They then limit how much you can communicate with normal people.
They are complicit in you being exploited financially.
They look the other way if you are physically or sexually abused.
When you've served your time no one will hire you and you're limited from interacting with society normally.
And we, society, think this is just great! Which ticker can I buy to get in on this action?
Dystopia is here, it's just not evenly distributed yet.
Driving a car (even though it's de facto mandatory) - bye-bye rights. On privatized commons (like a shopping mall or Faceboot) - bye-bye rights. Forced to contract for (employment, housing, food, etc) - bye-bye rights. Affecting your own consciousness with substances - bye-bye rights. Caught peeing in some bushes - bye-bye all of your rights.
And all the while, the majority cheers because it is inherently their norms being enforced. The concept of rights wasn't meant to protect the majority, but good luck getting that point across to the majority!
It’s the most awful piece of garbage you’ve ever seen. It barely functions, and doesn’t even handle the aspect ratio of photos correctly, and sends a tiny barely viewable pixelated version. It frequently crashes and fails to send the message although it deducts a “stamp” from your account. It looks like it was hacked together by the cheapest outsource firm they could find and then never updated. There is no customer support at all.
There’s a special place reserved in hell for people who use technology in such twisted ways.
Such contact should be fostered, not hindered.
Even if you believe in "punishment" rather than "rehabilitation", as the purpose of prison (a pretty cynical attitude, that you should examine more thoroughly including its many implications and ramifications), what do you expect these people to do when they get out?
Maybe some expense for oversight is warranted, e.g. to prevent leaders from continuing to direct criminal activity while incarcerated.
I don't believe that's what's going on. (Nor, with the ridiculously priced and constrained phone calls.) It's just profiteering.
And letting people -- private organizations -- make money off of prisons, just encourages more prisons. Given how "free market" many of the prominent "punishment" people seem to be, this should be obvious, even to them.
In the US: Continue to serve as villains and "others" whose suffering pleases a bloodthirsty segment of our population.
You don't have to soften your point with this, rehabilitation hasn't been a component of US prison policy since the mid-70s.
1. They find some legal way to sustain themselves, in which case - because society is currently biased against excons - society can easily negotiate a good bargain.
(unless the excon is able to hide their past from prospective employers)
2. They do something bad again, and get caught again, and there's approximately 300-million-to-one odds that the victim of their nastiness-of-choice, isn't me. (Or more, because I don't live in downtown goddamn Chicago.)
A win-win to me, it seems.
charging insane amounts of money from sick people (healthcare)
charging insane premiums and still trying every way to not pay when a person does fall sick
charging insane amounts of money in fees from students, selling textbooks for hundreds of dollars, putting them in debt for life - all with not even a guarantee of half decent job when they finish their course
making sure workers get slightly less hours than required, so they don't have to pay benefits
creating private prisons (WTF)
and on and on...
How is any of this moral?
Ah, it is just business, nothing personal.
How many decisions are made with morality and ethics in mind vs legality in the business world?
This is what happens if we reduce everything to profit and loss
Imagine how cheap sending email as a prisoner would be if governments didn't create artificial monopolies either by crony selection or ridiculous barriers to entry. Hint, it would be about as cheap as it is for everyone else.
Here in Sweden we have some pretty crappy habits too regarding jails, so I understand the issue with getting the people to unite for prisoners rights.
The problem is that they are being rewarded for doing the wrong things, there's no problem with rewarding them in general.
The market works when individual people take decisions: because there are many of them, some take risks, and they all talk to eachother.
There's no more to it than that. They can attack these people for personal gain. They, in this case, of course is the government. The people that make up the law, the government, the police.
If you think this is bad, wait until you see what child services or mental care departments do to people, which is a much worse example of how governments attacks the weak and hopeless. It doesn't matter which governments. It only matters that some people get power over others.
But no worries, this whole thread is discussing how we can fix this with a few more laws.
I agree with this part. I disagree, however, with your implicit suggestion that fewer laws will help.
The purpose of the government is to protect people, and it's obviously failing at that in the current prison system. But simply punting the problem to the "free market" won't help either - corporations are arguably even worse offenders of exploiting unfair power dynamics.
The real answer, in my opinion, is fixing the broken power structure. After all, the government gets its power from us, and it's one of the few ways people can affect positive change.
Maybe if we all voted responsibly, prisons wouldn't have the power to exploit prisoners like this.
The video has 2 sections. First, the professor explains the reasoning behind the 5th amendment ... and then a police officer points out how he does it.
Despite that I would agree that this officer is a pretty correct cop. Certainly you cannot call this guy bad or corrupt, and equally certain: he is a pretty smart guy.
