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The United States Prison Industrial Complex.


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#61 Ravyne   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7116

Posted 02 June 2011 - 01:54 PM

@AndyEsser: Sweet! I've never been quoted in someone's forum signature before!

On topic (I wrote this yesterday, but the forum was down when I wen't to post, so the following may not address recent comments):


I believe, and I think we can all agree, that people convicted of crimes should go to jail. Nothing surprising there.

If we then look at our prison population and its past and projected growth rate, we should also all *agree* that there is a problem, and we should all be *willing to entertain* the possibility that something is going quite wrong with things.

Then you begin to look at what factors contribute to the population, and particularly to the sudden change in the population. Some of these are:
Length of sentences
Rate of sentencing
Criminalization itself
Cause of crimes
The length of prison terms has gone up drastically -- I would say that three-strikes has probably had the greatest impact on median sentence length -- when you add to the prison system a three-time petty criminal for 25 years, its going to skew the population in a huge way. These are people who might go through life as a petty criminal, bet see only frequent, short sentences that might never add up to anything close to 25 years over their lifetime.

Mandatory minimum is the same -- it takes power from the judge to, you know, judge the circumstances and character of a person, and to take that into account. Criminals should get exactly what they deserve -- no less, and equally importantly, no more. "tough" sentences are essentially the same, just bounded by political performance rather than any prescribed "solution".

I'm not saying we should simply let people slide forever, but that our prison and law-enforcement dollars would probably be better spent on more damaging criminal activity.

Rate of sentencing ties into both "tough on crime" and criminalization itself. Overzealous police and prosecutors can be eager to show their effectiveness by putting more asses in the defendants chair (not to disparage law enforcement at all, my younger brother is a Sheriff's Deputy) -- the fact is, the general population is so scared by the boogeyman of crime, the black cloud of "the slippery slope", and not too inclined to examine real statistics for themselves, or even to seek out any more in-depth analysis than 30 seconds on the evening news -- its easy to see: despite lower actual crime, people are more scared than ever. And of course, they demand action. A police force, prosecutor or judge who doesn't appear to be "tough" doesn't have long to make an impact.

Criminalization itself, along with the means to fund enforcement, is precisely the same boogeyman argument -- its just doled out and perpetrated by career politicians and those who stand to benefit from the result of said criminalization. I don't think that anyone can argue that, say, the use of Marijuana -- taking away crimes surrounding its trafficing and sale -- causes more societal ill than alcohol, or causes a greater public health risk than tobacco. Yet, Alcohol and Tobacco are perfectly legal, and even possessing/using even small amounts of marijuana is criminalized. Not only is this a backwards way of thinking, such backward laws enable serious crime (crime surrounding traffic and sale, and by funding criminals and criminal organizations) and also diminish respect for legitimate, reasonable laws. In essence, they undermine our system of laws, while simultaneously furthering criminal endeavors.

Then you have to consider why crime exists in the first place. I view crime largely the same as I view piracy -- That is, some people will always commit crime and no amount of punishment or opportunity will change that (these people should be in prison), others are driven by cultural issues, others are driven by a lack of legitimate opportunity (which is a societal failure). There are many, many factors that contribute to the cause of crime, none of which go away simply by putting criminals into jails -- as long as the reasons still exist, more criminals will simply fill their vacant position. Putting a criminal in jail as a sole means of repurcussion does not have a 1-1 correlation with removing a criminal from the streets. It removes *a particular* criminal, and replaces him with one or more -- likely ones which are young, stupid, impressionable, and eager to show how "hard" they are by showing utter recklessness and a complete disregard for collateral damages. Its easy to see how things have escallated over the years -- The Mafia was certainly violent back in the day, but generally amongst themselves legitimate threats to their business (competing gangs, police, judges, prosecutors, perhaps jurors and witnesses) not to excuse them, but you at least have to respect that they kept their squabbles within a certain purview. A violent street gang today is more than happy to beat or kill over even a perceived threat and the worst of them have been reported to make sport of unsuspecting police officers and the general public as part of initiation, or simply to make a point. The old criminals at least had some "sense" to their violence (for lack of a better term), while today a lot of the violence is senseless, or taken to a senseless level. I'd take an old-guard criminal over some dumb young kid on the street any day of the week.

