was a partisan issue. :roll:

Nomo
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby Nomo » Tue May 05, 2015 9:09 pm

Become a DA and agree to plea deals with less prison time

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DavidConeSplitter
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby DavidConeSplitter » Tue May 05, 2015 9:09 pm

t14->biglaw->In-house--->JUSTICELAW

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haus
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby haus » Tue May 05, 2015 10:46 pm

create a really good MOOC on the topic of "how to escape from prison"

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Displeased
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby Displeased » Wed May 06, 2015 8:24 am

NorCalLaw wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:So, let's say your goal is to diminish the system of mass incarceration in the US. What's the best way for a lawyer to do that? Criminal defense? Prosecution (on the theory that a fair prosecutor can do more good than a good defense attorney)? Innocence project? Politics?

Interested in other's thoughts.


This is an issue that a lot of public defenders care about; you'd definitely be in good company at most PD offices.

That said, no single job is likely to change the situation much, legal or otherwise.


PDs certainly care about it, but its not like we can do anything about it. We get to witness mass incarceration firsthand, and put a human face to it, but we don't really change anything. Even in the aggregate, I think PDs really just make the mass incarceration system more palatable to the layman. "Look, that street level drug dealer had a free attorney before he got locked up for 3 years after a one hour trial! Surely the system is fair".

Even the best defense attorneys, including PDs, probably don't have much of a measurable effect on outcomes. We kind of tinker at the margins, better attorneys sometimes get better deals, braver attorneys try more cases and sometimes get more acquittals (but also lose more, so it probably balances out), but in the end its extraordinarily hard to tell if you've actually helped an individual client or not, unless you get a straight acquittal. Even then, its sometimes hard to tell if you got that acquittal because of your skills as an attorney, or just sheer luck, or if any attorney would have gotten that acquittal.

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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed May 06, 2015 1:16 pm

While one (1%) percent of the US population is incarcerated, about 3% are actively involved in the post-trial criminal justice system (in jail/prison, on probation, parole or supervised release) & about 10% of the US population has a criminal record (this figure is from several years ago).

While reducing the number & frequency of incarcerations may not be a strong campaign theme, reducing costs & creating productive individuals from non-violent offenders through non-prison type sentences (education, job training & rehabilitation) can be the basis for a winning campaign strategy. Such efforts can lower government spending & , theoretically at least, reduce taxes. Many non-violent offenders can remain in the community with a sentence that requires full time paid work, reimbursement to government for cost of supervision while on home confinement during non-working, non-church attendance hours. Additionally, mandatory training and/or therapy/treatment could also be a condition for a non-violent offender receiving a non-jail sentence.
Also, incarceration does work at getting the drug addicted off illicit drugs. The problem in this category, in significant part, is that the periods of incarceration are too long in many instances. Split sentences (initial incarceration followed by mandatory, supervised treatment while on supervised release or probation) could both reduce costs to the taxpayer while rehabilitating the offender.

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XxSpyKEx
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby XxSpyKEx » Wed May 06, 2015 2:26 pm

Nomo wrote:Become a DA and agree to plea deals with less prison time


Think a lot of ADAs have to get approval for plea deals from their supervisors, so that won't work. Going easy on people who are charged with crimes won't get you the votes you need to become the district attorney.

DJ JD wrote:
Lord Randolph McDuff wrote:
CanadianWolf wrote:Treatment & job training should be a lot more productive than public humiliation.


Treatment? And people talk about prisons being a for profit scam....

Job training for what jobs?

Public shaming works. It alters behavior. Don't want to experience it, don't commit crimes.


Weird, I thought a good amount of law students/lawyers get basket-weaving majors like psychology, and therefore should know better, seeing as there's a wealth of psychological studies that suggest the contrary, not to mention recidivism rates and things of the like.

And training... you know, to give prisoners legitimate skills when they come out, you know, so they don't resort to the things that got them in prison the first place. I didn't know having more potentially productive members of society was a partisan issue. :roll:


While job training is a great idea, the problem is that no one will hire felons. In a lot of states you're liable if you fail to conduct a background check, it turns out that dude you hired is a felon, and he fucks up while working for you. The jobs felons can get are often pretty ridiculous (low pay, difficultly of getting to and from work, etc.) and difficult to maintain. Not to mention the difficulty in finding housing, etc. The system's pretty much set-up where the only practical thing that most of the ex-convicts can do is to go out and commit more crimes. The people who have families that have the ability to take them in (even if it's just giving them a place to live) are the exceptions. I think there needs to be some serious legislative changes before anything's really going to change. But, realistically, that'll probably never happen (for the reasons I mentioned in my last post) unless there's a pretty large change in people's attitudes about crimes and incarceration.

CanadianWolf
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed May 06, 2015 2:31 pm

Agree, but some states restrict employers from asking about convictions beyond a certain number of years (e.g., 10 years from the completion of all requirements of one's sentence). Some states allow convicted felons to vote, while others don't. First step toward change , in my opinion, is to allow all convicted felons the right to vote upon completion of all sentence requirements.

CanadianWolf
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby CanadianWolf » Wed May 06, 2015 2:32 pm

As far as job placement for felons after completing job training, tax credits would be a strong incentive.

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usernotfound
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Re: How to help fix mass incarceration

Postby usernotfound » Wed May 06, 2015 2:40 pm

Become a neuroscientist and discover how to alter a persons behavior biologically through medicine, which would resolve almost all crimes people are incarcerated for. Once people understand that our universe is deterministic, and that people are born into their bodies and consciousnesses, even ones that prompt people to engage in allegedly anti-social behavior, we can treat these people as patients rather than inmates and medically treat people for neurochemical activity that causes them to engage in behaviors that would otherwise prompt incarceration.




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