He states pretty bluntly what the goal of a police officer is, in criminal cases. You probably think the goal is to arrest the perpetrator, but listen to the guy, it's not. The goal is a confession, the goal is maximizing convictions. Seriously, that's the metric they're judged on: number of convictions. Regardless of any other factor, and frankly using highly illegal tactics (though compared to European police I must say he is a saint). On top of that he has self-control that rivals the best monks.
The average cop, I am sorry to say, is not like this guy. The average cop is much more like Kelso from "that 70s show". The average cop became a cop because he could not get another job, but got accepted in the entrance exam, or (worse) because they enjoy having power over others. Or, like Kelso, a combination of both. They're morons, dumb to the point that people who know them wouldn't leave them alone with a lighter. They're interested in proving their power over others directly by humiliating them (generally in pretty benign ways, but ... like a high school bully that isn't an 8 year old anymore). They regularly screw up badly, and they desperately want to hide those screwups, at almost any cost.
This isn't controversial: everybody who knows a few cops knows this.
Can you imagine what interrogations tactics are when the cop is NOT a 20 year old military veteran with a strong sense of honor and very good observational skills, without good self control ? Oh wait, no need to imagine, just search it on youtube. Warning: actually doing that will not be pretty. Moron police officers shooting people for completely absurd misunderstandings, in scenarios that certainly look like a strong racism, sexism, and just general bullying component is at play.
Doing the same lookups for other forces, like for instance, searching youtube for videos of the UN's "blue helmets" in action ... is far worse. European police forces ... outright disgusting.
The problem is not law. You cannot reasonably argue that the problem is that we just need a few more laws and all will be fine.
This isn't very true. I am OK with people getting rich providing non-essential but much liked X to those with the spare resources.
I am not OK with people getting rich by rent-seeking limited essential resources or perverse incentives.
The societal goal of imprisonment should be minimizing population and cost to society. The financial goal would be maximizing population and minimizing cost to imprison. The societal and financial goals are very much in conflict.
I mean if we're gonna bring up this anology we've gotta figure out what a "best failer in the world" even means? What is the value the jailer creates? How do define a high performance jailer over just a nominal performant jailer? If there is no extra value produced by the best jailer in the world then we are over paying the best jailer in the world.
On this point, without looking it up, what do you estimate the overall recidivism rate to be? Just in a general conversational sense.
People don't fear being sent to the hospital over an off-color remark. Thieves don't hold honest folk at their mercy. Arsonists haven't done an exact recreation of Sherman's March, or anything similar. Serial murderers haven't killed off any non-negligible part of the population.
That's the value jailers create.
I have a new life goal
Building dungeons and trapping villagers inside was one of the first things my daughters set out to do in Minecraft. You're facing some stiff competition.
Says who? How does anyone make that kind of value judgment?
Here’s a value judgment for you: rent-seeking is evil.
But in other circumstances, the more general forms of rent-seeking can be a way to re-internalize an externality (e.g. a quantum of atmosphere that a factory could pollute), and is thereby critical to preventing "tragedy-of-the-commons"-style scenarios without violence such as rationing.
Don't you want to be able to protect the environment better than the EPA's incompetence and corruption could possibly hope to?
When the top of society is greedy, you can't expect the lowest rungs to be any better. We barely care about people if they are contributing members of society (unless you've got money), we sure as hell aren't gonna care about prisoners.
It's just hypercapitalism. You sound surprised, but it's business. If you can exploit, you do exploit as far as legally possible and then make excuses later. I bet you the contractors have some great justifications for why what they do isn't immoral and is even good and necessary.
Short answer: it's not moral, but we're greedy and it's hard to admit that.
It’s tough to blame them. Surely awareness is lacking but even if it isn’t, we’ve got a system in which your own well-being depends on being part of a social circle. The economics of associating one’s self with issues which are themselves associated with low-income or low-popularity is not seen as an option.
On top of that, there is virtually unlimited liberal political funding for virtue signaling because it’s a very indirect way to signal compassion without economic action to back it up. This plays really well to middle and upper class people and in-turn lower class people seeking to mingle with higher classes adopt the behavior.
The fact of the matter is that freedom of expression is massively contingent on economic security; and at some point even moreso than education. Socialized securities are America’s greatest hope at the moment.
Recommended reading: Mark Fisher, Pierre Bourdieu
Recommended voting: DSA-endorsed
Another example: Once I needed some court records. Not surprisingly, they're recorded in proprietary format, only playable with a proprietary media player, and all to enormous cost to the taxpayer, all while applicable state law demands these court records be open access to the public.