Anyhow, if we re-provisioned our sentencing guidelines, dropped the "tough" act, got rid of 3-strikes for non-violent offenders, and decriminalized marijuana, we would see a dramatic shift in the prison population within a 5 years time, and if we commuted the sentences of those already in prison to match the new guidelines, we could see that change literally overnight -- not to say that we necessarily should, since letting a bunch of criminals out of prison with no economic growth to support them on the outside is probably a recipe for disaster (then again, there's never going to be a perfect time to flip the switch either.)

The difficulty of this type of change is similar to the difficulty of instituting public healthcare -- we in America are a bunch of fat, lazy, chain-smoking, diabetic slobs (not everyone, but to an uncomfortable margin) who hate visiting the doctor for any type of preventative care, and as a result, any switch to a public system is going to cost the initial participants a lot of money to pay for the health sins we all commit. It would be much less of a burden on a generally-healthier population that participated in preventative care. Basically, we've allowed the root causes of our ills progress so far that any drastic solution has long-since crossed the line of discomfort, and simply continuing on as we always have appears to be the less uncomfortable course in the near-medium term.

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#62 forsandifs   Members   -  Reputation: 154

Posted 02 June 2011 - 02:17 PM

And I don't think that you can extend the non-violent crime statistics that way. First, the point that tstrimple was making is about people three-striked for petty crimes, not non-violent ones.


Actually at no point did he mention the word petty in his post tbh. As far as I can see he didn't really specify what kind of crimes he thought were not being three-striked very often apart from pointing at theft as an example. I generalised into non-violent crimes because I think that's really the issue here. Your extreme example of a national-level heroin dealer is not relevant imo because there aren't very many of them either in prison or out of prison given that someone responsible for dealing heroin on a national level is going to be at the head of a large and violent organisation.

But it's a big assumption to make that all crimes are essentially equal, and if you want to posit it then it's on you to demonstrate that those conditions are true.


I didn't make that assumption. I simply assumed that since they are being given for even extremely petty crimes they are also being given for most non-violent crimes, and that given at least half of all offenders are non-violent then about half of all three strikes will be for non-violent crimes. Logical extensions as far as I can see.

#63 tstrimple   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 1718

Posted 02 June 2011 - 02:18 PM


Displaying two additional instances where the system didn't work (which I suppose is arguable in these cases, though I would tend to agree with you on them) does not really counter tstrimple's argument that such situations are a minority of cases. Whether or not that is actually the case, I don't know.


I was countering his statement that it was an isolated incident.

But now you mention it I'll counter the argument that such situations are a minority of cases. Evidence has been presented in this thread that at least half of Americans in prison are in for non-violent crimes. By extension, and unless evidence is presented to the contrary (evidence I haven't been able to find), we can assume that about half of three-strikes are also due to non-violent crimes.


As Khaiy pointed out, I was referring specifically to the three strikes policy and petty crimes. You'll get no argument from me that there are far too many people in jail. I think most drug laws should be abolished, especially drugs like marijuana. Apart from that I think three strikes is a good policy. It takes habitual offenders out of circulation. Very rarely is it actually the person's third time of committing a crime, more often they have a long history of breaking the law.

The cases you mention don't seem to be failures of the three strikes policy, rather failures of the judge in applying common sense sentencing.

#64 forsandifs   Members   -  Reputation: 154

Posted 02 June 2011 - 02:59 PM

Apart from that I think three strikes is a good policy. It takes habitual offenders out of circulation. Vary rarely is it actually the person's third time of committing a crime, more often they have a long history of breaking the law.

The cases you mention don't seem to be failures of the three strikes policy, rather failures of the judge in applying common sense sentencing.


