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Drug User's Prison

If we're going to do this at least do it right. "Single Victim Drug Crime" sentencing
  [vote for,

Not a comment on the drug war. It's being waged, it's not going to stop any time soon and we've got to live with it. So how about dealing with emptying our prisons of drug offenders by creating specialized drug prisons that can potentially pay for themselves?

1- The first stage of a drug prison is rehab. You get clean and sober, at least while you're there.

2- Then you go to work 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. These would be manufacturing jobs that generate money to pay for the prisoner's upkeep. Work would be theraputic to their recovery as well.

3- Night classes are taken a couple of times a week where prisoners learn how to deal with the temptation of drugs on the outside.

4- Get caught doing drugs, making pruno or otherwise breaking the rules, straight to real prison.

I don't think people who do drugs are inherently bad. I think people who rob, steal, rape and murder ARE inherently bad. I would like to keep potentially good and irredeemably bad people in separate prisons, and I think the good people might be able to pay their way while they recovered from their addiction.

Drug users would still be in prisons so the drug warriors would be happy, these prisons would be equipped specifically to attempt re-hab rather than preventing violence so the guards would be happy and the prisoner's would pay for all of this by their hard work so I'd be happy.

Entry into these prisons would have to be earned. The prisoner would have to request it and fulfill their obligations or off to thug prison they go.

If anybody wanted to go to regular prison instead just to get out of work they're probably hopeless anyway.

It's my understanding that half our prisons are filled with people in on drug offenses so if even half of these people could make it in a drug rehab work prison we could a) save a lot of money and b) do something good for these people rather than just sending them to crime college.

doctorremulac3, Jul 07 2014

The Pris Biz http://www.globalre...orm-of-slavery/8289
Big money, big controversy [doctorremulac3, Jul 08 2014]


       So, sort of a prison that actually does what prison is supposed to do? It'll never catch on.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 07 2014

       Why not imprison workers and let the drug users be free? Then one could have a so called free society, and a highly disciplined and efficient workforce. If the imprisoned workers work hard enough they can be paroled to use drugs and generally be free. Of course this would not be the same society, prison would be looked at as a good thing and freedom as, well, nasty brutish and short.
rcarty, Jul 07 2014

       //Why not imprison workers and let the drug users be free?//   

       Hey, now we're getting somewhere! See? Societies problems aren't that hard to solve.   

       I say we drug the workers and offer free imprisonment for all.
doctorremulac3, Jul 07 2014

       I like the idea of keeping them separate, but isn't this already implemented somewhat by the concept of a minimum security prisons?   

       Of the 50% of people in prison for drug offenses, how many are there just because they used drugs or were in possession of "personal use" quantities? My impression is that most of the ones who get significant jail time were dealing or transporting drugs, or committed some other crime to support their drug habit, but I could be mistaken.   

       The other issue is HOW to fairly employ the prisoners. I really like the idea of ALL prisoners at least partially earning their keep somehow. If implemented correctly it's good for the economy and for the prisoners, but it seems like using prison labor is prone to corruption. How do you keep fair competition between prisons and private businesses and between prisoners and free workers competing for the same jobs. How do you manage the work conditions for the prisoners? There should obviously be incentives for work (quantity and quality), but what significant incentive can be given. Being first in line for chow or an extra few minutes in the exercise area only goes so far. No one will want to allow them to accumulate money that can be used after release, or provide significantly better amenities in the prison.   

       Actually one thing might be to make them pay for their classes. The cost of providing education to the prisoners might be quite cheap if it's mainly in the form of watching taped classes, getting help from prisoner "professors", etc, but if the prisoner is required to earn the right to take classes based on the amount of work they do, that might actually work. As long as the system doesn't work so well that people purposefully get caught for possession so they can get free room and board while working for a college degree.
scad mientist, Jul 07 2014

       How's this for incentive?   

       Work harder, work better, get out earlier.   

       Why not? I'm not crazy about forced labor or workers having no incentive, but if this was offered to people as an alternative to just sitting around in a 8 x 12 box sucking up taxpayer money, hey.   

       But for druggies only. I don't think violent criminals can be rehabilitated, and even if they can, I don't want to. Helping people with addiction issues is another matter.
doctorremulac3, Jul 07 2014

       Preheated at least via existing sentencing programs referred to as "diversion" and "honor camp". Diversion keeps you out of the criminal justice sentence if you complete counseling or other requirements, and honor camp is a low security detention facility who's "employees" fight wildfires and clean up after natural disasters for a pittance.
normzone, Jul 08 2014

       Do those work? If so, great.   

       Maybe I'm getting my terms mixed up. When I read that half the nation's prisoners are there for drug related crimes, are they lumping people who rob liquor stores to get drug money into the "drug related" category? If so, that has nothing to do with drugs any more than it has to do with them wearing sneakers. At least in my opinion. If half the prisoners are there because in addition to mugging an old lady they had a joint on them when they got arrested, that shouldn't be called drug related.   

       But if half our prisoners really are there for getting high and being stupid, it smacks a little of a scam. Druggies are a lot easier to house and work with than violent psychopaths and you get the same amount of money to house both types. Not to sound conspiratorial, but just sayin'.   

