informationliberation
The news you're not supposed to know...




An Introduction to Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand Everything
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
(more)
Article posted Jan 16 2014, 8:59 AM Category: Commentary Source: C4SS.org Print

The Cynicism And Futility Of Imprisonment

David Grobgeld

A new report from the Swedish Prison and Probation Service claims that 46 percent of Sweden's inmates are mentally ill, that 70 percent have severe drug problems and that these problems mostly have their origins in early life. As elsewhere, Sweden's prison population is made up of the most disenfranchised, poorest and most vulnerable elements of society. Sweden's leading criminologist, Jerzy Sarnecki, notes this and argues that house arrest with an ankle monitor should be used in the case of minor crimes. While anyone who has any knowledge of the scholarship on the effects of imprisonment would agree that this would be an improvement, it would hopefully down the road be a step toward the complete abolition of the prison system. Prison sentences are not only arbitrarily and corruptly passed — they simply do not work.

Contrary to popular belief, being imprisoned in Sweden is no picnic. Although there is a big difference between Sweden and the US, Sweden's prisoners are also needlessly treated in inhumane ways. Former inmate Torgny Jönsson was one of many inmates placed in the so called "bunker," a high security facility where inmates are denied any kind of education, rehabilitation, treatment, occupation or visits from family members. He has now started the campaign Reclaim Justice, suing the Prison and Probation Service, on the charge that bunker placement is "legally uncertain like in the USA," arbitrary and lacks procedural transparency.

The prison system is built on a fundamental paradox of principles. On the one hand, its defenders make pragmatic, consequentialist arguments like "we need to send a clear message to criminals." But all evidence points to the fact that harsher sentences, longer bids and worse conditions increase recidivism rather than decrease it. It should be obvious, being imprisoned doesn’t make you a better person. It makes you more hostile to the society that put you there and it makes the rest of society more hostile to you — making it more difficult to live a "normal life" once you’ve been released. When faced with these simple arguments, the "tough on crime" crowd sometimes show their true colors — their objective was never to rehabilitate or deter, but to exact vengeance.

The monstrosity of the modern prison system is made possible by the fact that its victims are at the very bottom of the societal ladder. It is based on a logic of vengeance rather than one of scientifically tried methods of actually improving society. It is a cynical exploitation of the blind hatred and fear of "criminals" that many people hold, and lies at the heart of the myth of why we need a state at all. Without the state's police and prisons, the myth goes, "they" will have free reign. "They" will be able to murder and steal without a care in the world. So the state puts them in prisons and bunkers, in the end making society less safe and more violent for all of us.

So what should be done instead? For one thing poverty and exploitation should be addressed. 32 percent of Sweden's inmates are citizens of other countries. The total amount of immigrants in Sweden's prisons is unknown, but higher. Sweden's labor immigration system is seemingly tailor made to assert the dominance of employer over worker -- it is a system in which immigrants' right to be in Sweden is dependent on having employment, making them extremely dependent on employers and vulnerable for exploitation. Free immigration would end this exploitation, but this is of course just one of countless examples of how the state keeps poor people down. Let's end this vicious circle of poverty and violence by bringing down the state and its capitalist cronies.





Latest Commentary
- If You Vote — or Don't Vote — Complain
- How Far Can the P2P Revolution Go?
- The Index Card of Allowable Opinion
- Should Government Have the Power to Quarantine?
- Obama Appointee Supports Individual Rights
- Let the Market Contain Ebola
- The State as a Royal Scam
- Glenn Greenwald TED Talk: Why Privacy Matters









No Comments Posted Add Comment


Add Comment
Name
Comment

* No HTML


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below
 


PLEASE NOTE
Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.


FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy



Advanced Search
Username:

Password:

Remember Me
Forgot Password?
Register

Florida Judge Halts Trial & Demands Charges Against Orlando Cop For Perjury - 10/31Bust You For It Now, Tax You For It Tomorrow: The Insanity of Marijuana Prohibition - 10/31How Cops Talk About Mundanes When They Think Nobody Else is Listening - 10/31Wisconsin Town Sends In The BearCat Tank To Collect Civil Fine From Seventy-Year-Old - 10/31LAPD Officer Accused Of Punting Man's Face Like He Was 'Kicking A Field Goal' - 10/30If You Vote — or Don't Vote — Complain - 10/31Mission Creeps: Homeland Security Agents Confiscate Women's Panties For 'Copyright Infringement' - 10/23FBI Agents Cut Internet Access, Pose As Repairmen To Perform Warrantless Search - 10/30

Rialto, CA Police Made to Wear Cameras, Use of Force Drops by Over Two-ThirdsCop Who Karate Chopped NY Judge In Throat Gets Off Scot-FreeFlorida Cop Smashes Compliant Woman's Face Into Car -- "Maybe Now You Can Understand Simple Instructions"VIDEO: Lapel Cam Reveals A Day In The Life Of A U.S. Police Officer (Tasing, Beating, Breaking & Entering, Stomping On Heads... and Laughing About It)Caught On Tape: Officer Sucker Punches Inmate In Face, Files Report Claiming 'Self Defense'Insult Person On Twitter, Go To JailSWAT Team Brings TV Crew To Film Raid Against Threatening Internet Critic -- Raids Innocent Grandma InsteadCop Karate Chops NY Judge In The Throat
(more)

 
Top