But theoretically, and in practice, it can be a case of someone's third crime, even if they are not very serious ones. And that is an extremly disturbing idea because there is probably a massive number of people that fall into that potential life imprisonment envelope.

EDIT: also, I think we can all agree that the definition of what constitutes a crime, serious or no, is not a fixed absolute. Tomorrow it could include something that seems innocent or even good to you. In fact that's probably the case already.

#65 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 02 June 2011 - 03:14 PM

I didn't make that assumption. I simply assumed that since they are being given for even extremely petty crimes they are also being given for most non-violent crimes, and that given at least half of all offenders are non-violent then about half of all three strikes will be for non-violent crimes. Logical extensions as far as I can see.


I don't think you can quite make that assumption. I feel like repeat offenders are much more likely to be violent criminals than someone on their first offense.

The stats posted on the previous page for california's 3 strike law seem to indicate that violent criminals account for the majority of people penalized by the three strike laws.

#66 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 02 June 2011 - 03:38 PM

Actually at no point did he mention the word petty in his post tbh. As far as I can see he didn't really specify what kind of crimes he thought were not being three-striked very often apart from pointing at theft as an example. I generalised into non-violent crimes because I think that's really the issue here. Your extreme example of a national-level heroin dealer is not relevant imo because there aren't very many of them either in prison or out of prison given that someone responsible for dealing heroin on a national level is going to be at the head of a large and violent organisation.


It was clearly the intent of his post to refer to less serious crimes, even if he actually say petty. How else would you categorize shoplifting, which you presented as an example of a minor crime sometimes counted as a strike?

I used the heroin dealer as an example because it would be clear in demonstrating my point, not because it happens every day. I agree with you that it is not a model of typical three-strike behavior, just one where we could probably agree that even without direct violence on the part of the prisoner a strike wouldn't be unreasonable.

I'll only grant that non-violent crimes are the issue if we agree that violent crimes are the only ones worthy of a strike. You could probably persuade me of that, but at present I don't think so. We already agree that small time stuff shouldn't count, and that probably would apply to very minor violent crimes as well.

I didn't make that assumption. I simply assumed that since they are being given for even extremely petty crimes they are also being given for most non-violent crimes, and that given at least half of all offenders are non-violent then about half of all three strikes will be for non-violent crimes. Logical extensions as far as I can see.


If and only if strikes are truly routinely given for all crimes great and small, and that this strike-giving at least roughly follows an even distribution throughout the prison population. So the assumption isn't that all strikes are equal (poorly expressed on my part in my last post), but that all crimes are treated equally for the purposes of accruing to a strike. What you are describing is essentially the worst-case scenario for strike application, and then presenting it as a moderate estimate.

The only evidence that you've given that supports this so far are three seperate instances where people were given three strikes for petty crime each time. Again, I agree that these people should never have been three-striked as presented, but three individuals does not a system-wide pattern make.

How many people would need to get three strikes this way to demonstrate a pattern? If there are ~171,000 adults in prison (linked below), and even 1% of them are there for similar reasons as the three examples you gave, that's 1,710 people. While that's not a number that you will reach giving examples one by one, it's a pretty small number compared to the whole. Yyou are attributing the experiences of three people (.00002% of the total population) to all of them.

Have a look at this that I dug up. The violent crime percentage for CA prison inmates is about 50% (slightly higher, but close enough), and increasing. About 26% of prison inmates in CA are on their 2nd or 3rd strike. Some of those strikers are undoubtedly in for BS reasons, which is difficult to estimate because I haven't been able to find a breakdown of strikes given by crime classification.

But even if 100% of potentially-striker non-violent offenders in prison in CA were there because of strikes and strikes alone, that would still be about a quarter of the total prison population, not half. And even that maximum possible number assumes that none of the violent offenders are there due to strikes. That's a dubious claim, because three strikes was enacted to curb violent crime most of all, and is undoubtedly going to be applied to violent criminals, especially if it's also applied indiscriminately to non-violent criminals.