       So since the drug war's not going anywhere soon, how about relieving the burden to society, or at least mitigating it?   

       Eh, not gonna happen. But it's an idea.
doctorremulac3, Jul 08 2014

       It's a specialized flavor of a Minimum Security Prison, based on low risk. I guess you could have another flavor for financial crimes. The wall-street crime special prison would be the same size, but with just 2 prisoners, of course.
sophocles, Jul 08 2014

       In some ways, financial crimes are worse than drug use. Stealing money, by definition, will hurt others, either particular individuals, or by causing very small damage to a large number of people. Maybe there are a few criminals who don't actually understand this, but I'm not sure how to fairly account for stupidity when giving a sentence. Doing drugs does not inherently require that someone else be harmed. In our current society, drug use normally does have negative side effect of supporting the illegal drug industry, but I suspect that most drug user have no intention of harming anyone else by their actions.   

       Practically speaking, drug use may contribute more to violent crime than financial crime does (unless you can calculate the contribution of incremental poverty increases to violent crime), but in terms of the moral character of the person breaking the law, I have more loathing for financial criminals.
scad mientist, Jul 08 2014

       // Work harder, work better, get out earlier. // Duh, why didn't I think of that...   

       Now we just need out figure out how to avoid unfair competition with private business.
scad mientist, Jul 08 2014

       I get your concern. Is there anything these guys could do that doesn't have competition here? How about stipulating that they only do jobs that are currently done exclusively overseas? A non-domestic competition clause?   

       Hmm. Now it's getting a little complicated.   

       As far as financial crimes vs violent crimes, the main difference I see is violent crimes should start at 20 years in prison where as non-voilent financial crimes should start at 10 years.   

       But back to the drug users, just came up with a new term for sentencing: "Single victim drug crimes" meaning that the person doing the drugs didn't hurt anybody else.
doctorremulac3, Jul 08 2014

       Forget about dumping them in manufacturing. Howabout some other industry for awhile; say mining, or government. They're so good at smuggling, let them be UPS employees...
RayfordSteele, Jul 08 2014

       I love the idea of farming out bureaucracies to drug prisoners. What are they gonna do? Screw it up? Foment corruption?   

       I'd fill all the ambassador posts first.   

       "Ok, you're in for possession, here's your orange jumpsuit and your ambassador appointment to... let's see... Nauru."   

       "What do I do?"   

       "When they call and ask for money, tell them no. Plus you sweep up the mess hall after dinner. NEXT!"
doctorremulac3, Jul 08 2014

       It seems like to make this work it's going to need to be some kind of partnership with private industry. I don't want some official with minimal business experience trying to come up with some job for the prisoners to do.   

       So let's just say that any company can hire prisoners if they work with the prison officials to create an appropriately escape-resistant facility or can install any equipment needed inside the existing prison facility. We need to figure out a way to let market forces control the wages. There will be extra expenses due to the overhead of working with prisoners, and these need to be offset by lower wages (paid to the government) so that the total cost of production using prison labor nearly the same as regular labor. If we temporarily ignore minimum wage laws it seems like we could come up with a fairly efficient market based solution. Just let companies offer to pay what they want. Prisoners will take whatever jobs they want. They will of course favor the higher paying jobs moderated somewhat in some cases by the difficulty or less ideal working conditions of those jobs. A job that requires a secure facility outside the prison or extensive equipment inside the prison will likely not be able to pay as much, so this will naturally favor job types that have less of this type of overhead.   

       That will of course get low paid non-prison all up in arms. Trying to take jobs only form foreign workers is not really implementable because there's nothing from stopping a company from outsourcing a job to China then transferring the work to prisons shortly afterwards. Here's what could be done however. (Still pretending there is no minimum wage) Presumably, this system will cause all wages to drop slightly. This will likely have the largest effect on low wage jobs and very little effect on jobs requiring more education (though having software developers working from a prison wouldn't be completely impossible). But this is not a zero sum game. If labor is cheaper a company will be able to produce their product for less. To sell the extra merchandise, they will have to lower the cost to move down the supply/demand curve. In most cases this should still result in slightly higher profit per unit produced. So, take half of the money earned by the prisoners (or maybe anything left over after paying for the overhead of this program), and fund some kind of negative income tax type scheme.   

       If we don't ignore the minimum wage, this gets much more difficult. The simple solution might be to simply have a lower minimum wage for prison labor that is set based on the presumed additional overhead costs, but that could be unfair in some situations.   

       And of course getting this started is likely to be very messy. Markets can work pretty well for keeping things balanced once they are established, but since the market and costs will be unknown at first, only companies that expect to have a very large profit will even attempt it, leading to accusations of profiteering. And then if the market gets established and takes off, the profits for those early adopters will drop, making them complain.
scad mientist, Jul 08 2014

       Interesting (if not un-biased) article on the subject. (link)   

       Prisons are big business, but the pris biz carries a lot of controversy baggage with it.
doctorremulac3, Jul 08 2014


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