JPAY has to deal with all the fixed costs of setting up the internet connections plus ongoing maintenance. There are only a few information services that society wants prisoners to use in prison since all prisoners have been proven to be untrustworthy. Email is one of the few so JPay has to charge high rates just to get a return on their investment. I'm not crying for them since they are making a good return.
I don't like the situation but the alternative is no e-mail. It's obvious prisons don't want the responsibility of providing it and private companies want a high return for doing it.
Like it or not JPAY is providing a service that wouldn't exist otherwise. 47 cents per email is high but it's acceptable given the alternative.
You can't compare being in prison with signing up with an ISP.
Prisoners also have basically no income. They are often charged per day on their accounts as well and are charged high mark up for basic commissary items and outrageous mark up for phone calls (even more than email).
This is exploitation, plain and simple.
The prison has an internet connection anyway, one would just need a router with VPN support (to separate traffic) and 10 locked down wired terminals.
Charging per email is complete bollocks.
Specifically look up Parchman and Angola which are hardly the only instances, merely the most famous ones.
Thankfully there's a real limit for abuse. It should be a declining problem.
While profiting off inmates may seem predatory to some extent, it does offer a service that was not there before the dotcom age.
When we look at prison communication back in the day, it was through locally wired telephone systems. The loved one or family member had to physically be present to speak to the person, but with technology something like an ekiosk (essentially the same types you see at newer airports, olive garden, etc), this does not have to be the case. You can be halfway across the world and still have more than just a phone call with someone who is incarcerated using the internet.
Prison phones are a commodity but now it seems to be legalized in a sense with this type of kiosk gateway for buying news, watching TV shows, etc.
I've done a bit of work with prisons before, the restrictions for equipment inside of it are absurd. Everything is considered a weapon in prison. I can only imagine the amount of censorship involved with this gateway though, its like bigbrother 1984
What's an ekiosk? And Olive Garden is a fast food chain isn't it? What do these two things have to do with each other and with prisons? And why do you need ekiosk or fast food chains to solve this? You just need any two tablets and an internet connection.
Its just a tablet (using a samsung galaxy normally), that is encased and mounted physically. Similar to what you would see at bestbuy when window shopping but more robust.
I've seen them in McDonalds and some innovation centers in specific Airports (https://www.afar.com/magazine/the-future-of-airport-dining-i...). These restaurants utilize empty-dead space in larger central walkway aisles in airports. The one I'm thinking of is in Newark, NJ , I went to that airport on a layover to switzerland last year.
Many innovations in restaurants get passed along to prisons after the fact IMO. The demands for higher market innovations builds unique solutions that end up getting pushed to other industries such as prisons.
The truth is we as a nation consider prisoners as a second glass citizen. Like humans with defects from a manufacturing plant that need to be contained in jails away from everything.
And we have a dark side of capitalism that optimizes for stock value without regard for human element. We are already in the world of AIs optimizing endlessly to increase a magic number without much regard to external consequences.
Yet in the UK we are not overrun with armed robbers. I think the deterrent effect of a long sentence is rather lost on a 17 year-old who is already making bad life decisions.
But there's more to it than that. The US system doesn't rehabilitate prisoners well, so letting a person who was committing armed robbery (this isn't a small offense, it's terrorizing innocent people) at 17 out at 22 isn't much better than letting them out at 27. The chance of recidivism is high, and so letting them out early is likely to backfire.
You'll recall that Bush did successfully use recidivism against Dukakis in 88. He abused that to win politically, but the system failed somewhere.
You also lose student aid access, landlords can turn you away from housing legally because of it, etc.
So even if you 100% want to be a normal member of society, you will hit so many roadblocks it is very difficult to do so.
Effective or not, the reasoning is fairly straightforward.
The idea behind "tough on crime" is that actually, you don't: A nineteen-year-old mugged some people to pay for food/drugs/I'll-ask-my-caddie's-chauffeur-what-else-poor-people-spend-money-on? Great! We can use them as slave labor on and off for the rest of their life, and the less opprotunities for "off", the better.
Most people in positions of influence aren’t stupid though- clearly there is something else swaying the decision. I would imagine that for-profit prisons are probably the root cause.
No, those are among the different theories of the function(s) of criminal punishment. It is not the case that every criminal sentence incorporates all four as elements.
On topic: if you see prison as a punishment then paying for email is part of it. If you see prison as a place to store bad people but treat them fairly while they're there, then I guess it's morally wrong. As the risk of whataboutism, charging for email is really the least of our moral problems with prisons. People are profiting greatly from the prisons themselves.