So that particular extension isn't well supported analytically, seeing as it makes an assumption about how all strikes are applied based on a handful of cases. It's also not well supported empirically, as even with the most generous assumptions strikes don't account for more than a quarter or so of inmates, over half of whom are in fact violent offenders. I still agree with you as far as the value of three strikes policies go-- but to say that half of three-strikers are in for purely non-violent behavior is a stretch which it is not necessary to make, given the abundance of reasons to oppose the current implementations of the policy.

#67 Dmytry   Members   -  Reputation: 1148

Posted 02 June 2011 - 04:22 PM

I think US has experienced paradigm shift in goals of justice, from the notion of common good of all members of the society (including criminals), to elimination of undesirable elements from the society ('getting criminals off the street'). The prison population per capita differs by an order of magnitude between those two approaches. Indeed, on logarithmic scale US is already closer to the extreme examples of regimes that practices elimination of undesirable elements, such as SU, than to examples of comparable regimes with currently practise the notion of common good, such as EU.
Economically, strongly encouraged labour in prisons would allow to offset the cost; adjustment of the prison conditions could also allow to decrease the prison population through increased mortality. I thus expect US prison population per capita to continue growing past 1 percent until it stabilizes somewhere between 2% and 5% depending to the relative death rate and the efficacy of the encouraged labour at offsetting the costs.
My game The Polynomial is now available on Steam. | The Polynomial homepage | Cloud and terrain rendering |Everything i said in that post is obviously ABSOLUTE TRUTH my unhumble opinion.

#68 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 29304

Posted 02 June 2011 - 09:41 PM

It amazes me how people focus on this isolated incident where a ship-lifter gets hit with three strikes. This is FAR from the norm.

FWIW, I'm not focussing on that isolated incident -- the sentiment applies to all cases of unnecessary incarceration.

Does the threat of incarceration reduce crime rates -- no.
Does incarceration help rehabilitate repeat offenders -- no.
Does incarceration reinforce criminality -- yes.
Is the punishment of incarceration proportional to the crime -- sometimes, often not.
Is the US using incarceration for purposes where evidence demonstrates that it's a bad idea -- yes.
Are the root causes of these criminal behaviours being addressed -- no.

#69 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 03 June 2011 - 06:57 AM

It amazes me how people focus on this isolated incident where a ship-lifter gets hit with three strikes. This is FAR from the norm.

FWIW, I'm not focussing on that isolated incident -- the sentiment applies to all cases of unnecessary incarceration.

Does the threat of incarceration reduce crime rates -- no.
Does incarceration help rehabilitate repeat offenders -- no.

I'm not sure those are accurate assumptions to be made. Incarceration isn't just to rehabilitate. It's also to punish and in the case of repeat offenders isolate them from the general population, the latter of which surely reduces crime rates.

edit: and I'm fairly certain I have committed fewer crimes due to the threat of incarceration, so it has been reduced by at least a couple crimes :-p

#70 ChurchSkiz   Members   -  Reputation: 443

Posted 03 June 2011 - 02:06 PM

It amazes me how people focus on this isolated incident where a ship-lifter gets hit with three strikes. This is FAR from the norm.

FWIW, I'm not focussing on that isolated incident -- the sentiment applies to all cases of unnecessary incarceration.

Does the threat of incarceration reduce crime rates -- no.
Does incarceration help rehabilitate repeat offenders -- no.
Does incarceration reinforce criminality -- yes.
Is the punishment of incarceration proportional to the crime -- sometimes, often not.
Is the US using incarceration for purposes where evidence demonstrates that it's a bad idea -- yes.
Are the root causes of these criminal behaviours being addressed -- no.


How could you make the case that the threat of incarceration doesn't reduce crime? It's patently absurd. Probably every person living in America can think of something they haven't done for fear of jail. Second, you would have to have some objective way of finding out every person that hasn't committed a crime did so because of jail fears. I would agree that it's not a thought for some criminals, but to say it inherently has no effect on crime is craziness.

As far as prison addressing root problems or rehabilitating, I doubt there is anyone who thinks prison is a *good* solution to those problems. However, in a free society, if someone is going to get the short end of the stick, it should be the rapists and murderers and not the law abiding citizens.

I submit my city (Charlotte), as a good example. Charlotte is a city where repeat, violent, offenders are released early and often (3 strikes? Try 37!). It's not uncommon for armed robbers to have 5, 6, 7 arrests. Now is prison going to rehabilitate someone like this? Probably not, but I'd rather him be behind bars than un-rehabilitated in my neighborhood. I'm not the bad guy, why should I get a gun in my face because we haven't found a better solution to his problem?

#71 ddn3   Members   -  Reputation: 1269

Posted 03 June 2011 - 09:14 PM

Incarceration reduces crime? Maybe but the causes of crime are not affected by incarceration.. poverty, drugs, gangs, illegal activity, high risk taking, etc.. some kid grows up in the hood, joins a gang, does a few robberies, sure he know's he could go to jail but is that gonna stop him? Nah.. that's the last thing from his mind..His whole world is his status in the gang. When you grow up having nothing, enduring misery after misery, the threat of prison is no threat at all..

Now incarceration will stop some blue collar worker from say robing a store. Because he has too much to lose, his freedom, money he could earn, family, etc...But he wouldn't do that either way , most people follow the rules.. But only to an extent, if people feel wronged enough they will act, like in the case of infidelity etc..

Then there is the case of drug addicts, they are so hopelessly addicted, incarceration is also no threat to them. The immediate need for the fix is far stronger than any future threat of incarceration. After the fix they might have regret / remorse but usually their crimes are impulsive.

How about the career criminal, one who was raised with in a culture of crime, would threat of incarceration stop them? Nah, they like the gang member exist within an isolated world, where criminal activity is rewarded and encouraged.. Organized crime families, financial fraud rackets, smugglers, rebel insurgents, etc.. I doubt fear of going to jail is going to stop them (the money/cause is to good), however it will definitely make them more vigilant. Look at Enron, how many of them ended up in jail? 1? and they stole over 5 billion dollars.. If you asked them the fear of going to jail would stop them, i doubt very much they would care, the rewards too high.

I would argue incarceration doesn't reduce crime much at all, it's just a punishment which we've come up with which is acceptably humane. In the past they would just chop off an arm or something (you could also pay a large fine) but we've moved beyond that and the only real punishment acceptable is incarceration. It's definitely not preventive overall, its mostly punitive imo.

-ddn

#72 Ravyne   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7116

Posted 03 June 2011 - 09:48 PM

If that's the case in Charlotte then I would say that they represent a failure at the other end of the spectrum. I would tend to believe, or at least hope, that violent repeat offenders would be in jail sufficiently long that they'd simply not have the lifespan to be a 7-time offender. For my part, I don't think I've ever said, and certainly didn't mean to say, that some kind of N-Strikes is inherently bad -- only that it does, irrefutably, represent a primary factor in the size of the prison population over-time and, as such, it should be applied in moderation -- this is precisely the reason it should not be applied to petty or non-violent crimes. At the same time, we should not have unrealistic expectations that harsher punishment reduces the rate at which crime occurs.

I'm certainly not saying we should put criminals in time out and hope them to be good when they get out a brief while later. Prison should be punishing, its not meant to be easy. I do believe its possible for a person to demonstrate a pattern of criminal behavior which ought to put them in prison for great lengths of time, or possibly even indefinitely -- I also believe that bar to be fairly high; certainly higher than has been used in contemporary practice. But I also see that move as about 2/3rds segregation (removing that individual's ability to victimize the populace) and only about 1/3rd punative -- at that point, judiciously applied, that person is probably beyond hope of rehabilitation and reentering the population.

Likewise, while I am not "pro" death-penalty, neither do I believe it should be abolished. I believe, and history has shown, that individuals can posses a great capacity to inflict evil. Many will say that the existence of the death penalty is justified by its deterrent value -- but I tend to believe that the actual deterrent at play in a criminal's mind as he plans or commits evil acts is largely negligible. For myself, I don't even seek to justify it in those terms -- I simply believe that those who commit the most evil of evil acts should have absolutely everything taken from them, including their very being. Whether it acts as a deterrent, or provides closure to victimized families is moot, though I do hope that some benefit is granted, aside from simply wiping an evil from this earth. However, as with N-Strikes, a death sentence should truly be an exception to the rule. There is no taking it back, so the individual must be certainly guilty, all circumstances must be accounted for, and the bar must be especially high -- even no murder should automatically grant that the death sentence is a sentencing option. A large part of me believes that, ideally, a second jury of some kind would ultimately decide between life imprisonment and death in cases where it was an option, but that they would be entirely distinct from the jury which decides guilt or innocence.

#73 Jacob Jingle   Members   -  Reputation: 223

Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:10 PM

What is it that makes you so afraid of accepting that only half the people in jail are violent?

A) I'm not afraid of anything....I could care less why douche bags are in jail. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time. (Don't try and turn me into your straw man)
B) To get back to the premise of this thread, I don't see how being nonviolent somehow makes committing a crime more acceptable and warranting that a person shouldn't go to prison. (See Madoff)
C) I also didn't see nothing in that wiki article that said a large portion of these nonviolent criminals, that are serving long prison sentences, are in prison for stealing purses or other insignificant bs.
D) I refuse to accept this article's viewpoint because it doesn't give enough information to back it up. How many of these nonviolent criminals were arrested with a weapon, have a past history of violence, had their violent crime removed for snitching, plea bargained their violent act away, are in a criminal gang, etc.

Why is the presentation of those statistics considered "spoon feeding" of some kind of wacky way of thinking??

<ignoring you again going the straw man route> The fact that it doesn't give you enough information to make an intelligent decision. It's like going to an apple fan boy site to discuss Microsoft.

If you really think it's being biased, instead of just presenting the reported facts, go slap a NPOV violation on it.

No need...It's wiki, by design all its articles are like this. (If it really provided you with the information you needed it would take you months to read through it)

#74 ChurchSkiz   Members   -  Reputation: 443

Posted 04 June 2011 - 04:37 AM

Incarceration reduces crime? Maybe but the causes of crime are not affected by incarceration.. poverty, drugs, gangs, illegal activity, high risk taking, etc.. some kid grows up in the hood, joins a gang, does a few robberies, sure he know's he could go to jail but is that gonna stop him? Nah.. that's the last thing from his mind..His whole world is his status in the gang. When you grow up having nothing, enduring misery after misery, the threat of prison is no threat at all..

Now incarceration will stop some blue collar worker from say robing a store. Because he has too much to lose, his freedom, money he could earn, family, etc...But he wouldn't do that either way , most people follow the rules.. But only to an extent, if people feel wronged enough they will act, like in the case of infidelity etc..

Then there is the case of drug addicts, they are so hopelessly addicted, incarceration is also no threat to them. The immediate need for the fix is far stronger than any future threat of incarceration. After the fix they might have regret / remorse but usually their crimes are impulsive.

How about the career criminal, one who was raised with in a culture of crime, would threat of incarceration stop them? Nah, they like the gang member exist within an isolated world, where criminal activity is rewarded and encouraged.. Organized crime families, financial fraud rackets, smugglers, rebel insurgents, etc.. I doubt fear of going to jail is going to stop them (the money/cause is to good), however it will definitely make them more vigilant. Look at Enron, how many of them ended up in jail? 1? and they stole over 5 billion dollars.. If you asked them the fear of going to jail would stop them, i doubt very much they would care, the rewards too high.

I would argue incarceration doesn't reduce crime much at all, it's just a punishment which we've come up with which is acceptably humane. In the past they would just chop off an arm or something (you could also pay a large fine) but we've moved beyond that and the only real punishment acceptable is incarceration. It's definitely not preventive overall, its mostly punitive imo.

-ddn


I respect what you're saying, but what is the alternative. Provide a cost-reasonable, safe, effective, alternative to what we are doing today that doesn't endanger our demote the quality of life for law-abiding citizens. I haven't seen any reasonable solutions so far that would work on a large scale.

#75 d000hg   Members   -  Reputation: 731

Posted 04 June 2011 - 10:15 AM



If you don't want to go to prison, don't break the law. What a concept...

A program about Miami jails in the UK recently made the point that those giant jails are exclusively for those awaiting sentence, i.e. not guilty... they can be in maximum security violent facilities for years while still legally innocent.

How's that for a concept.


That's a different discussion. If people that are awaiting trial are stuck in prison for years then that is a major issue.

Also, awaiting sentencing is not the same as not guilty. Awaiting sentencing means you are a convicted criminal but your sentence hasn't been decided yet. Maximum security could be appropriate depending on the crime. If you're in maximum security you probably won't get out for time already served at sentencing so I can't see this would be a problem in all but the rarest of cases.

Sorry I meant they are awaiting trial. They have not yet been convicted.

#76 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 04 June 2011 - 11:00 AM

Sorry I meant they are awaiting trial. They have not yet been convicted.


I don't think that's correct. Most trials are within the first month if the criminal doesn't ask for it to be pushed back, and if they take too long then the charges will be thrown out. In wisconsin, for example, the trial has to begin within 90 days for felonies unless the defense petitions for a later date.

#77 d000hg   Members   -  Reputation: 731

Posted 04 June 2011 - 11:08 AM


Sorry I meant they are awaiting trial. They have not yet been convicted.


I don't think that's correct. Most trials are within the first month if the criminal doesn't ask for it to be pushed back, and if they take too long then the charges will be thrown out. In wisconsin, for example, the trial has to begin within 90 days for felonies unless the defense petitions for a later date.

Well the documentary made it pretty clear the entire jail was full of unconvicted people awaiting trial. It also claimed that the term 'jail' is specifically for un-convicted prisoners and 'prison' is for convicts... that part I'm not sure about because obviously everyone uses both interchangeably.

This is about the program: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Theroux:_Miami_Mega_Jail

Theroux spends time in "Main Jail" (PTDC), one of the most notorious sections of the Miami jail system,[1] including time on the fifth and sixth floors of the PTDC, where many of the most volatile inmates are incarcerated. Being held for pre-trial, the inmates are to be considered innocent until proven guilty.


In fact the jail is even called the Pre-trial detention center. http://www.miamidade.gov/corrections/pre_trial_detention.asp

#78 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 04 June 2011 - 11:48 AM

This is about the program: http://en.wikipedia....Miami_Mega_Jail

Theroux spends time in "Main Jail" (PTDC), one of the most notorious sections of the Miami jail system,[1] including time on the fifth and sixth floors of the PTDC, where many of the most volatile inmates are incarcerated. Being held for pre-trial, the inmates are to be considered innocent until proven guilty.


In fact the jail is even called the Pre-trial detention center. http://www.miamidade...l_detention.asp


There is a large difference between saying, " those giant jails are exclusively for those awaiting sentence, i.e. not guilty... they can be in maximum security violent facilities for years while still legally innocent," and "one large jail in the city with one of florida's highest crime rates holds people exclusively for pre-trial." There's 30,000 felonies in the city every year. It makes sense that they would need a complex just for people awaiting or in the middle of trial.


Even so Florida's speedy trial laws only extend to 175 days (longer than most states), which is hardly close enough to considered most inmates being held for pre-trial for years.


And being innocent until proven guilty doesn't mean that you should be considered safe or not a flight risk. There is a good reason people are held for pre-trial and why we have bail in the system.

#79 d000hg   Members   -  Reputation: 731

Posted 05 June 2011 - 08:45 AM

The documentary found many people who had been there for several years. Of course I'm taking their word for it, but I can't see it would have got through with such blatant errors.




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